A name synonymous with the ever-growing wedding industry in Goa, SHRUTI TIWARI lays bare her journey of establishing VLW Global and becoming the most sought-after wedding planner in the State
The wedding season is upon us again which means tons of invites, parties, merrymaking and having your social media feed bombarded with pictures of happy couples, the bridal entourage, emotional family members and everything that constitutes a wedding. How does one make a wedding day memorable without the hassle of running about and taking care of all the nitty-gritty? Hire a wedding planner. These days, societal expectations have raised the bar and have set high standards when it comes to celebrations, more so a wedding!
When it comes to planning a wedding, the name that pops in everyone’s mind is that of Shruti Tiwari and her company, VLW Global. Shruti believes that a wedding is not just about the event; instead, it is about working towards someone’s dreams and making sure that everything is right when they take their first step to a new beginning. “Event planning has helped me grow and has also helped me find my calling as a wedding planner early on in life,” she adds. Childhood and Education Shruti grew up in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh in a culturally and traditionally minded family who instilled in her an appreciation for interpersonal connections. “Love, togetherness, and relationships are the cornerstones of life, as my parents have constantly instilled in me. This experience from my youth has stayed with me, and I credit them for inspiring me to pursue a career in wedding planning. From an early age, I had a strong desire to branch out and experience new things, always keeping an open mind and exploring new avenues of work.”
Shruti pursued her high school education from Christ Church Senior Secondary School. Thereafter, she completed B.Com, followed by a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism. Shruti completed internships at several
different media organisations including Aaj Tak and Dainik Jagran soon after finishing college to build her resume in
the field of journalism. After a while, though, she realised that event management was where her passions truly lay, and made the decision to pursue a career in that area. This eventually led to the foundation of VLW Global.
However, destiny had other plans, and she ended up in the wedding business post exploring the opportunities in media and PR. “After this, I developed a fondness for the wedding planning industry and shifted my career trajectory
to concentrate on weddings exclusively. And here I am today!” Goa’s natural beauty is what attracted Shruti and she shifted here in 2005. Much as it wasn’t in her plans to make a home in Goa she felt she had entered a new realm with the sunshine, sand and scenic beauty.
“Every client is new and with each new client we gain different experience with various perspective to achieve perfection. Truthfulness combined with a good moral compass is the key to achieving your goals”
The Wedding Business Shruti’s name is synonymous with bespoke destination weddings in Goa. The journey of entering this hectic but satisfying industry began when she realised that working in the media was not something that she was interested in doing for the rest of her life. “I decided early on that I would not enter the field of journalism as a profession. My lack of interest in the internship enabled me to zero down on a line of work that I was actually interested in pursuing as a career. As I enjoy party planning and coming up with new ideas for décor, I
decided to pursue a career in event management. My journey was not an easy one and there were several obstacles that I faced. Balancing between my family life and professional demands was not easy but I sailed through it with grace and I am proud of where I stand today,” she adds.
Shruti established VL Global in January 2016 without much thought, all along being anxious about the whole process but feels that it was the best decision that she has ever made. “I worked my way up from co-ordinator to sales manager before realising that wedding planning was where my talents best fit in the event management field. My inclination for décor and my creative skills guided this decision of mine to start VLW Global.” Planning Happily-Ever-Afters The mission of VLW Global is to turn the dreams of a couple into a tangible reality by utilising the innovative capabilities of both the company and Shruti’s team. She goes on to elaborate about her company, “We manage everything from vendor management, to décor, the menu curation, photography, venue scouting and logistics. Every conceivable type of service – from the most basic to the most elaborate – is included among the offerings that we make available to our clients. We accommodate the couple’s every want, beginning with the rituals performed before the wedding and continuing through the reception that follows it.”
In a short span of six years, Shruti and her team have planned and executed a number of weddings. “We have planned everything from destination weddings, 2021 minimalist wedding trends, and stunningyet inexpensive weddings for those on a budget to my personal favourite, a LGBTQ wedding!
“The people I work with at VLW Global have been my rock. Without them, I would never have made it this far, and I count my blessings every day that I get to do this work with such amazing people. They stay up all night with me to make sure that each wedding is beautiful and unique”
Weddings are special for us, and I will always remember the wedding of my LGBTQ clients. Their wedding was a milestone for our firm as we strive to be an inclusive and progressive employer. They had a threeday wedding that became a social media phenomenon, and it exemplified to the world the importance they placed on family and friendship,” she mentions as she speaks on her favourite wedding memory. Shruti is all praise for her team at VLW Global. “The people I work with at VLW have been my rock. Without them, I would never have made it this far, and I count my blessings every day that I get to do this work with such amazing people.
They stay up all night with me to make sure that each wedding is beautiful and unique.” Keeping up with wedding trends in recent times, destination weddings have gained immense popularity and couples are always looking out for new and exotic destinations for their big day. Goa has always been a favourite destination when it comes to such kind of celebrations. Shruti expresses her thoughts on what sets Goa apart from the rest of India. “Goa’s eclectic blend of old and new makes for one unforgettable party. It is more ideal for the increasingly common trend among urban Indian couples to choose for the more westernised concept of a beach wedding over a more traditional ceremony. Repeat visitors to Goa attest to the fact that the state’s ability to create lifelong memories makes it the ideal setting for celebrations of all kinds. Resorts in Goa have adapted over the years to meet the needs of couples from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds by providing a range of services and meals to suit their needs.”
Being part of an industry that is never on time out, Shruti has a few upcoming projects in her kitty. “Despite our progress and the success of our past weddings, we are committed to expanding our horizons and tailoring each ceremony to the individual needs of the couple. VLW Global is getting ready to carry out and organise a number of impressive projects.”
Challenges and Roadblocks faced
Like every other business, the wedding industry was dealt a blow during the pandemic and weddings had to be scaled down. Shruti went through a rough patch having to re-work her wedding packages to accommodate the needs and requirements of her clients. “Due to the pandemic, many engaged couples had to postpone or scale back their nuptials. As this was the new normal, weddings had to be postponed. We held smaller, more personal ceremonies in accordance to pandemic appropriateness. These policies halved wedding guest lists. Fewer wedding guests and postponed weddings were direct results of the pandemic and another challenge that we encountered.” Much as this was an unexpected setback, it did not deter and instead made Shruti adapt to the new normal. “The wedding market simply went on hiatus after the pandemic. While most large hotels were closed until mid-September 2020, we did a review and planned other wedding details. Because of safety rules, we pushed for smaller weddings. The few families who wanted to hold a grand party chose boutique hotels like Postcard Hotels & Resorts and Montego Bay Beach Village. We also created wedding packages with hotels for the clientele.”
After sailing through all ups and downs in the wedding business, Shruti shares the lessons that she has learnt in this challenging yet exciting industry. “One of the biggest and most vital lessons learnt by me is that it is essential to cultivate healthy relationships with the people who you work with as a team. And not only your fellow employees, but also the businesses and creative vendors that are in competition with you! They are the driving force behind any event that you organise. If you approach everything in an honest and forthright manner, you will never fail to achieve your goals,” she says.
Upcoming Trends in the Wedding Industry
Speaking on the latest trends in the wedding industry, Shruti stresses on the fact that Indian weddings are recognised for their beautiful decorations, cultural depth, and happy environment. “Traditional Indian weddings are elegant. Smaller, more intimate weddings are a new trend. Instead of organising expensive parties, many couples are opting for private weddings. Personalisation of wedding services is another trend. A growing number of soon-to-weds are working to create a memorable celebration that reflects their personalities.” She feels that in the next few years the wedding industry will just keep on getting bigger. “Since the pandemic, more couples are opting for a destination wedding. New wedding-related businesses and design studios will likely open soon. There are several wedding event management companies which help in making weddings spectacular and destination weddings are among as the most popular as of now.”
Awards and Accolades
As a wedding planner Shruti says that her journey has not always been smooth sailing but she has had her fair share of rewards and honours over the years. “I have won a Bronze medal in the Wedding Celebration of the Year 2022 category at the Wow Awards Asia 2022. We also took home the Silver in this year’s Wedding Sutra Awards for ‘Best Wedding Planning’. The Who’s Who Award in Goa and the Business Goa Award for ‘Best Event Management Company of the Year’ in 2018, the Wedding Sutra Influencer Award in 2019, and a Silver Trophy at the EMF Global Awards are few of the accolades that have been bestowed upon me and my business in recent times,” she adds proudly.
Mantra for Success
As a successful and established wedding planner, Shruti strongly believes that there is no single ‘success mantra’ that applies in all situations. “All that is needed is time, imagination, and patience. Every client is new and with each new client we gain different experience with various perspective to achieve perfection. Truthfulness combined with a good moral compass, in my view, is the key to achieving your goals.”
When Shruti is not planning weddings she loves to watch movies and listen to music. She also makes it a point to visit her family in Jabalpur. “My energy level always seems to get a boost after one of these solitary journeys of mine.” Having spent the vast majority of her formative years and early adulthood in Jabalpur, Shruti’s trips to visit the family provides her with the sufficient boost to take on her professional demands. “I come from a family of professionals and government officials; I am the first generation entrepreneur in my family who has established a business of her own; but spending time with my family is what gives me immense joy,” she says.
Shruti loves to go with the flow and feels that it is the best policy. “I have been making plans to accomplish manageable mini-goals while also constantly setting new ones. In the future, I hope to not only lead my company to unprecedented heights of success, but to also individually transcend all of my previous achievements,” she says with her bright smile.