India’s first ever woman event manager, who is now the go-to professional for Bollywood’s dreamiest weddings – Vandana Mohan
Majoring in political science, Vandana Mohan was a JNU aspirant who dreamt of working for the UN. With that fire in her belly, it was no wonder that she went on to be a trailblazer – however, it was in a rather unexpected field. Her career led her to become India’s first woman event manager by starting her own company, Backstage Productions. A few years in, Mohan had her hands full doing corporate events and luxury brand launches, when one of her clients asked her to manage his daughter’s wedding in 2003. Initially reluctant, she took it on and serendipitously found the love of her life – Wedding Planning.
Of her early days in event management, Mohan recalls, “I would lose contracts only because people didn’t know how to approach a woman for business or they were simply embarrassed to do business with a woman.” She was also adamant on building an only-women team, and had to convince the girls’ families about their daughters’ safety for the unruly hours the job entailed, as the business of wedding planning is not as glamorous as it sounds, and last minute goof-ups are all but uncommon.
Mohan remembers Fanta’s launch event that her team organised in Delhi in 1996, where they got into some trouble with the police — a riot-like situation arose when the audience was denied an encore of Daler Mehndi’s performance. Mohan narrates her experience at the Hazrat Nizamuddin police station. “The gentleman first looked at me and then behind me to see if somebody else was coming. He asked me, ‘where are the men?’ and I curtly told him, there are no men!” she says.
Things got easier once she bagged international clients like Moet Hennessy, Gucci, Ford Motor Company and Chanel. And once Mohan began working in the wedding industry, she discovered that it was highly unorganised, so she was determined to ensure a degree of structure, process and responsibility.
With a team of 25-year-olds and her senior management, Mohan has planned over 500 weddings till date. But what makes them stand out, unmistakably, is how Mohan herself overlooks every detail and ensures that the business’ integrity is never compromised at any stage.