Recognised as one of the Top Nine Most Influential Planners in the World by Vanity Fair, the CEO of Sumptuous Events Paris, Jean Charles Vaneck (JCV) is a Luxury Wedding Planner based in Paris, France. Known for his exquisite designs and fashion-forward aesthetic, Jean Charles serves an esteemed clientele worldwide.
Jean Charles is not only a passionate New York Institute of Art and Design qualified event manager and wedding planner, but also an intuitive artist and a smile maker. Inspired by his fellow prominent event designers, it has always been his dream to have the most premium events and wedding agency; much before giving up his career as a pianist.
WA: What are the popular demands of the clients this year?
JCV: We have noticed an increase in the number of foreign couples looking to have an authentic ceremony with an ultra-modern design. It can be in the form of bold colours, surprising layout or some entertainment factor that is traditionally used for birthday parties or corporate events. These days even the groom wants to change into a new tuxedo several times during the celebrations. This is something I also encourage as this is something I have done for myself—different outfits for different ceremonies in a day.
WA: Do you enjoy challenging requests from your clients? Do you remember any, from the recent past?
JCV: I always enjoy challenging requests from my clients, as these have helped us grow and evolve. Once I presented a brief invitation mock-up to a couple. They loved my ideas and asked me to develop and present them to an invitation company. I elaborated the concept further and realised I could design the entire invitation myself with my in-house illustrator. The job took much longer than I had thought and eventually became very difficult. Eventually, we managed to have them printed and I am very proud to have designed my first stationery.
WA: How important is your signature ‘French Touch’ at the weddings you design?
JCV: Sumptuous Events is not simply a wedding planning entity but a luxury lifestyle that we all ascribe to. I was born in the South of France and so the French culture is very much in my DNA. I love when things are elegant, refined, opulent, and subtle. Paris is also the fashion capital, as we host many fashion weeks. Hence, it is discernible that our signature is very editorial.
WA: What are your favourite cities to work in?
JCV: Phuket in Thailand. Here I started my wedding planning journey. The natural backgrounds are gorgeous and feature the most beautiful ceremony spots. I personally adore Marrakech. Luxury riads dimmed in candle lights, spectacular gardens full of roses and jasmines, and mysterious Arabian palaces waiting for couples, in the exotic city nestled between the Sahara Desert and the Atlas Mountains. Morocco’s ‘Red City’ stands among the most prominent and acclaimed wedding destinations in the entire world. New York is also a city I adore. The bright lights, the unparalleled skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Central Park—amazing scenery every season.
WA: Which place in India attracts you the most as an ideal wedding destination?
JCV: Recently, I was a part of an event extraordinaire at Umaid Palace, Jodhpur. I found the hospitality and culture absolutely amazing. India has diverse religious and cultural backgrounds, so one gets to celebrate festivals of different types, tastes, and colours. India is also known as the land of vibrant celebrations. I was lucky enough to visit several cities in India, and we have also planned Indian weddings overseas, hence I truly enjoy the traditional ceremonies.
WA: What inspired you about the wedding design business?
JCV: I was inspired by my travels around the world. I visited more than 70 countries and brought so many memories back home. My designs are infused with my cultural background and the people I have met throughout my life. I am also inspired by the couples I meet—their clothes, their cars, their houses and so on. My inspiration comes also, from cinema and video clips. An amalgam of all the adventures, make my designs ever-evolving.
WA: Have your years as a professional pianist influenced your understanding of the event planning industry?
JCV: Being a musician has helped a lot more than you can imagine. I can read scales, so my brain is very much compartmented, and thus I organise all my projects in my head. I work with intuition and confidently guide my clients throughout the planning process. When I played the piano at events, I made various observations on how to plan a perfect event.
WA: Your idea of a well-planned wedding.
JCV: A well-planned wedding is a wedding wherein everyone is very happy and the energy is well balanced. I think it is important to focus on the people we invite because guests make the vibe of a party. We have all been to weddings where the ceremony seems to drag on a little too long. I think a ceremony should be long enough to emphasise the significance of the union, but not so long to make your guests uncomfortable. I would advise hiring a band or a DJ who has the experience to make your night run smooth.
WA: Which are the most entertaining weddings you have crafted to date? Which is your favourite amongst them?
JCV: Last year, I planned a Chinese wedding based on the theme —Alice in Wonderland. The decoration was really colourful—a lot of pink, green and red. Flowers took the shape of pink flamingos, giant mushrooms with various rich colours; a huge floral clock was the point of the ballroom. Everyone was smiling and the atmosphere was very positive. There were a lot of performances. Almost two years ago, I planned a royal proposal at the Vaux-le-Vicomte Castle for a Lebanese couple. They arrived at the venue by a helicopter. The view was simply amazing, and with all the little details I added, it was totally extravagant. My favourite wedding was inspired by a famous jewellery luxury brand. We drew the key elements but we did not want to copy the brand. The ‘Sumptuous’ magic touch always adds a little more.
WA: How far do you think ‘minimalism’, as a trend, has climbed popularity among the couples-to-be?
JCV: Minimalism might have climbed popularity among the new couples, but this is not a part of our signature look. On the contrary, most couples ask us to add more and more elements, such as flowers and customised decors. I think couples on a budget may try to develop a minimalist look, which is somehow hard to accomplish if none of the elements is luxurious like the tableware.
WA: What trends do you foresee ruling the upcoming weddings?
JCV: The editorial style is gaining popularity and I think it is going to grow more and more. Our clients ask their photographers to edit their pictures with a magazine retouch. They want to be the superstars of their wedding. Gowns with asymmetrical design elements will also be everywhere. Groomswear will feature suits that pair different fabrics and patterns together. Customisation is one of the biggest trends growing. For wedding decor, velvet linens will be everywhere. I personally adore velvet and have used this material often.
WA: How important, do you think, is the synergy of concepts between clients and their wedding designers?
JCV: I love to listen to my clients’ wishes and understand why they want to get the decor or look. It is my role to make it possible and elevate it further. I try to guide them towards something that will make them look better. It is important to gain the full trust of my client and synergy between their ideas and my designs. Something, though, has changed for me— because of my notoriety the clients always say yes to my suggestions and I have the freedom to create what I want.