GETTING KNOTTY

A wedding on a yacht, hidden island, or an airplane! Sahiba Singh can make this, and lots more, happen, like a genie. Decor is her inner calling.

If you haven‘t heard the song “I love you to the moon and back”, you probably have missed out on a mushy romantic number. But some wedding couples take Savage Garden’s croon (I997) literally, not metaphorically, and that makes Sahiba Singh’s life a tad difficult. After all, she was the wedding decor designer for one of them. To fulfil their desire, she constructed a 150-foot ladder that seemed to go up to the moon, and the light effects made it invisible. The couple “walked” down (using a lift, of course) to create a scene straight out of a Yash Chopra movie. The moonlight caressed their silhouettes. Mind you, this was the real deal-we mean the moonlight. The Moradabad based business family of the bride was overjoyed. These are some of the crazy things that happen in Sahiba’s, and her company’s (Lifetime Expressions), lives. She had the early bird advantage, as she started her business at 17, although none in her family had ever dabbled in this unknown stream. “My dad runs a homeopathic medicines and cosmetics business,” she giggles. Though she did equip herself for the task, and completed an MBA degree from Symbiosis in marketing, and MA in English from Delhi University.

“I am writing a book on weddings, the good, bad and ugly pans about it,” she laughs, and adds, “It is going to be a funny take on the crazy ever-afters.” Interestingly, Sahiba feels that like in fashion, weddings have become minimal. Off-white, gold and crystals have made way for heavy themes like Moroccan, Arabian, and Mexican. Also destination weddings have shifted to islands, unknown places that offer fun resorts, hidden jewels that the wedding party can explore along with the wedding.

“Every client wants something different and that word different is dangerous, as you never know what they might ask for. Though fresh and subtle is the buzzword, and it is no longer about a Bollywood singer crooning in the background at the mehendi ceremony, there have to be some games to keep the guests entertained,” she adds. For her own wedding, she narrowed down on the theme of Fish Fry, an emblem of the designer, Manish Arora, with Hindi-English fonts, lots of prints and a rickshaw along with nimbu-mirchi. She created the Las Vegas trip for a wedding, complete with casinos, where you could gamble. “Japan is in the recall of people, as there are many restaurants that have mushroomed there. They serve sushi, and we provide weddings with that theme, which include sake bombs,” she explains.

Imagination has no limits. Once, Sahiba created a beer garden, where different kinds of beers were served. It included wooden barrels, as well as a vineyard, where you could crush fresh grapes under your feet, and make wine, as well as flamingo and pineapples as themes. There were carnival moodboards, walking magicians and drinking games at the bar to lighten up the mood and create interaction among the two families. “Maroon was a wedding colour, but not now. It is gold and pastels which are popular,” she admits.

Thematic weddings cost Rs 25 lakh to Rs 1 crore, just for the decor. If it is a cruise wedding, the sky is the limit, as you get married on a yacht. European destinations, like Italy and even Turkey, are favourites. Someone came to her asking to be married on an airplane. “We have couples who want religious themes, like this Sikh family, which wanted the ring ceremony at the Golden Temple (Amritsar). It involved a lot of official permissions,” she says. Sahiba does most of the work in-house, but sources from China and Italy, and breaks the myth that the former is cheap. She has tied up with wrought iron makers and glass makers, who work solely with her and can create magical sets. “This is a creative process, as you are challenging yourself to do the impossible everyday, and that’s what makes this exciting,” she adds.

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