Wedding season is almost upon us, writes Omeshnie Naidoo, who chatted to an expert about the latest trends.
Sibaya Casino has won best marquee at the Vodacom Durban July for three consecutive years thanks to déco 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 conveyer belts and rose gold gardens with upside down bouquets creating canopies of flowers and you will begin to understand the extend to which people go to impress their guests and surely make memories that will last a lifetime.
For Chetty it's a dream come true, to live her passion while making the wildest 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 décor for her daughter's 16th birthday I was afraid. I'd 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 shop overseas regularly and has a fully loaded warehouse to house her goods. There is still a thrifty streak and seeing how hired items get 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 cities 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. Thing carefully about seating - you want your guests to have a good time. One who know who is sitting with whom, 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 incredibly popular without adding any bulk to your décor scheme.
These come in such a wide variety and can suit any budget. Crystal and flowers are always glam but if you're going for fresh flowers - ensure your florist times them correctly because all buds should be blooming on the day.
Centrepieces don't have to sit on tables either. We 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.
4. 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.
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 décor 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 table clothes.
To add a special touch to your occasion - do a tea table or dessert island.
One client requested the gorgeous desserts her family made, be put on a rotating conveyer belt - which was a definite talking point. Others like dessert carousel wheels on the table or caravans. If you can imagine it, it's possible.