THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST...

By Otto de Jager

The dictionary suggests the following terms to mean “earnest” – solemn, staid, humourless, and other adjectives nobody wants in a celebration. It also, however, says “resulting from or showing sincere and intense conviction” – and that is precisely what you’re looking for when choosing someone to create an exceptional event.

When I meet a client, my focus is on getting to know them – their personality, likes and dislikes, values and, in the case of weddings, how they want their combined character traits to shine through on a day where friends, family colleagues and more will witness their joy. My aim is to highlight every remarkable thing about the couple so all in attendance remember some, if not most, of what they see, hear, taste and feel.

This is why I travel extensively, around Africa, Europe and the rest of the world. It’s not to see what is “trending” out there, but to seek out the places and things that enable me to create bespoke celebrations that have not been seen before, and will not happen again. It’s the types of foods that inspire me to put an African touch to; decor that doesn’t overpower the room, but highlights the venue.

Inspiration doesn’t always come from expensive, biggest, brightest... it is often the way that fabric hangs that makes it a perfect choice for dressing a wall or table; or the platter on which certain foods are served that actually enhance the taste.

None of this happens by accident. It takes earnest seeking and a mind open to using things in ways they may not have been designed for that enables the creation of events tailored to the personalities of a bride and groom, or the culture of a company.

The inimitable Coco Chanel, still a style icon 47 years after her passing, famously said:  “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

The same, I believe, goes for style and unique creativity. Anybody can dress a room to make it look fantastic, but to create a memorable event requires an earnest devotion to blending colours, flowers, candles, light and furnishings in a way that makes each separate item an experience when put together.