Sibaya Casino has won best marquee at the Vodacom Durban July for three consecutive years, thanks to decor pro Chantal Chetty of Gallery Lifestyle Decor.

The tone is always sophisticated with understated elegance.

However, the biggest event on the city’s social calendar is easily usurped by some of the weddings Chetty and her team put on.

Think wedding cakes descending from the ceiling, sushi-train-style desserts on rotating conveyor belts and rose gold gardens with upside-down bouquets creating canopies of flowers and you will begin to understand the extent to which people go to impress their guests and make memories that will last a lifetime.

For Chetty it’s a dream come true to live her passion while making the dreams of many a bride come true.

“I come from very humble beginnings. When I lived in Chatsworth I sold clothes door to door. People probably remember me with the clothes I lugged around in bin bags.

“In 2010 when my sister asked me to do the decor for her daughter’s 16th birthday I was afraid. I didn’t own a thing and did the party with make-shift and borrowed items. A neighbour’s sari and an old broomstick were the components of one drape,” she laughs.

In truth, the talent was always there and that moment gave her the courage to pursue her passion.

“When my small business was identified by the casino, I was sent to a trade fair abroad and suddenly a world of possibilities dawned on me.”

Now she shops overseas regularly and has a fully loaded warehouse to house her goods.

After seeing hired items damaged, Chetty has begun to make her own wrought iron centre-pieces which work well for floral displays.

Her wedding clients are all high end with functions held at the city’s finest establishments. Being a regular at trade fairs, Chetty is at the cutting edge of the latest trends.

Here are her ideas for the couple set to go all out:


Tables and chairs are essential for your big day, but they don’t have to be boring. Think carefully about seating – you want your guests to have a good time. Plan for tables that suit each little gathering. Tables come in C-shapes, triangles and can even snake around the room – so play around with shapes.


Chairs with chair covers and tie-backs can take up a lot of visual space in your room, so think outside the box. If you must have them, make sure they’re pretty. Ghost chairs (clear perspex) remain popular without adding any bulk to your decor scheme.

Centre pieces

These come in such a wide variety and can suit any budget. Crystal and flowers are always glamorous, but if you’re going for fresh flowers – ensure your florist times them right – all buds should be blooming on the day.

Centrepieces don’t have to sit on tables – her company recently did rectangular spring-style arrangements hung upside-down over rectangular tables. It surely made the guests feel as though they were sitting in a garden.

They don’t have to be flowers either – we used inexpensive white and translucent umbrellas for one wedding – with the right lighting it’s ethereal.

Plastic flowers

Yes we said it – plastic. And no one would ever know. There are various qualities of plastic flowers with some that absolutely mimic the real deal without any of the fuss or cost.

These look lovely on the ceiling in the centre of the room. The norm is a chandelier at the centre of your drapes – but who wants to follow the norm – opt for cascading little blossoms instead.

Flower walls on the stage – think large rays of orchids – also offer dramatic effect.

The trick with plastic is to have them close enough to see – but far away enough, not to be able to touch.


Drapes add a certain joie de vivre to the occasion. They don’t have to be white. Think ombre or a cheerful colour. For an elegant look, incorporate a few rose gold drapes into your white or cream decor scheme and reference it with rose gold centrepieces or cutlery – which, by the way, demand crystal glasses.


A three-course meal is par for the course at a wedding. Opt for the best cutlery and crockery you can afford while playing around with tablecloths. To add a special touch, do a tea table or dessert island. One client requested the gorgeous desserts that her family made be put on a rotating conveyor belt. It was a definite talking point. Others like dessert carousel wheels on the table or caravans. If you can imagine it, it’s possible.