FROM the outside, the red brick warehouse hidden away in a corner of Dalmarnock doesn’t seem like much. Step inside, though, and you’ve walked into an Aladdin's Cave full of gold and silver candelabra, lavish flowers, sparkling table decor and enough sequins to make you squint.

This is the glamorous heart of Asian wedding planning in Glasgow, of which the staff have become the stars of new BBC Scotland reality series “Getting Hitched Asian Style,” set to give “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” a run for its money.

Hassan Anwar is the managing director of Saffron Events, one of the UK’s most established and respected Asian event management and catering companies.

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Hassan Anwar, managing director of Saffron Events in Dalmarnock

The 41-year-old, from Crookston, runs a tight ship, despite having organised around 300 weddings in 2018 - his busiest year yet in 23 years of wedding planning.

Asian weddings are known to rumble on for days and the series explores the four main events involved in a Pakistani-Muslim wedding: the mehndi, an amusing and colourful night involving intricate henna designs, the nikah, which is the official Islamic wedding ceremony and the wedding, which is a bride’s reception hosted by the bride’s family.

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Some of the wedding venues decorated by Hassan and his team (Saffron Events)

The final event - which we get to see come to life in the first episode of the three-part series - is the walima, a more relaxed bash hosted by the groom’s side.

Budgets for Asian weddings can top £100,000 nowadays, but how did a once relatively modest occasion evolve into the lavish and arguably obscene events we see today?

Asian weddings have changed very fast and dramatically because of the Internet and social media,” Hassan explains, “which influence a lot of people’s decisions. People pick up different ideas from other people’s weddings and events in other parts of the world and then they want that for themselves. It’s an aspiration thing and the Internet has a lot to play, making people more educated, savvy and know what they want. Because of this, people think out the box and are able to put their own personal touch on the wedding to make it unique.”

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Thinking outside the box is definitely what Hassan’s clients do well. The biggest wedding he has planned in his career involved a dizzying 1,500 guests. With clients more cost-savvy now, he describes how over-the-top ideas from couples are never far.

“The craziest idea we’ve had was when a couple wanted 6,000 flowers hung from the ceiling two years ago,” Hassan remembers, amused. “In big spaces like conference rooms, it softens the space, but these things are expensive - particularly with fresh flowers - so we then have to look at the next best thing, how we can achieve it, how it can be set up. We would then have to work with other professionals who can work at heights.”

In the first episode, we get to see a wedding being put together in the city’s Crowne Plaza as Hassan and his staff scramble to hang hundreds of flowers from the ceiling, albeit fake ones.

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He explains: “Fresh flowers are obscene and not everyone can afford it, so we then look at artificial flowers, which look just as real. For the sake of a few hours, they want it to look good, obviously.”

What is it about weddings that have Asian families going over-the top?

“Pakistanis are not that extravagant in their day-to-day lives, but a wedding is when they’ll either be welcoming a new addition to the family or giving their daughter away, so they’ll spend the most,” says Hassan.

“With £100,000 budgets, you have to take everything into consideration, including clothes and jewellery, which are a big expense. Clients travel to Pakistan and India to get their shopping done. Remember, Asian weddings can last for days as well. Some families will put marquees up at home and host pre-wedding events where the whole family comes together. It does add up to quite a lot of money, but the Bank of Mum and Dad can help out. Though, these days, professional couples themselves are very much in control and can pay everything themselves. Many live with their parents so they have that additional income saved up,” he adds.

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Viewers will get to see a Falkirk mum planning a joint walima for her two sons in episode one as Hassan’s clients work on ways to cut down costs.

Hassan says: “Some will realise it’s too extravagant and they’ll decide to put money into a house instead. But, nowadays, clients will cut down on the number of events they have and just roll it all into one day to cut down on costs.”

Working with demanding clients and large families comes with its tribulations. Hassan says: “When you’re working with two families trying to create one event, sometimes it gels really well and other times it’s the opposite and you get friction. Usually, one family will sit back and let the other take control. If both families have different views, they can clash. I’ve had that before and it does get tricky. We’ve witnessed barnies happening right in front of us and it can get awkward, but it’s just about stepping in and mediating. In the end, they’re always smiling.”

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It’s been his busiest year on record and, as Asian weddings continue to evolve, what’s next for Hassan and his team?

“We’re seeing people shift away from having weddings in Scotland and opting for destination weddings. Several clients have gone out to Turkey, Dubai, South of France and Italy. That’s a new, up-and-coming trend, to take all the guests out on a holiday and have all your events out there. The weather has a big part to play as well. We’re working on some at the moment.”

What are Hassan’s hopes for another series? “We’ll see from the feedback and what everyone’s got to say after the third episode airs and then we’ll take it from there.”

Catch “Getting Hitched Asian Style” on BBC Scotland at 8pm on Thursday, March 7.

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