Ask The Expert {Wedding Designer Hana April Chughtai}

Camera specs, left: PhaseOne IQ160 back on 645 DF, 80mm LS lens at f/6.3, 1/640 sec, ISO 50. Right: Nikon D700, 85mm at f/1.4, 1/2000 sec, ISO 200.


Welcome to the next installment of “Ask The Expert,” an ongoing blog series where I interview creative experts that inspire me.

Today, meet Hana April Chughtai, founder of Mani Mela, a luxury wedding management, design & style agency based in Minneapolis. She’s also the driving force behind SOMOD 22 which applies her creative panache to events. She’s an expert with a thoughtful eye towards details next to none. And she offers up her space for us to meet at our Pictage User Group meetings which we love.

Hana April, thanks for sharing your time with us today! If you were to write the book, “Everything I Learned About Wedding Planning, I Learned in Kindergarten,” describe key points.

  • Treat others how you want to be treated. Keeping in mind that this is the most special day for a couple and they have been planning this day for months, if not years.  Take care of their parents, grandparents, and guests as if they are your own, and with the utmost respect and courtesy.  Create an experience for them that will last a lifetime.
  • Be patient. Yes, things will go off the schedule, and things will sometimes take longer then expected.  That is just fine.  Don’t be stressed or overwhelmed.  Take a deep breath, go with the flow.
  • Have fun at recess. Even the most formal of wedding affairs need a break for fun.  Offer an interactive drink station at the bar, food stations for dinner, or an indulgent dessert room for guests to enjoy.

What makes the ideal client for you?

An idea client for Mani Mela trusts in our design and management expertise.  They assist with the overall vision, but leave the unique and creative details to our team.  That way we can still create elements of surprises that are unexpected to the couple.  We love clients who trust in us.

What is the biggest challenge to your business? What goals have you set to rise above the challenges?

Some of the biggest challenges to our business is for clients to dream outside the box.  With the growth of Pinterest, I finding more clients coming in with the same or very similar pictures as they see. We offer a Design + Style Experience for clients who need assistance developing a design for their wedding, and one for those who may not need wedding management service.  Our design team helps a couple create a unique, luxury vision utilizing unique style, tastes, preferences, and personality.  We set goals to keep our approach fresh and innovative by searching internationally for inspiration, global trends, and innovative concepts that translate into client experience.

What is the best way to market YOU?

The best way to market Mani Mela is finding clients who understand and appreciate luxury event design and management services. Clients who truly are looking for completely custom design understand our approach and are excited to choose us to be a part of their wedding day.

What inspires you to do your best in both business and your art?

It may sound cliche, but the moment when a couple sees their wedding reception for the first time makes it all worth it.  One of our highlights is ensuring the photographer documents their reaction to seeing the space…. always a magical experience.  That is the inspiration that motivates our team.

How important is social media (blogs, branding, twitter, etc) in finding your perfect client?

Social media allows us to define our brand clearly.  Our brand: clean, modern and fresh with a luxurious aspect. Potential clients see our approach and decide if we would be a good fit for them.

You can reach out to her on Twitter and see the phenomenal client review on her Facebook page. Thanks, Hana April, for sharing insights with the wedding community!

PhaseOne IQ160 back on 645 DF, 80mm LS lens at f/5.6, 1/640 sec, ISO 50.

Other Ask The Expert posts you might enjoy:

Stay tuned for future “Ask the Expert” interviews of others who love to create as much as share.

One Response to “Ask The Expert {Wedding Designer Hana April Chughtai}”

  1. Pingback: The Art of Wedding Day Timelines pt. 1 » Kern-Photo - Kern-Photo

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