Big fat weddings all the rage

2014-09-19 00:00

BIG fat weddings have taken over as couples demand Hollywood-style glitz that sees grooms import carpets and brides spend more than R200 000 on flower arrangements.

Wedding planners say South Africans are willing to fork out up to R90 million to please guests on their special day.

Last month Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba turned the Durban Botanical Gardens into an A-list wedding when he said “I do” to businesswoman Noma Mngoma.

At the weekend Nkandla was abuzz when larger-than-life businessman Khulubuse Zuma opted for a more traditional wedding, slaughtering more than 20 cows for 5 000 guests.

But whether a western or traditional Zulu wedding, event co-ordinators admit that wedding planning has become increasingly difficult.

They are faced with high expectations and ridiculous requests. One bride wanted real flamingos and a groom demanded window frames at Umhlanga’s luxurious Oyster Box Hotel be stripped and painted white.

And, that’s not all. One bride asked for 1 000 decorative butterflies to be suspended from the ceiling, while another asked that her sister be removed from the guest list.

Durban wedding planner extraordinaire Paul Mann, who owns Functions for Africa in Glenwood, said some couples had high expectations.

Mann said: “Huge clear marquees with outside entertainment cocktail lounges, beautiful exquisite linen and mass fresh flower arrangements that can cost more than R200 000, they want it all and they are willing to pay big money for it.”

Security checkpoints, access ushers as well as interactive entertainment are the order of the day, he said.

Mann took President Jacob Zuma’s son, Edward, to court for failing to pay R1,5 million. Zuma had paid a R1 million deposit for his R2,5 million wedding.

Mann’s advice for those planning their nuptials was to keep it simple, elegant and classy.

“Fresh flowers are huge this season. Soft French lace for the brides and tailor-made suits are in for grooms,” said Mann.

Durban-born fashion designer and event co-ordinator Gavin Rajah said guests today expect the best and his high-profile clients have the money to indulge them.

“The most expensive wedding I have ever planned was over R90 million,” Rajah said, declining to reveal the identity of the client.

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