Each week we will be sharing a look into our amazing WPIC instructors’ lives, so you can get to know them better.
This week we are introducing WPIC Instructor, Paras Mehta of Paras Events.
Paras Mehta is the creative force behind Paras Events, creating highly stylized and luxurious social and corporate events locally and internationally for the most discerning clientele. Paras is known for his calm demeanour, sophisticated design aesthetic, and commitment to each and every client.
A highly sought-after designer, he is recognized for his creativity, attention to detail, and innovative approach to design. His ability to conceptualize space in harmony with his clients’ desires has made him the top choice for a host of corporations, organizations, foundations, top-tier hotels and resorts, event planners, and couples. Alongside his talented design and operational team, Paras designs luxury weddings and destination events.
In just over a decade, Paras has garnered the acclaim of the Canadian Events Industry. He was awarded his first Canadian Event Industry Star Award at the age of 24 and a year later at age 25, he was named ‘Event Designer of the Year’ by the Canadian Wedding Industry – one of the highest achievements in wedding design in Canada. More recently, Paras was recognized as the 2016 ‘Wedding Professional of the Year’ and 2017/2018/2019 ‘Wedding Planners Institute of Canada – Event Designer of the Year’ for his portfolio of work and contributions to the Canadian Event and Wedding Industry. He is also currently a ‘Consumer’s Choice Award’ recipient for 2017 and 2018 and was named to the BizBash Top 250 Most Influential Event Professionals in Canada list in 2020.
In addition to event design, Paras is an instructor with the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada – Event Design Certification program.
Paras is highly knowledgeable in the business of cultural/fusion weddings and events and the logistics of operating a successful and sustainable destination event design business in Canada.
How long have you worked with WPIC Inc.?
I have worked alongside the team at the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada as an instructor in the event design certification for fourteen (14) months. My journey with WPIC began almost seventeen years ago, when I personally became certified with the institute, just after opening my own wedding planning and design business. It wasn’t until 2006, that my firm’s core service evolved to full-service event design, event decor, and event rentals. It was the design of weddings that brought me the most joy. WPIC has given me the opportunity to share what I love to do with others.
What void do you fill in the industry? What is your specialty?
I’m not certain I fill a void any longer. There are so many talented designers in the weddings industry and I am in constant awe of the innovation that emerges from this talented group. As an industry, we all move forward when we take the time to refine our craft, remain educated in our industry, and commit to fostering strong business practices. Although I feel it is very important to stand out, its equally important to stand out for the right reasons. I have always maintained a focus on my personal mandate to lead with a design-first attitude and establish my signature and profile as a Canadian designer.
A few weeks ago, I shared on my Instagram, an excerpt of my personal design philosophy:
“Personally, I have always believed that my version of success has come from consistently putting myself out there by sharing my design vision and design philosophy with anyone who was open to hearing it. It has not always been about creating the perfect business, the perfect design, or working with the perfect clients. My passion for design is spearheaded by my love to CREATE, to DESIGN, and to SHARE.”
What has been your biggest challenge in the wedding industry thus far?
There have been many challenges growing a business for the last seventeen years. It comes with the role of being a business owner and is a true test of resilience and tenacity. If I had to narrow it down to one, I would highlight the balance required to be an artist and a business owner. It has been a challenge and continues to be to this day. There have been so many instances where I simply had to ‘wing it’ and hope for the best. It wasn’t until I began to balance the scale of designer and business owner that I began to see progress and made intentional decisions. This meant, leading with design (and my design education) and supplementing my lack of business experience by attending conferences, workshops, participating in webinars and online courses, etc.
What were you planning to do as a career before getting into the wedding industry?
Growing up, I was always immersed in art and design. My mother has a fine arts education and she has greatly influenced my pursuit of art and design – as a hobby and as a profession. Countless weekends were spent crafting with my mother as she was always ‘creating’. As a child, I dreamt of being a firefighter or astronaut. As a young adult, I aspired to be a journalist or meteorologist. It wasn’t until grade twelve that interior design was introduced to me as a career profession. When applying to universities and colleges in high school, I had narrowed my focus to a career in design or elementary school teaching. I was in my second year of university when our first brand, Design2Decor Incorporated was born. Today, I am so grateful that my love of design and teaching have come together full circle.
How did you get into the wedding industry?
Many people are not aware that my mother is my business partner. Although she retired from the business six years ago, she remains the spirit of the business, my sounding board, and the person who always encourages me to aim high. Paras Events was born out of my childhood home. Although, our business has not operated from home for over fifteen years, it remains the ‘hub’ of our business. It is where every important decision business has been made.
The company was born after multiple family members and our temple community began asking for our design input for their personal events. Our business began to grow as more and more family and friends experienced our work. From day one, Paras Events has been design first, placing emphasis on the design process itself and the customer service experience. We established our signature in the marketplace very early on – which has resulted in a brand loyalty we are very proud of.
Advice for those just starting out?
- Establish your signature in the marketplace – and be unapologetic about it. Design with conviction. Any individual should be able to walk into a space and know that you have designed it. The art that you create for your clients speaks to your brand.
- Build a strong website and social media presence that embraces your brand identity/messaging. This can include imagery from style shoots you have curated, events you may have worked on in the past, your design philosophy, your aesthetic, and the client experience when working with your firm (to name a few).
- Make smart purchasing decisions when introducing inventory into your business. Our general rule of thumb is, a product must be sold to at least three (3) clients before we make the decision to purchase it for our own inventory. Think about your client demographic and what they are asking for. Bring in products that will appeal to your target demographic and increase your bottom line.
- Grow at a steady pace. It is very easy to become distracted by what our peers are doing in the industry – it can often feel like a race to the finish line. Grow at a pace that aligns with your lifestyle, is financially healthy, and at a pace that will build positive revenues in order for you to continue growing your empire.
What has been your biggest accomplishment?
I am very proud of the business that my family and I have built over the last seventeen years. Building a family business has been an accomplishment in itself. Being recognized by our peers in national awards programs and by industry associations holds special value to us. The journey of building a home-based business into a top-tier design firm comes with a great sense of pride. Our biggest accomplishment, however, is our portfolio of events. It represents countless hours of design/concept development, event production logistics, the tireless efforts of our creative teams, the trust and confidence of our legacy clients, and the personal sacrifices we make as business owners. A constant reminder to never give up on the dream and why we started in the first place. The feeling of pride we get when we stand back and witness the happiness that we bring to the lives of others.
Tell us about a difficult situation at a wedding that you overcame.
Many years ago, in the early days of our business, we had the pleasure of working alongside a wonderful couple from Toronto. This was our first fusion wedding (fusion weddings are what Paras Events has become known for). It was a large scale, multiple-day event. The final event was going to be a reception in downtown Toronto. Along the way, on all the quotations, email correspondence, and contracts the incorrect reception date was indicated. On the day of the event (at 2:00 pm), I received a call from the wedding planner asking “where is your team?”. As you can imagine, my heart sank. My entire family, our neighbours, and the staff immediately left for the venue. We were an hour away from the city and the event was going to begin at 5:00 pm. Fortunately, we were able to install the entire design within two (2) hours. Thinking about this wedding still brings back all the anxiety of that afternoon – even fourteen years later.