What is the story behind White Palace, Sinh Doi and Gem Center?
SinhDoi Wedding Centre was established in 1997 and achieved a lot of success as a pioneer of stylish Ho Chi Minh City weddings. In 2007 we launched the White Palace Convention Centre. At the time it was the largest venue for top-end banquet and conference services in town. The centre has hosted many celebrity weddings as well as events organised by multinationals such as Martell, Honda, Toyota, DKSH, GSK, Unilever, Abbott and much more. Then in November 2014 we launched GEM Center, the largest top-end venue for corporate events in central Ho Chi Minh City.
How did Phu and Quy get into the wedding industry?
In the 1990s, most weddings were organised by the families of the bride and groom with in-house catering services. The chefs were not professional and the food options were limited. The wedding ceremonies were simple, most of them were very traditional. Anticipating a potential market for weddings, Phu and Quy established Sinh Doi Wedding Centre on Ly Thai To in District 3. The venue offered a whole new and different set of wedding services and quickly became very popular. They were visionaries.
How has the wedding industry expanded in Ho Chi Minh City in the last 10 years?
Thewedding industry in Ho Chi Minh City is growing rapidly and now there is really strong competition. After the success of Sinh Doi, many new venues joined the playground.
One example of the change is what happened after we established White Palace. We created the first place in town with spacious, high ceilings and ballrooms without pillars. Since then, many new wedding and convention centres have been built using the same concept — Grand Palace, Riverside Palace, Merperle Crystal Palace, Diamond Place, Claris Palace, Him Lam Palace, Adora, Gala Royal and many more.
How have weddings changed?
The customer's demands have changed since now they are used to professional weddings. In the past, they only focused on the food and beverage, with the wedding ceremony dependent on each individual restaurant. Now they are much more picky and they focus on the whole experience. For example, the wedding ballroom, the decorations, the food, which must not only taste good but must be beautifully presented. Wedding programmes tend to be self-designed now to enable couples to have a unique wedding. Today the trend is for weddings to be different, unique and personalised.
How many weddings does your company host every day?
Weddings are usually held only on weekends. We host seven to eight weddings per week in the low season, 13 to 14 weddings per week in the high season. The average number of guests is 300 to 450. The minimum is 100 and the maximum is 1,200.
This interview has been edited and abridged