In an exclusive feature, we ask Pakistan’s leading event managers about the A-B-C of the business

How important is it to dress for an event?

QYT: If someone has invited you and it’s a formal event, for example, you should always dress formally. People who don’t dress accordingly and just attend as they please—without making an effort with their shoes or clothes — it’s a kind of disrespect to the host. I personally feel that wherever you go, you should dress according to the venue and type of event.

Alena Peerzada: It’s important to dress appropriately for all occasions. As far as weddings go, one should dress to enjoy the occasion. We are still lucky in the subcontinent to dress the way we do, but I miss seeing more people dressed according to their own individual styles. I think being fashion forward is fun as long as one is honest about what suits their personalities and bodies. You should dress to enjoy yourself, and wear what and who you are.

Shazreh Khalid: I think it is extremely important to dress according to the occasion. For mehndis, for example, I always suggest traditional, festival outfits. At the reception itself, you can play with different silhouettes and styles. We have such an amazing fashion industry so there is a lot to choose from.

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I don’t believe in soft launches. If I’m doing a launch, it’s got to be with a big bang

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In Faisalabad, people make a lot of comparisons: I want my event to be better than X’s event!

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With the nikkah, I personally feel it shouldn’t be a separate event, it should be on the day when the maximum guests are attending

There is an increasing trend of having bigger and bigger haan and nikkah functions. How does this make you feel?

QYT: I don’t do haan and nikkah events and instead I do main events, be it a mehndi or a big musical evening or a baarat or valima or a joint reception. With the nikkah, I personally feel it shouldn’t be a separate event, it should be on the day when the maximum guests are attending. This is because the son or daughter who’s getting married will have that many hands raised in prayer for them. If you invite a 1000 people for the main events and only ten for the nikkah, then only ten people are praying for the couple. To all my clients, I suggest that a nikkah should be held on the night of the mehndi or the baarat because that’s when most people attend and everyone raises their hands in prayer for the couple.

Alena Peerzada: Weddings are such personal events; it’s just not normal for all to be the same. Some people like them extravagant, and some like them low-key. Currently the trends revolve around hosting more functions, but this is because Pakistani weddings are all about celebration, fun, colour. The more the merrier!

Shazreh Khalid: Some people prefer smaller, quieter events for a nikkah or haan and others like to go all out. Ultimately, it’s the client’s big day so they should do whatever makes them happy!

Now people want more from weddings; they want themes, concepts, beauty, and seamless execution

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We are still lucky in the subcontinent to dress the way we do, but I miss seeing more people dressed according to their own individual styles

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Lighting can affect the profile of an event from special to unforgettable

How, mainly, does hiring an event manager benefit the host?

QYT: For me, more important than the wedding itself are the bride and groom, especially the bride. For them, this day will only come once, well, for most of them! So the bride and groom and their respective families should be given proper respect. If I am being hired to do the event then all the pressure and tension of organizing the event should fall on me. I tell them to come as guests would, to be relaxed, to enjoy the occasion.

Alena Peerzada: Hiring an event manager definitely takes the stress off. I feel the benefit is huge because I can help in both practical and creative ways, providing resources and advice for your functions, and finally take complete charge of putting the event together. All along I keep in mind your personal requirements and taste along with incorporating aesthetically pleasing elements. I think it benefits the host by having one person responsible and deliver the above. The trends are changing rapidly! Now people want more from weddings; they want themes, concepts, beauty, and seamless execution. Moreover, today, many brides are working women, who don’t have as much time as women previously used to have. Therefore, they turn to event managers to translate their needs on-ground!

Shazreh Khalid: Hiring an event manager means that you attend your function as a guest and your vision of the perfect wedding is turned into reality. One can relax and focus on the thousands of things that come with a wedding and leave the managing of the event in the hands of a professional.

For product launches, what’s the recommended way? Is there such a thing as too much hype? Is a soft launch advised?

