Wedding planners come, and wedding planners go.
And, arguably, few of them have the sense of urgency to succeed that Maureen Nono Skosana does.
She could, of course, afford to delegate more, not check texts at midnight and not follow up on queries almost instantly.
But that would be going against the grain for the Virgo.
When Moshe Ndiki thinks of the person to plan his beloved pet’s send-off ceremony, it’s Nono.
When Nandi Madida and husband Zakes Bantwini think of someone to pull off the perfect children’s birthday party for their little one, it’s Nono.
When the producers of The Queen or Showmax’s Somizi & Mohale: The Union want to pull of the biggest on-screen wedding scene of the year, again, it’s Nono . . . You get the picture.
Nono is running the events scene in SA.
But the East Rand-born entrepreneur who’s 45 this year is not one for resting on her laurels, especially after building a business and seeing it succeed to staggering heights right in the middle of Covid-19.
She officially launched her company in 2012, starting with just two people working for her in the early days to now 30 employees.
For 10 years, the former corporate lawyer has been dotting every I and crossing every T to ensure she is at the top of her game.
It’s, perhaps, because of this singular devotion to perfection that, for the events planner, failure is not an option.
For someone who runs a business whose betrothed clients can at best be pedantic and at worst downright demanding, being available 24/7 to assure and reassure is what Nono is building her brand on.
And this is why she’s a terrific communicator.
Within an instant, she’s responding to WhatsApp messages, answering emails, calling to follow up. It’s the kind of diligence and professionalism that makes Nono Events what it’s become.
It’s about to be another busy season for her when she chats to Drum about her career.
“Easter and spring time are always busy. I believe it might be because it’s warmer – encouraging clients to host parties, weddings and other celebratory events,” Maureen, known popularly as Nono, shares.
In addition to planning for the festive South African spring season, she’s recently been appointed a trustee of the Ferguson Foundation, which actor and producer Connie Ferguson launched officially this month and also “currently working on opening our own [Nono] events venue as well as branches in other provinces”.
The entrepreneur from Vosloorus started out as an events planner but soon expanded to equipment hire, which ensures she has oversight and control of the most important parts of the value chain in her industry.
Time is the real resource in her business, which is why she allows no room for failure. “For instance, you can outsource transport. But relying entirely on outsourcing makes time management difficult. As such, it is important to also have your own transport to manage time to and from events.”
The events planning whizz who’s an admitted attorney in the high court is not willing to divulge what miracles she can pull off for a wedding with a minimal budget.
But she emphasises she’s not just a planner for the big-budget events we see on TV.
“I honestly enjoy planning any event – whether big or small – as long as the client is open-minded and allows us to be creative,” says the Boksburg-born businesswoman.
There are so many issues to factor in, explains the ex-attorney who spent more than a decade working in the corporate field in various roles, including head of compliance in one of SA's major banks, before becoming her own boss.
“The cost depends on several things. For example, venue, date, number of guests and more,” she says when asked how much a couple saving for the wedding of their dreams should budget if they want a ceremony like that of Harriet Khoza and Hector Sebata’s on The Queen.
“It is not a straight-forward answer as a lot needs to be considered when determining the price. There are multiple variables such transport and seasons for certain flowers, amongst other costs.”
Like many pastors, doctors and lawyers might say, very few things about human behaviour are astonishing. And, as an events planner, no brief can ever shock her, Nono says.
“As my team always says, ‘Nono Events & Many More,’” is her response when Drum asks what, besides Moshe Ndiki’s pet's send-off, has been the most unexpected event she’s been asked to plan.
“What they mean is that we go beyond – no event is too small or too big. We always aim to leave our clients and their guests astonished.”
The limits of your creativity are the only limit, it seems, in this business.
So, blue-sky thinking, what would Nono Events’ dream occasion to plan be?
“At the top of my head, I would say a welcome-home event for Banyana Banyana. We are very proud them.”