The popularity of Malaysia as a destination to get married at is on a rise of late. This intrigued us to get in touch with someone with a deep understanding of Indian weddings as well as Malaysian economy to give some insights to the couples who are wanting to get married here. Fortunately for us, we met with Mr. Vinod Tirathrai, Founder, ArtPro Entertainment during our last trip to Malaysia. A second-generation Indian-Malaysian, Vinod runs an entertainment company in Malaysia and has organised quite a few Indian weddings here. Here are the excerpts from the interview.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
Vinod Tirathrai (third from left)
I have been fortunate enough to have travelled to over 40 countries covering Asia, Europe, North America, Central America, South America, Caribbean and Africa. This has provided me with a global exposure to a variety of cultures, languages, foods, festivals, historical & touristic sites and the privilege to stay in some very impressive and renowned hotel properties.
I majored in International Marketing and had the opportunity to study in Singapore, U.S. and the U.K. Also, I worked as a Radio DJ in California for several years. I also worked in the field of fashion in different parts of the world.
ArtPro was founded 11 years ago and over the years we have grown from developing & managing entertainers and providing them to 5 star hotels around the region, to providing top quality sound & lighting for the same and establishing ourselves as Event & Production Specialist with a variety of Corporate and Wedding events successfully completed. To date, we at ArtPro have been involved in numerous events domestically and overseas including Udaipur, Krabi, Bali, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Langkawi.
2. What’s your favorite part of the job?
There are probably 3 parts of the job that are my favorite and it’s hard to separate them apart. We always look forward to meeting new clients and their respective families. Establishing new relationships are always exciting and you go through the learning and sharing process. For me personally, there is so much that I can learn from meeting someone new. Their culture, traditions, beliefs help us better understand key inputs which must be taken into consideration during designing, planning, producing and managing the events.
The second part is ‘seeing the magic’ unfolding before the eyes of the client. All those months of discussions, emails and designs going back and forth… and it finally comes down to what I like to call ‘Showtime’. It’s ‘seeing the magic’ unfolding at each event.
The third part is when a section of the ArtPro team get to bid farewell to the clients. Receiving a hug, or a warm handshake, or a sincere and heartfelt smile with the ‘Thank you’ just mean so much to us.
3. Why do you see Malaysia becoming the hot country for Indian destination weddings?
According to Malaysian media reports published in February 2017, ‘ India ranks as the sixth biggest source of tourists for Malaysia. This demonstrates how comfortable Indians are with what Malaysia has to offer in terms of hospitality and tourism.
As a wedding destination, numerous religious places like temples, gurdwaras and churches are easily accessible. Moreover, planning for a ceremony in either one of these places of worship is straightforward. Special items for ceremonial purposes are also readily available. In addition, clients have the options for beach weddings, resort weddings, hillside weddings, highland weddings and city weddings.
4. What would you say are some of the most important points of advice/tips for a family who’s starting to make decisions about a destination wedding in Malaysia?
Firstly, at the outset, engage a professional and qualified wedding planner. To identify who is professional and qualified, meet with about 4-5 wedding planners. Get a feel of who they are and what they are capable of. Then narrow down the choices to 2 planners.
Secondly, engage with the 2 planners separately. Get into details of how they will carry out the designing, planning, execution and managing the event. Allow them to express themselves. This will give you a true feeling of the wedding planner and help you pick the right one.
Thirdly, remember that each wedding planning company has its own cost structure. Therefore, the best company is not necessarily measured by how large they are, or how inexpensive the services may be, but rather the best fit for you. You get what you pay for. So ultimately, you want a planner that is equipped with the right skills to troubleshoot problems before the event surfaces.
5. What if the bride has already selected a wedding planner in India? Do you collaborate and help with the local vendors?
Yes, we do, and the most critical element for us before accepting the role is communication, lead time and control. It’s pointless for us to just provide manpower but have no control over the planning, scheduling, etc. In order for us to be effective, we must make key decisions immediately.
6. What are the main takeaways from an ArtPro wedding? What will the guests remember which makes your events different from all other weddings?
We create an ambience which allows our guests to immerse themselves into the festivities. Also, we ensure that the guests do not have to be concerned about if everything is progressing as planned.
We take care of the Big Picture and work out the finest details while keeping our clients part of the decision making process. That way the client always feels in control, yet relaxed and worry-free. We address potential problems well ahead and extinguish them with win-win solutions for all parties. This has earned us a positive and impactful reputation with clients and hotels. We are always welcomed by our hotel partners as they know we provide solutions and not obstacles.
From the planning, design, execution and management of the wedding event, we create “Uniquely Amazing Experiences ” for all guests from the first day to the last.
By the end of the celebrations, our team will have fostered a strong and remarkable client & guest relationship, that a sincere invitation to visit the client or guest in their home country is always an occurrence. We almost always become an extended family to them. We aspire for our clients to leave Malaysia relaxed and having enjoyed the hospitality & festivities without a single ounce of exhaustion.
7. Last, if you had to do over your own wedding now as an expert in the field, where and how would you have planned it?
I would have a personalized wedding with a smaller group of about 200 guests and a destination wedding in Langkawi. I would not select a destination because it is currently popular, but rather what it can provide in its entirety.
Next, I’d assess several properties by studying their facilities, layouts, room designs & comfort levels, food & beverage operations, the flexibility of the management & operations team and the variety of events held in that property with an emphasis on frequency of events held. This will provide me with a very realistic diagnostic of their capability, operational strengths and what weaknesses my team and I would be experiencing.