QYT: At first, we start with a product but then I make it into a brand by creating tons of hype around it. The main purpose is for as many people to get to know the product. I don’t believe in soft launches and if I’m doing a launch, it’s got to be with a big bang. I tell the clients that either I do it all out or I don’t do it at all. If they tell me “we don’t have the budget for it,” then I tell them to hold off until they do have the budget to launch in a big way. I think it’s better for the product as I feel the whole point of a launch is to create hype for the product, otherwise just directly launch the product in the market. It helps to invite media people, models, artists, celebrities, and keep some giveaways.

For fashion events and launches, I style the models as well as the host: I tell them to wear this outfit and that shoe. Especially if the host is a bit simple, I style them too. If I’m launching a product, I feel the host should also be looking glamorous, it’s very important since he or she is going to mingle with all sorts of people, society and media.

Alena Peerzada: It depends on the product and its launch. If it’s a mass scale brand launching a project for the masses then there is no such thing as too much publicity. We at Peer Events have mainly done larger nationwide product launches where what you really want is maximum viewership, mileage and attendance. For products that are investing huge amounts of money to launch themselves I don’t think a soft launch can be advised.

Shazreh Khalid: I would always advise a soft launch, especially for a restaurant or cafe as it gives the staff an opportunity to deal with real customers and work out the kinks, if any.

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In this business you have to frantically innovate

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Any guidelines for wedding proprieties and decor?

QYT: The bride and groom should come at the right time, with a perfect song playing. As far as the stage is concerned, I always keep it in muted tones and subtle colours, basically in complete contrast to the bride so that she stands out. My stuff is classy and elegant and I generally use very subtle tones when it comes to receptions. Mehndis are the only exceptions, naturally!

Alena Peerzada: The décor is different for every event. Mehndi functions are always colourful and use traditional styles whereas baraat and valima functions use more sombre colours. A clustered stage and too many flowers is not the way to go. I feel it’s important to play with heights and ceiling décor. With all the people and hustle bustle at weddings, the only constant that can be truly impactful is the ceiling. Day-time weddings are lovely in good weather, especially if you want to decorate your wedding in lighter tones such as pearls and lace. Lighting, for me, is the most important part of my setup. Lighting can make or break an event. From the actual ceremony to the car parking area, lighting plays an essential role in setting the stage for your wedding. At Peer Events we have Pakistan’s foremost lighting designers who know how lighting can elevate the profile of an event from special to unforgettable. Whether you are getting married outside or bringing the outdoors in, lighting is the key to creating the perfect environment.

Shazreh Khalid: I love using fresh flowers! Every season, we have such beautiful flowers here. If used, they make the event extra special. I keep myself updated with international decor trends and implement them as much as possible. In this business you have to frantically innovate, in a sense, so you don’t repeat your ideas. My style is generally elegant and classic and you can never go wrong with that!

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Fashion weeks or solo shows?

QYT: Before the trend began of having big fashion weeks, there used to be solo fashion shows. I recently organized a solo show for Faraz Manan and Ather Shehzad at Faletti’s Hotel in Lahore. The guests thoroughly enjoyed the show and it was all wrapped up within 35 minutes. Solo shows are coming back again and I have had a tremendous response from many designers after this recent solo show. I did a solo show for Damas in Marriott Islamabad a few months ago and some others are in the pipeline.

Alena Peerzada: I’m not really into attending fashion shows, but if I had to pick I guess I’d only take the time out to see a solo show of someone whose work I really appreciate.

Shazreh Khalid: Solo shows!

How different are events from city to city?

QYT: Every city has a different flavor. As of late, I’ve been doing many events in Sialkot, where I launched a Super Cinema recently. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the fashions there are not very far from the fashions of Lahore and Karachi. The girls were very nicely dressed with elegant and sublte make-up and the boys were also fashion forward. In Faisalabad, for example, people make a lot of comparisons, ‘I want my event to be better than x persons event.’

Alena Peerzada: Regarding weddings, they have become very theme-oriented, which in my personal opinion is a trend that needs to be broken! I feel one needs to concentrate on wedding activities, ambiance and decor in a more feel-good manner rather than restricting oneself to a theme-specific event.

Shazreh Khalid: I’m inspired by every city’s charm and character and try to incorporate that into the decor and food.

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