Prestige issue 283, Feb. March-Apr. May 2017
«I invested my name as a reference for creativity and distinction»
Between the United States where he was born and Europe where he followed and continued his studies in Hotel Management, at the prestigious Swiss School Les Roches and César Ritz Colleges, Elie Berchan, founder of the company that bears his name «Elie Berchan Wedding & Events Creation» chose in 2010 to settle in Lebanon. Seven years later, through his offices in downtown and Rabieh and his six representatives abroad, the young Lebanese continues his mission by creating, planning and executing unique and memorable celebrations. In a meeting with Prestige, Elie Berchan evokes this great passion for events planning.
How did your passion start? My passion is innate. It flourished in my family, especially on the maternal side, to which I am grateful. The family house was always open, welcoming people around dinners and celebrations. I grew up in this environment that attracted me as much as theater and scouting. My first creative project, at the age of 18 before joining university, was dedicated to my parents. I wanted to offer them a unique event for their silver wedding celebration. The organization was perfect and meticulous, to the point that I even reprinted the authentic announcements of their wedding. It is a passion that always inspires me.
Give us an idea of your background … I was born in the United States and I studied in Switzerland, at the International School Les Roches where I obtained a BBA degree in Hotel Management and Marketing, as well as a degree from César Ritz Colleges. Then I spent ten years traveling, working in international hotel chains such as The Raffles, The Radisson and Armani Hotel in Dubai, to enrich my knowledge and gain experience. I will never forget my first project, the marriage of my sister!
Why did you choose to establish your business in Lebanon? Passionate about Beauty, and well trained with my studies, my continuous travels and experiences acquired abroad, I decided to return to Lebanon to invest and enrich the region. In 2010, I inaugurated my business, proposing a new style of work focused on a hyper-conceptual and unique organization, and a lasting personal touch. I invested my name as a brand and reference to all that is creative and distinct, in order to give the right image, if not the best of the company and Lebanon which is a very hospitable country.
What services do you offer? The preparation of a wedding is an exciting and delicate operation … We offer the couple a customized, personalized luxury service. We start by creating the concept, then sharing it with the couple, before moving on to execution. Often young people, eager to plan their wedding in all details, face difficulties. This is why we attach great importance to the conception of a global and perfect vision of the D-Day that will realize their dream and accompany them for life. In addition to weddings, our services also include corporate events.
You are settled in Lebanon but you travel a lot … How do you manage with the schedule? It is true that I travel a lot, to be aware of what’s new permanently. However, I am fortunate to have a professional and competent team always ready in my offices of Downtown and Rabieh to satisfy the demand, while six representatives are active abroad, including three in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and three others in Switzerland, France and Great Britain.
More than three hundred event-planning companies operate in Lebanon. What makes you different? Each marriage signed by Elie Berchan must be unique, custom-made, ensuring follow-up and respectful of the relational aspect. We focus mainly on the taste of the customer, on his request, we are not fashion victims, because fashion is temporary. We work for a lasting beauty that reflects the image of the couple and the event planner. I emphasize especially the relational aspect that characterizes me.
What about the clientele? Our customers are Lebanese as well as Indian, British, German or Arabic. Each category has specific aspirations and demands. I lived abroad for a long time and knew closely the tastes and ideas of these different countries. Concerning the colors, they reflect the image of the bride. Pink is a symbol of purity and goodness. Mauve is synonymous with human, yellow symbolizes noise. It is a whole spirit to respect.
Have you changed the logo? No, the logo was simply re-adjusted. Since our emblem is study and research, we opted for a brand image, calligraphic E and B that represent simplicity, elegance and research.
What’s new for the 2017 bride? Due to great demand, we have expanded our high-end and distinguished products. The Table by Elie Berchan, includes tablecloths of our creation, return gifts and other objects in the same category.
And what about courses and workshops by Elie Berchan? These are courses and workshops of hotels that I give twice a year in Switzerland and once in Paris. Open to amateurs and professionals of sixty-two different nationalities, the session spans from two to five days.
You received many awards … In October 2015, I was awarded the Best Wedding Concept Award at the Belief IWP Awards, in June of that same year I won the Gold Award for «The Best Wedding Decor & Ambiance» at the WOW Awards Asia. These Excellence Awards celebrate innovation, evolution and unique initiatives. In 2014, the jury selected my «Winter Wonderland» project for the top prize at the Four Seasons in Beirut. I was also invited to India by The International Convention for Wedding Fraternity, ICWF, to sit on the jury in charge of selecting the best wedding creator in India.
In your opinion, what are the criteria for success? Time must be allowed to perform the work properly. The decision should be limited to the persons concerned. Once the choice made, one must stop searching. Ensure public relations even if the interest is not immediate. The relational aspect is very important. This cannot be learned, either you have it in you or you don’t.
Would you have liked to practice another profession? I might have liked to do theater, where you play the role of someone else. But I prefer to be myself and keep my honesty. Interview Conducted by Mireille Bridi Bouabjian