Coterie Retreat 2017 – South Africa: Day 1 Recap

The Coterie Retreat, MunaLuchi’s annual three day conference for wedding and event professionals that service the multicultural market, is in full swing here in beautiful Johannesburg, South Africa – hosted in the luxurious Palazzo MonteCasino Hotel. A taste of Italy in the heart of South Africa, the award-winning Palazzo MonteCasino Hotel is considered by many to be the most beautiful and romantic hotel in South Africa. The resplendent complex grounds features numerous restaurants, plenty of shopping options, theatres, a bird garden, and multiple conference and event spaces.

Day one kicked off with opening statements, introduction to our very talented retreat speaker and moderator, Karli Harvey Raymond, and an inspirational speech by Johannesburg Mayor, Herman Mashaba. Mayor Mashaba spoke of his journey in overcoming an oppressive government, how to continue to find hope, his pride and love for South Africa and its people, as well as sharing his dream for the future of South Africa.

Event designer extraordinaire, Eddie Zaratsian’s speaker session titled The Courtship, The Marriage, The Divorce spoke to his experiences in the industry, coping with personal struggles and navigating difficult times, and how overcoming that adversity has contributed to shaping his present. Eddie also provided an inspiring hands-on floral demo during a breakout session, as well as signing copies of his book Custom Florals and Lifestyle.

MunaLuchi Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Jacqueline Nwobu’s speaker session focused on 7 top tips for Instagram success, and what’s hot in social media for 2018. Always a relevant topic in the age of communication technology, Retreat attendees were left with a wealth of information on modern business practices and how to get the most for you brand from social media.

Couture bridal and evening wear designer, Yemi Osunkoya of Kosibah, provided fascinating insight into the bridal design aspect of the wedding industry. Discussing his journey from early beginnings to becoming the renowned industry icon he is today, including his approach to design and how his creative talents help him in making his clients dreams a reality.

Wedding and event planner, Tiffany Chalk of Tiffany Chalk Events, led a speaker session on Planning for Success: Keys to Establish Successful Workflow Systems and Prepare for Growth. Tiffany’s segment provided Retreat attendees with the tools to streamline and fine-tune business practices, leading to more fruitful turn-around on business investments.

Breakout sessions included Photographer and Author Elizabeth Messina’s much anticipated photography session, in which she applied a wealth of knowledge and experience to the classroom environment. And, renowned international wedding planner and designer Joy Proctor led an inspiring styling workshop, providing retreat attendees with trade techniques backed by over four hundred weddings of expertise.

The first night evening was completed with a “From South Africa with Love” welcome cocktail party at the equestrian estate of Waterfall at Tintswalo. Retreat attendees enjoyed drinks and gourmet finger foods during performances by the Zulu Dance Troupe, and a bridal runaway fashion show featuring couture gowns from Yemi Osunkoya of Kosibah and Gert Johan Cotezee.

General Sessions:

Stage design: @splendidweddingco | Photography Team: @custobyro @danielwest_photography @luketannous

Welcome Party:

Planner/Designer: @precioustheplanner | venue + catering: @tintswaloatwaterfall | floral design: @maison.defleur.3 | wholesale flowers: @yesexclusiveflowers | liquor sponsor: @moetchandon | lighting & staging: Blackmotion | Furniture: Lounge Around | DJ: DJ Isaac | Zulu Dancers: Izinduku Zulu Dancers | Photography Team: @custobyro @danielwest_photography @luketannous | Video Production Team: @tristanbarrocks & @miltonlawrencephotography #coterieretreat17

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