The Splendid Five asks the same five questions of a different wedding or creative professional each Friday.
This week we’re meeting Nipunika Singh (left, pictured with Kripa Singh), founder of Élan Events by Nipunika, a luxury wedding planning and design firm based in Thailand and specializing in destination weddings.
1. How did you get started in the wedding industry?
What started as a leisurely hobby turned into a full business! Always being an aesthete, I had a knack for dressing and decorating spaces. Friends and acquaintances were quick to notice this and many asked me to help stylize their family weddings. Soon after, clients began reaching out to me. When I realized how much I enjoyed designing decor it evolved into a full time profession and just like that, Élan Events was founded.
2. How has the industry changed since you started?
Expectations have increased as everyone's visions have widened. With social media, many wedding blogs, and Pinterest, everyone has access to more. This means all our clients request more variety and want to explore many options before settling for their wedding design. All our brides are also more particular about selecting something different for themselves in an interest stand apart.
3. What was the biggest lesson you learned early on in your business?
As a creative person, you instinctively want to give your imagination free reign. It becomes easy to get carried away when working on designs and you want to conveniently overlook that everyone always has a budget.
As important as it is to be able to cater to what your clients want and more, it's also very important to be realistic with them and not overcommit or else you'll end up promising one thing and delivering another. I learnt this the hard way, but over the years I've become very clear and conscious of what we promise our couples so that each one can eventually say "we got so much more than we even expected."
4. What is the biggest lesson you've learned in the past few years?
Sometimes your bride will have a completely different vision to yours. At first this would make me want to change theirs or go and meditate but now I've learnt that nothing is more important than giving your bride what she wants for her day. It's about guiding her and finding a way to marry her vision with your style.
5. What one piece of advice would you give to another entrepreneur on sticking it out in a competitive industry?
There is a fine line between being accommodating and being pushed over. Planning and designing a wedding is a very personalized process involving many emotions and as important as it is to be sensitive towards your couples and their families, it is also important that they treat you with the same respect and level of trust.
Don't compromise on your integrity, don't slash your prices to compete with others, and don't make promises you can't keep.
Stay inspired, stay focused, stay positive!