The Coterie Retreat, MunaLuchi’s annual three-day conference for wedding and event professionals that service the multicultural market, hosted for 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa at the luxurious Palazzo MonteCasino Hotel, kicked-off day three with some opening words from Retreat Moderator and Speaker Karli Harvey Raymond before introducing the first speaker of the day, Christina Holt of premier South Africa wedding planning company – Wedding Concepts. Having coordinated and managed over four hundred highly successful weddings, Christina brings many years of experience to her speaker presentation – giving retreat attendees a highly informative perspective on not only the South African wedding industry, but the multicultural wedding industry in general.
Following Christina was an open discussion among attendees, led by Jacqueline Nwobu, MunaLuchi Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, and with a focus on collaboration between vendors within the wedding industries. The discussion was rich with intellectual substance, eye-opening, inspiring, informative, and left attendees wishing for more dedicated time. Discussion topics were free-flowing and open-ended, covering best business practices, pricing, building better relationships with co-vendors, photography needs and expectations, ego and humility, and much more. Definitely a panel discussion worth expanding in future Coterie Retreats to come.
Elite wedding photographer, Nana Annan presented her lecture titled “Legally Booked, Sound Legal Basics for Your Business.” Nana brings a very experienced law background to the wedding and events industry, and spoke to the absolute necessity of having-at the least-a basic understanding of the legalities of the business world – including professional verbiage, and the contract structure.
A panel discussion followed next on “Getting Published,” led by MunaLuchi Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief Jacqueline Nwobu, photographer Christine Meintjes, and Eric Bornman of Ballyhoo Media and Nubian Bride magazine. Moderator, Karli Harvey Raymond led the Q & A. The discussion gave Retreat attendees an inside perspective on the magazine submission and review process; what a magazine may be looking for at any given time, and how submitters can increase the chances of having their event accepted and featured.
MunaLuchi Co-Founder and President, Chike Nwobu, presented his speaker session on, “The Cycles of Business: Knowing When It’s Time to Harvest.” Chike gave a passionate and heartfelt lecture, speaking to the personal experiences of co-founding and running the MunaLuchi company, summed up in a multi -cycle business model depicting the ups & downs of investment, and knowing when to harvest the benefits.
Retreat attendees were treated to a lunch at the MonteCasino Bird Garden, an enchanting garden park featuring a variety of exotic birds, mammals, and reptiles from around the world. Lunch was followed by the last session of the Retreat, a highly anticipated floral demo by designer Eddie Zaratsian. Guided by Eddie, Retreat attendees received hands-on instruction in designing their own beautiful floral display.
The finale of the 2017 Coterie Retreat – South Africa was the “Africa on the Rocks” gala dinner. Featured at Turbine Hall, a former power plant turned luxurious modern industrial chic event space with multiple unique levels. Retreat attendees began the evening on level one welcomed by signature drinks and performances by the African Rhythm Production, an eleven-piece alternative band from Krugersdorp with a fusion sound of soul, African, tribal, house and Jazz music. From there the party moved down to level two for hors d’oeuvres and conversation in the lounge, before heading down to the final setting, level three, for dinner and dancing. The décor featured gorgeous sculptures of floral designs encased in blocks of ice, multiple floral displays including a stunning floral hoop swing, and flower petal path guiding attendees to their seats. Dinner consisted of a wine pairing menu featuring such delicacies as watermelon carpaccio with biltong walnut terrine, ostrich tartare, hanged amazi and rocket salad for starters, a main course option of flaming rosemary seared impala, creamed cauliflower “ant’s nests,” tail end roasted beets, and rooibos aspic, and dessert options including lavender malva pudding and meringue tarts, planted carrot cake and fudge “soil” with milktart rocks, and amarula honeycomb and crystallized florals.
Retreat attendees danced the rest of the night away, sharing moments together in one of the numerous photography backdrops, bringing to an end an absolutely unforgettable Coterie Retreat in the heart of South Africa. Stay tuned for the location of the 2018 Coterie Retreat - soon to be released!
Planners/Designers: @yesevents.info & @theforumweddings | Venue + Lighting: @turbinehall | Catering: @theforumweddings | Wine Sponsor: @creationwines | Flowers: @yesexclusiveflowers @tambuziroses | Floral ice design: @yesexclusiveflowers | Floral ice sculptures: @iceartza | Floral Swing: @maison.defleur.3 | Decor Rentals: @ninirichirentals | Menus: @momental | Candles: @cloverleafcandles | Live Entertainment: @africanrhythm | Photography Team: @custobyro @danielwest_photography @luketannous | Video Production Team: @tristanbarrocks & @miltonlawrencephotography #coterieretreat17
Eddie Zaratsian Floral Class Credits: