Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat’s talented Wedding Coordinator Stephanie Hall was born in Johannesburg, where she attended the Rand Park High School in Randburg before moving to Cape Town with her family as a young woman.
In 2002 she started her hotel career in the Food and Beverage industry, first at the Protea Hotel Tyger Valley, where she was quickly promoted from waitress to Food and Beverage Manager. This was followed by a year as Food and Beverage Controller at the Victoria & Alfred Hotel in Cape Town, before she moved to Relais & Châteaux member Hunter’s Country House in Plettenberg Bay in 2005, where she progressed from Duty Manager to Assistant General Manager. It was during that time that she started to coordinate weddings and functions at the hotel’s own ‘chapel in the forest’, and fell in love with the bridal industry. Following a brief stint as Garden Lodge Manager at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve in 2008, Stephanie decided to return to Cape Town, and accepted a position as Assistant Food and Beverage Manager at the five-star Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in February 2009.
As much as she enjoyed her new position, Stephanie knew that weddings were her real passion. When the hotel’s previous Wedding Coordinator left she seized the opportunity and successfully applied for the position, resulting in her being appointed Wedding Coordinator in January 2011.
Stephanie now coordinates weddings at Bushmans Kloof, as well as sister property The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in the Cape Town. Her days are filled with site inspections, planning and pre-wedding meetings, Skype and phone calls and email enquiries. For big weddings at Bushmans Kloof she will be on site, travelling to the lodge the evening before, on the day she oversee every little detail, ensuring that everything is perfectly set up and on schedule, and that the bride and groom are calm and happy and she stays until the day after the wedding. Her most important tool on the day is her ‘emergency box’, which contains everything the bride and bridal party could possibly need, from makeup, hair pins and baby powder to cuff links, a sewing kit, Rescue Remedy and sticky tape. Her special tricks include sand paper for shoes that prove to be too slippery, chalk to hide unsightly marks on dresses, and lollipops to ‘bribe’ flower girls and page boys if necessary.
As wedding expert she says that bridal trends keep changing and evolving. ‘Unplugged weddings’ prove to be a big trend at the moment, whereby guests are asked not to upload photographs on social media before the bride and groom had a chance to add their professional pictures. In terms of bridal fashion, pink dresses in the form of blush, peach and pale pink are making a comeback, while garlands are a popular hair accessory. Romantic and unstructured flower arrangements, terrariums and submerged centre pieces feature amongst the current decoration trends.’ The most important thing to remember in Stephanie’s experience however is that, no matter what the trends, a wedding is always about showcasing the couple and their personal taste!
Stephanie explains that the role of a Wedding Coordinator is also that of a multi-tasker: ‘You need to focus on the details without losing sight of the people involved. You need to be in control of all aspects, and be available when needed - yet invisible at the same time! A Wedding Coordinator needs to be creative and empathetic and able to operate under pressure and within set parameters. I love that no two weddings are ever the same – at the end of the day it’s all about making dreams come true.’
She adds that ‘I love that I get to be a part of a couple’s special day - if they are happy and carefree on the most important day of their lives it makes me happy and illustrates a job well done.’