Ambika Gupta on making Alanna Panday and Ivor McCray’s dream wedding come true

The ace wedding designer of the A-Cube Project speaks to Brides Today about designing the couple's dreamy nuptials that’s taken over our social media feeds.

Ambika Gupta, founder and creative director of the A-Cube Project, an award-winning wedding design company founded in 2012, is known for her flair for designing bespoke weddings. Having executed several high-profile weddings such as that of South Indian actors Aadhi Pinisetty and Nikki Galrani, as well as Bollywood actor Kajal Aggarwal with businessman Gautam Kitchlu, her latest wedding project is the one that’s got everyone talking. We're talking about the fairy tale wedding of model and digital creator, Alanna Pandey, to US-based film director, Ivor McCray, held in Mumbai recently. 

In a chat with Brides Today, Gupta speaks about the thought process that goes into making each wedding unique, the shift towards sustainability and the do’s and don’ts of personalising one’s wedding décor. Edited excerpts: 

Brides Today: How did you approach the Alanna-Ivor wedding? The end result was dreamy décor and themed setups that have been doing the rounds on social media.

Ambika Gupta: We follow a very solid design theory where we believe no two people have the same story and hence no two events will look the same. We did that with Alanna Panday and Ivor McCray as well. First off, we have a questionnaire that we make clients fill. With Alanna and Ivor, we got an insight into their love for travel and all things organic. Just seeing their Instagram feed, you could sense their mood and personality. We understood who they are as people, their design sensibilities and aesthetic, and then added our expertise to the mix. 

Both Alanna and Ivor are very different—he’s dark and moody, while she likes a very light, pastel colour palette. What binds them together is their love for white. When the two of us came together, we made something with the common motive of not making it look like another celebrity wedding. We wanted to let people know about the places that they’ve both travelled to and love. 

BT: Alanna and Ivor wanted décor inspired by their travels around the world. Can you describe how you incorporated these elements into the haldi brunch and wedding? 

AG: When we met for the first time, we started with the idea of wanting to do an Italian-inspired brunch for the haldi function. Alanna had sent me pictures to which I replied saying this has been done to death. When we started digging deeper, saw her house and realised the duo’s love for details, is when we were able to develop the mood board. So, we had different installations for the brunch—small weights to measure fruits, little Italian postcards which rested on a ladder, a stunning grazing table, a fortune cookie bar, an olive bar and a floral shop where people could make their own bouquet to take home All this was interactive and created a buzz as soon as guests entered the venue. Vertical walls and mirrors ensured that the space looked large and the entire backyard looked like an art installation because we did everything wall-to-wall. 

For the wedding, we gravitated towards everything earthy and green, opting for an almost enchanted forest-like feel. Alanna is modern but has a very vintage approach to things, somewhat like an old-world charm. The forest-themed wedding for their pheras called for a detailed mood board. 

BT: How sustainable was this wedding? Are green weddings the way to go? 

AG: I think going green and sustainable is slowly but steadily trickling into our system. People are becoming more aware and sensitive to it. It also makes us realise that we can make a big difference in a very small way. For example, people come to a wedding, see an NGO initiative, and realise it’s a heartfelt and good gesture as they can give something back. Secondly, recycling flowers is something that we see a lot of couples do. 

With Alanna and Ivor’s celebrations, we had the names of their three pets printed on a handmade quilt. The NGO was called PURKALSTREE—they’re a group of women from Dehradun and the organisation enables them to earn daily wages. 

BT: What are some tips to throw a green and sustainable wedding? 

AG: To begin with, a 100 percent sustainable wedding isn’t always possible. You can start with reusable materials—that don’t go into the garbage can. Recycling flowers and floral waste is extremely important. In the larger scheme of things, if people start realising the merit of going green and designers start putting it into their production budget, it will go a long way. 

BT: What are some of your tips for a hassle-free monsoon wedding? 

AG: For a monsoon wedding, you have to think very differently—because it’s raining. So, there are a lot of logistical nightmares. You need to think about covering the venue, one can do a transparent tent where you can enjoy the rains during your functions. You have to ensure that people don’t get wet, take care of the flowers, perishable items and electronics, and ensure that things are transported well, etc. An indoor wedding is ideal but quite often families like to do outdoor weddings as well.

image credit: The A-Cube Project

BT: Can you share some dos and don'ts to keep in mind when personalising one's wedding?  

AG:  You don’t cross a boundary of personalisation that the client isn’t comfortable with. For example, a lot of couples love using personalised elements in their wedding but some of them hate using their photos—as they think it’s very private. It’s very important to have these conversations and understand where they draw the line. Don’t do something that will upset and deviate from what they want. 

As far as the dos are concerned, dig deeper into what the couple is about, know their story and then use the tools in hand for décor to match their vision. How you make it your own is something that is unique only to the couple. 

BT: Storytelling is a big trend in weddings nowadays. Do many couples come with such requests, of weaving in a story with the décor or theme? 

AG: It doesn’t happen all the time as not every couple is creative. Some come with a lot of ideas or requests, and some with nothing. The latter is tough as we have to dig deep. But it really works when they come with nothing and have strong personalities. People with a story always enable us to make something cool. As designers, story boards, mood boards and colour boards are the essence of a design house. If 10 designers do the farmer’s market, each one will do it differently because of their passion for the craft. That’s the beauty of the space. And each one will stand out from the other because of their story-telling ability. 

Lead photo: alannapanday | Instagram