The Coterie Retreat, MunaLuchi’s annual three-day conference for wedding and event professionals that service the multicultural market, hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa at the luxurious Palazzo MonteCasino Hotel, kicked-off day two with some opening words from Retreat Moderator and Speaker Karli Harvey Raymond before introducing the first speaker of the day, CEO of South African Tourism – Sisa Ntshona. Sisa spoke to Africa as the next tourism frontier of the world, citing Africa’s seemingly unlimited resources, gorgeous landscapes, diverse ecosystems and wildlife, and many rich, unique cultures. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, fine dining, history, romance, or an event, wedding, and honeymoon destination – Africa has it all and so much more.
Liene Stevens of Think Splendid spoke next with a lecture on connecting to the millennial generation for weddings and events. Liene Stevens is the founder and president of Think Splendid, an author, speaker, and behavioral psychologist. Think Splendid provides wedding industry businesses with the tools and knowledge to better build their brands through sound business practices, and to more successfully connect with and develop clientele.
Renowned wedding photographer, Chip Dizard (pronounced “Diz-Hard”), of Chip Dizard Weddings, spoke about the seven must have items on your website that will turn into a lead generating machine. Chip’s tips were invaluably useful, and quite clever, steps that any type of business can take in order to get the most of every aspect of their website – from the home page to the error page, and everything in-between.
Elite, men’s high-fashion designer, Miguel Wilson of Atlanta, Georgia spoke about his journey to becoming one of the most sought-after designers in the world. With the majority of focus within the wedding industry being on the bride, Miguel saw a major need, and opportunity, to shine some spotlight on the groom – after all, it’s his day too. Working directly with his clientele, Miguel quickly became known for producing unforgettable high-quality, custom designed suites, attracting the attention of everyone from the average groom to celebrities.
Nadia Johnson of Studio 82 Events & Design lectured on “The Trial, The Testimony, The Tribe,” speaking to not just the hardships of the industry but of the trials and tribulations of her own life and how her peers of the wedding industry not only form a network of business opportunity but also a community of support. In a moving display of solidarity, other Retreat attendees also shared their own difficulties in life and business, offering emotional support to one another – creating new friendships and strengthening those already in place.
The main event of the evening, and one of the most highly anticipated of the Retreat, was the presentation of keynote speaker, Preston Bailey. Named one of the best designers in the world by Vogue Magazine, Preston Bailey is considered by many to be designer royalty in the wedding and events industry. Since opening his design studio in 1980, Preston’s designs have quickly made him a pillar of the industry with a vast range of clientele, including celebrities and royal families, all spanning the entire globe. Having authored seven books, many of them on the bestsellers list, Preston’s vast knowledge of the craft makes him an authority figure and source of great inspiration.
Retreat attendees were delighted with his very informative lecture on the wedding and events industry, some of his achievement highlights, and the mistakes he’s made along the way – helping to shape the designer he is today.
The Preston Bailey lecture took place outdoors at the Cradle of Humankind, a world heritage site containing fossil-bearing caves that preserved the stages of human evolution over the past four-million years. Retreat attendees were transported, via safari rovers, to a beautiful canopied event stage surrounded by trees dating back a thousand years.
Following the lecture, and to complete the evening, Retreat attendees were shuttled to the Cradle of Humankind Boutique Hotel for a night of drinks, fine-dining, and dancing, in an all-white-attire party – hosted by the Splendid Wedding Company.
Planner/Designer: @splendidweddingco | Floral Design: @splendidweddingco | venue + catering: @cradleboutiquehotel | AV & Sound: @Prolightingza | Stationery: @Momental | Furniture rentals: @uniqqconcepts | Tent: @mzanzitents | Liquor sponsor: @moetchandon | Photography Team: @custobyro @danielwestphotography @luketannous | Video Production Team: @tristanbarrocks & @miltonlawrencephotography #coterieretreat17