South Asian weddings are elaborate, multi-event affairs. They’re complex to organize at home – now imagine planning one overseas and in venues the bride and groom have never seen in person. But that’s precisely the niche the team at DestaWed have carved out in a few short years.
“IT’S ALL ABOUT RESPECT,” says Amitt Saini, one of three partners at the helm of DestaWed, the largest destination wedding service in the Greater Toronto Area. “We understand the importance of creating weddings that will not only be what the bride and groom have in mind but will also please their parents and grandparents.” Saini and his partners create dream destination weddings for the South Asian market, booking the travel, arranging the accommodations, selecting the food, beverages and entertainment for multiple events and providing the proper officiants for all religious services. Sikh, Hindu or otherwise, any religious group can be catered to.
Most important, Saini notes, is DestaWed’s ability to create an authentic ambiance equal to what would be available in India – all wrapped up in the beauty and excitement of a Caribbean destination.
“Our goal,” Saini says, “is to make sure that your big day is what you’ve always envisioned it would be. We have the team to make it come to life.”
The players on that team are key.
Saini, an entrepreneur at heart, began his travel career as a sales agent, but soon established himself independently in the group travel market where he recognized great opportunities for South Asian destination weddings.
“I was good at handling the travel, but I needed help with the wedding planning,” admits Saini.
Aiksimar Singh had 10 years of experience in the local wedding industry, had managed a big audiovisual company and understood the logistics involved in planning a great wedding.
"When I reached out with a proposal and a business model, Aiksimar agreed to come on board, and we've never looked back," says Saini. Five months later, in 2017, the pair booked their first wedding. Working hard to build a profile, they attended trade shows, concentrated on marketing and hoped that the success of their first wedding would spread by word of mouth. It did.
Aiksimar Singh (left) and Amitt Saini (right)
Saini and Singh did two more weddings in 2017 but still felt that something was missing.
Saini explains: “We wanted to take our weddings to another level and make them different than anything else out there, but we were lacking design expertise. Anyone can provide décor, but we wanted outstanding design, so we added our third business partner, Tina Lieu of Tina Travels, an expert in event creation.”
Offering a full-service product has been key to DestaWed’s success.
“Our competitors may have travel agents,” Saini says, “but they have no planners and no designers. We’re able to provide experts in every field. While the travel is being put together, the event plans are underway and the design team is working on the themes for multiple functions.”
From budget management to matching fabric swatches to selecting bands, DJs and music, no itinerary is too complex. Because many couples and their families haven’t seen the destinations prior to the wedding, the DestaWed team is there to make sure every detail is perfect.
Choosing the right venues is essential and all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels are DestaWed favourites.
Says Saini, “The Hard Rock brand caters to the generation we’re serving: Millennials. Entertainment, pool parties, casinos, the whole ambiance captures the attention of our guests and they offer an amazing South Asian wedding package. Some high-end properties charge à la carte per person or per event, which can really add up. If we plan four events for a group of 100 guests and the venue charges per person for food and beverage, costs can easily hit $30,000. By contrast, Hard Rock’s South Asian package rewards the wedding couple and their family for guest bookings by providing free venue rentals for parties of 100 to 300 guests, premium alcohol, unlimited food made by chefs flown in from India and complimentary labour for four private functions. The only extra charges are for the rental of chairs, décor elements and audiovisual equipment.”
The DestaWed team now organizes 60-70 weddings per year and that number is expected to balloon in 2020. The company isn’t just the largest of its kind in the GTA; it's one of the most powerful players in the entire destination wedding game.
“South Asian weddings are big, often involving as many as 140 guests and there are always a lot of moving parts. When you compare apples to apples, South Asian weddings are so much less expensive in the Caribbean than they are in the GTA,” says Saini, “and they can be handled so beautifully.”
By combining their expertise in travel, planning and event design with a respect and understanding of the South Asian community and a passion for creating beautiful Caribbean weddings, Amitt Saini and his DestaWed partners have created a niche product.
“In 2016, no one in the South Asian community knew what a destination wedding was,” Saini laughs. "Millennials are changing the way things are done. They don’t want banquet halls anymore and they’re tired of the same wedding formats. DestaWed is creating culturally respectful, cost-effective, exciting South Asian weddings – and we’re doing it in some of the most gorgeous places in the world.”
"DestaWed has built an impressive brand, which in less than three years has grown from being the new kid on the block to one of the top producing agencies for AIC Hotel Group in North America. They are true partners who have helped provide valuable feedback and ideas which have elevated our Ishq Rocks program. The DestaWed team embodies the “work hard, play hard” mentality. They continue to innovate and take the South Asian destination wedding industry by storm with their out-ofthe-box thinking and tenacious attitude."
- AIC Hotel Group
Did you enjoy this article?
Do you want more of what's affecting travel advisors today?
Join our community of engaged agents today.
What is Key Notes On Travel?