in the spotlight - christina holt
Christina Holt has unrivalled talent within the wedding industry and she is renowned for creating some of the most luxurious weddings on the African continent. She is an industry innovator and her attention to detail and her passion for weddings is evident in the incredible events that she and her team from Wedding Concepts put together.
Internationally acclaimed, Christina recently won the coveted ACE Award as the ‘Best Planner in Africa’. The award honours excellence and recognises formidable achievements in the global luxury wedding industry. We spoke to Christina about what it takes to build a global brand.
How did you get involved in the wedding industry and when?
I started Wedding Concepts in 2004 when I left Europe to start a new life in South Africa and saw a niche in the market. At that time wedding planning was still a novelty and South Africa had just started becoming popular for destination weddings – so there was a huge opportunity to connect my experience and ambition for service excellence with the amazing local creativity and an international outlook.
I have a professional background in hospitality & events and my personal passion has always been creating really personal experiences.
That’s why to this day my team and I we never speak of offering any kind of “packages” but take a really customized approach to each of our celebrations. We basically hand-craft exclusive memories and have become known for that. My mantra is: “Luxury is personal”.
You’ve built a global brand. That takes hard work and determination. What advice do you give to others in the industry looking to achieve success?
It’s really important to keep on open global mindset and think outside the local market.
I have travelled to almost 20 countries in the last six years to network, speak, learn & share with my peers and the wedding elite from around the world which has shaped me and my business so much. I am a passionate ambassador when it comes to telling the world about our world-class wedding industry here in South Africa.
It’s big investment to attend but has given us great exposure opened many professional connections across the globe which I am very proud of.
You have to invest in yourself and your business to evolve, innovate and grow.
My other advice is to collaborate and seek partnerships - even with your competition. If we open our minds to working together - our industry will get stronger. Shared success is powerful!
Is South Africa still seen as a favourite destination for international brides?
Absolutely! Destination weddings worldwide are experiencing a massive surge and SA is already popular, has so much to offer and will grow in popularity even further. International clients simply love the beauty & diversity of South Africa.
What’s the biggest cause of pre-wedding stress?
Hands-down - the wedding budget and unrealistic expectations! But once the financial understanding is clear we find the planning & design becomes enjoyable and exciting for our clients.
What are your 2020 wedding trend predictions?
It’s all about “creating meaning” around one’s special celebration with a focus on customized & highly personal experiences – including spending time with one’s guests.
We find the focus less just about flamboyant designs but more about individual interpretations of the idea of luxury. It’s about being personal! This can be found in the smallest creative touches or extend as far as a fully tailored 4-day wedding weekend.
On the design front: Black has a strong comeback – as well as bold, vibrant colours.
Simultaneously greenery and a massed natural foliage continue to be a strong favourite.
Ceiling architecture and large creative suspensions is a trend here to stay too.
We also see a rise in commitment to sustainability and a desire to “give back” – brands with meaningful backstories are received well.
Photographers: Hewitt Wright, Tyme, ZaraZoo, Tasha Seccombe and Yolande Marx.
So what are you waiting for?