The cover is adorned by a beautiful Indian newlywed couple. For that occasion, the Pula Arena was lavishly decorated, and the combination of two cultures made it look like a fairy tale, which, after all, is the goal of every wedding.
With this, Istria, known as a wedding destination, raises the bar and opens up to a new market with a high paying power, writes Glas Istre.
Many wealthy Indians look for unique locations for their fateful “yes”, inviting 200 to 300 of their family and friends who like to spend lavishly, enjoy good food and expensive things and, in accordance with the times, stay in five-star hotels. So, this is about five-star weddings – that is the conclusion of the person responsible for the realization of the whole story, Velka Šuran. She is the owner of the company Weddings in Istria by LF and LF catering, a kind of brand in the organization of events and weddings, and the person who is behind this fantastic worldwide media success.
The Glas Istre journalists caught her for a chat with her American colleague and business partner Erica Jones, an interior designer for weddings and the best florist for Indian weddings who arrived to Pula from Boston. They are already making arrangements and preparing for another luxurious wedding that will take place this year, to be held in spring at the Pula Castello. She also took part in the realization of the Indian wedding, as did Pervez Taufiq, a famous American musician and the owner of a luxury wedding recording company who is also responsible for the editorial in the Pula Arena that ended up on the cover. Harper’s Bazaar devoted several pages to Velka and Pervez.
Just as big events use big machinery in the Arena, so do preparations for a big wedding. Global production – the models were the Indian celebrity couple Monica Vaswani and Anthony Gomez. In addition to the famous wedding photographer Pervez Taufiq, his team also includes Joy Strotz, who publishes in Glamour and Vogue, among others. There was also the American Denise Lillie O’Neal, a wedding planner for Indian weddings. Local forces were also involved in the project – such as BelIstria, Florami, Tea Makeup, flower shop Leona. The tourism boards of Istria and the city of Pula, as well as the Cluster of Southern Istria, participated in the implementation of the project. In addition to Pula, the shooting took place in Motovun, Rovinj and Brijuni.
The serious story about Istria as a wedding destination, however, began with the visits to the DWP Destination wedding planners congress. In 2016, in Florence, Velka came into contact with the world’s wedding organizers and received valuable information on how to create a destination for weddings. She began to apply her knowledge in Istria, and in 2021, at the DWP congress in Rhodes, Greece, representing Istria, she captured American wedding planners who recognized Istria as a new “hot spot”, i.e. a new destination for weddings. It was a significant moment, because until then the wedding industry in Croatia had taken off seriously only in Dubrovnik, where spectacular weddings of world celebrities were organized, as well as a number of “normal” weddings of foreign tourists, especially Irish and British.
Her goal, just as it was then, is to develop this highly valuable tourist product and bring Croatia and Istria closer to wedding organizers from all over the world.
“My goal was to connect a colleague from Istria with the wedding industry from around the world. With our offer in Istria or Croatia, we do not deviate much from the rest of the world, and in terms of equipment and services, we are close to the trends. At the same time, we also have advantages, which is that we are still an undiscovered destination, kind of exotic. When I showed them the Arena and told them what I would like to do”, they were delighted, she recalls.
“Secretly, since we started this project, we aimed for the pictures to appear on the cover, because when Taufiq saw the location, he freaked out and said that it would end up in a big newspaper, and he knows what he’s doing,” she said, revealing that Taufiq is a kind of rock star who has in a short time become the best videographer of Indian weddings, with Netflix filming a documentary about him.
With this move, Istria is opening the door to a new clientele with high paying power that we have not had the opportunity to see here so far. This means that weddings are becoming an important economic segment in Istria. No, the story doesn’t stop there. A DWP (Destination wedding planner) congress is also in the works, which would bring 300-500 of the best from the world of weddings to Istria. Bride Looks, which gathers designers and wedding planners around the world, is also interested and could bring wealthy clients.
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