Devika Narain has made waves in the Indian wedding industry, since founding her wedding design company in 2015. Based out of Mumbai, she has helmed numerous noteworthy projects, from transforming spaces with personalised and thoughtful decor pieces to discovering sustainable solutions for designs. Today, her team of young designers work with local artisans and craftsmen to tell personal histories through spaces and celebrate the heritage of the Indian subcontinent with a modern sensibility.
Design Pataki – What are some of the biggest trends dominating wedding design?
Devika Narain – It’s not the easiest one because when we design at DNC, we don’t think of trends. The weddings we make are personal weddings and for us, that’s always in trend! The fact that the wedding is a reflection of your own taste, I think that’s the greatest and the most classic trend! One of the most interesting things that are happening in the universe of weddings right now is that they are now becoming these beautiful intimate affairs. People are done with having thousands of people attending or people that they don’t know. As guest lists are becoming smaller, weddings are becoming a lot more fun and that’s the coolest trend!
Design Pataki – How can we make weddings more sustainable, not just in terms of materials but in a larger context of materialism?
Devika Narain – One of the most important things to remember is that as an industry we are a very wasteful industry. Till about two years back it was completely ok to bring down an entire plane filled with flowers all the way from Holland or Amsterdam. These are all things that were accepted and done! The fact is that the last two years have changed that because now it has forced you to buy local and source locally. This is something we have enjoyed for a while now! It is unfair to say that we are ever going to be 100% sustainable. I honestly don’t think that’s a possibility at all because everything we are doing today is steps! For example, gifting plants is not having a sustainable wedding right. But thinking about where things are coming from or are you sourcing responsibly, we work a lot with small businesses, and local artisans. We are also conscious of how we can recycle things – we rent a lot of furniture, and even if we make new ones we ensure that we can reuse or get more value out of it. We also use silk flowers at weddings because they are sustainable and you can reuse them! Recalibrate is the key!
Design Pataki – What are some of the most challenging feats you’ve had to accomplish for a wedding?
Devika Narain – A lot of our job is honestly firefighting! We just pulled off an entire wedding in another country in less than 30 days! A country we had not worked in recently. When we were living those 20 days, we thought this was not going to happen but the fact is it did happen! Another instance was when we had been tucked on the ground floor of a hotel where we had to take a 12-foot elephant up an elevator – we had to cut it into multiple sections as it wouldn’t fit in the elevator. In Udaipur, we had three venues, all in the middle of a lake! No access by roads so everything had to go by boat. We had 24 hours for each one of those events to pull it up! So, every project is so drastically different from the other, everything has to work out in the end!