Wedding celebrations are never complete without dreamy decor. And its importance to you is directly proportional to the amount of ‘wedding decor’ posts you have bookmarked for the future. With couples now opting for non-traditional wedding ceremonies, the decor industry is evolving too. Now, more than ever, couples can opt to create bespoke decor that feels true to their personality as well as their love story.
One company out to make your Pinterest dreams come true is Casa Fleur, which curates decor and handles production for all your important events. We caught up with its founder, Gaurav Makhija, to talk about how Casa Fleur was born, the things clients should keep in mind when discussing their vision and the trends he foresees for the upcoming wedding season. Read on to know more…
In Conversation With Gaurav Makhija, The Founder Of Casa Fleur
HELLO!: What inspired you to create Casa Fleur?
Gaurav Makhija: It just sort of happened by chance. I was never into the flower industry, nor was my family. In fact, we come from a leather footwear background. I tried to be a part of my family’s business, but I was too creative to be working under somebody and I always wanted something of my own. After a lot of permutations and combinations, this opportunity just came by and we started Casa Fleur. I was always into art and sculpting so I just took my passion for it and channeled it into creating flower arrangements for people.
Primarily, we started with a flower company, now we’ve graduated into doing full-fledged wedding events and corporate events.
H!: Talking of events, can you take us through the process - right from the first discussion with a client to the big day and wrap up after the function?
GM: Usually, when a client approaches us to do an event for them, we start with a preliminary meeting with them to understand what their vision is, and what they really want us to create. Most of the time, the clients really do have set ideas based on what they’ve seen in other people’s events. So we sit down and understand what their requirement is and how the family is going to react to whatever we propose. Also, in this meeting, we try to understand the budgets these people have because that’s a very integral part of designing and presenting a mood board to a client, based on what they are really looking for.
We, at Casa Fleur, don’t like to do ‘ram leelas’ which a lot of other wedding vendors are doing. We like it subtle, we like it mindful, we like it classy. Simpler is always better. It may sound easier, but it’s extremely difficult to execute, because it isn’t what’s expected out of a wedding planner.
So, once we have the designs in place, we measure the space, plot it and then create multiple layouts to present to the client. The next stage is finalising the mood board, where we decide colours and themes for each event. After they select what they really want, ballpark figures are given. And then, there’s a lot of back and forth—basically, a constant endeavour to improve what the client has selected. This could mean improving on detailing, like using linen instead of regular clothes on coffee tables, decking up the furniture or selecting a specific fragrance for each of your events, if they’re held in an enclosed area. So, all those things are part of the process of getting to the final day.
And then just before and on the day of the event, we try to be as available as possible to the client to answer each and every query, question and concern that they have. Post the event, while the teams are removing the decor and packing it up, we try to post things from the event on our social media and tag our clients. This is basically the process from start to end.
H!: What are some of the biggest trends you are seeing in wedding decor as of now?
GM: As I said, I like to do mindful and simpler stuff. Just recently, we did an event for a Punjabi wedding, where we didn’t use a single flower! That’s almost unheard of when it comes to Indian weddings, but it was a proposition we presented to them and they jumped at it immediately. The effect that we were working on was just using tons and tons of candles. For this event, we used over 7000 candles!
So, we just worked on lighting, obviously the candles and the fragrance. Only for the house, we did some floral decor as they needed it for the bahu swagat, but other than that, not a single flower was used for the main tented space. I genuinely feel, foresee and recommend clients that they be a little more mindful regarding what they are spending on, so that they get something that is a little different from what usually other people are doing.
H!: Can you name some floral decor trends from the past that you have hated…
GM: That’s difficult to answer. Every client works with a different mindset. Everybody has a different requirement. For example, another event we’re doing is an upcoming wedding in Kerala, where the celebrations are going to be pet-friendly. Not just the bride and groom, but even their guests’ furry friends are invited. So, each client throws something different at us and we try to work around it.
One of other clients are a young couple who’re complete movie buffs, love their Netflix and are really into comics and gaming. In fact, the bride is a professional gamer who streams online regularly. For their cocktail, we finalised on a theme related to superheroes. For something like that, you don’t really require flowers for any event. So, we’re doing the decor there’s a lot of comic strips being printed, we’re doing a lot of LED lights, we also have a Batman sign that projects on the wall. So basically, each client has different requirements and keeping those in mind, we try to create something special that they will cherish and remember for the rest of their lives.
H!: What are some occasions besides weddings that you have been lately that clients are looking for decoration?
GM: India is so full of festivities all the time and post-COVID, people have gone little insane in spending money. They always opt for decorating when it comes to Diwali and Ganesh Chaturti.
But now, even when they’re having a small dinner with 40-60 people, they are actually going all out. It could be a milestone, an anniversary… or even people who have just been fixed up would want to do something special for that first dinner with the in-laws. Flowers can be used anywhere.
H!: How much in advance do you recommend to-be married couples to get in touch with you before the big day?
GM: A couple of months in advance is always good. The more time we have, the more planning we can do and not be rushed into anything. But, the last event we did, we started planning in August-end and the wedding was supposed to take place in November, but got preponed to September-end and we managed to pull it off. It sort of just depends.
H!: What are some things clients should keep in mind or bring along, when discussing their vision with you?
GM: Unlimited budgets! (laughs) No, but honestly, I would really want a client to approach us for the experience that we have and to trust us to take them on a journey that they will not forget. I understand that there are some people who are very sure of what they want, and we want such kind of clients. But, I don’t want the type of clients who say they want one thing and we start work on that, and then they change their mind and ask for something else because that ends up really wasting our time. So, surety of what you really want makes our life easier. But primarily, I would say, anybody who comes to us should really trust the journey we are going to put them on.
H!: Can you share some tips for our readers at home on how they can use flowers to decorate their home from the upcoming festive season?
GM: I’m a big big fan of candles. If I was hosting a dinner at my house, I would probably burn a hundred candles from the entrance to wherever I can fit them, I would set them up. Also, Indian flowers are stunning — use your genda, mogra and tuberoses. You don’t really need to spend a bomb to decorate your house, even something simple could really work. I mean, if you’re doing something at home, it shouldn’t be extravagant, it should feel homely.
H!: Which direction do you wish the wedding industry works towards in the future?
GM: I feel that the future of weddings is a sustainable and mindful approach. Something that is not OTT, it doesn’t feel out of place as a decor element of your own wedding. Try and use stuff that is sustainable and you can reuse, for example, candles can be reused for 10 or more events. Avoid plastic and flex posters, which we see being used a lot these days. Instead, opt for canvas prints, which are a little more expensive but are more sustainable and environmentally-friendly. In the end, we all need to do our part.