Oh Happy Day indeed
Joelene Botha opens the door to her home studio with an effervescent “hello!” Still smiling from Saturday’s wedding, Joelene – or ‘Jojo’ as she’s affectionately known to her friends – is as bubbly as the champers she pops with her brides.
Recently, the celebration has been all hers, having just won South Africa’s prestigious Top Vendor Award for the Top Wedding Planner category. If you’re in the midst of co-coordinating a wedding yourself, Jo is the woman you want to be around. In fact, you’ll find yourself wishing she were an official member of your bride tribe. Need a pair of scissors? Ask Jo. Need a band-aid? Ask Jo. Need five thousand peonies imported from Italy in five days? Ask Jo. Her bespoke wedding creations have won the hearts of brides, grooms and grateful mothers alike – and you could say this award is the icing on Jo’s chic wedding cake.
Held annually in Cape Town, the Top Vendor Wedding Awards honours South Africa’s most trusted wedding professionals who go above and beyond to make dream days come true. From breathtaking bridal designs to stylish stationery, key companies are recognised for their achievements from the past year, and inspired to shine in the months ahead. Winners are voted for by the public and this year’s awards received an overwhelming response. Hosted by the Forum Embassay Hill, the event took place in a dazzling tent where South Africa’s biggest names showcased their work. Oh Happy Day was proud to be presented an award alongside industry peers including Zavion Kotze Events Company, Blomstories and Mooi Troues.
“I am delighted to win this award,” says Jo. “I love making people happy and seeing the joy on my clients’ faces is incredibly rewarding. For Oh Happy Day, this award means that our work is respected and appreciated by both clients and industry professionals.”
Countless happy brides who voted for Jo would agree. She is dedicated to creating inspired celebrations that perfectly reflect her couples’ personalities. With over 6000 Instagram followers, its plain to see that Oh Happy Day truly is a fan favourite.
Whether she’s sharing trending table-scapes or encouraging quotes, Jo’s sweet and supportive personality shines through every post. Having also been a bridesmaid nine times, she’s one wedding away from starring in her own rom-com!
As a lifelong romantic, Jo’s attention to detail goes far beyond the visual. Together with her team, she’ll take you on a sensory journey featuring your favourite foods, flowers, scents and songs. Perhaps you’ve always dreamt of saying “I do” under a canopy of orchids while your guests tuck into pistachio ice-cream. Jo will make it so – without a hitch or glitch!
As her beloved cat, Felix, settles into her lap, Jo enthuses, “I want my couples to have the time of their lives on their wedding day which is why I go all-out to ensure their day is a celebration of their love, vision and personalities. By taking the time to get to know my couples on a deeper level, my team and I are able to tailor a bespoke celebration that’s memorable and meaningful. Sure, their favourite colours are important but I also want to know their hopes for the future. All these beautiful insights enable us to create one-of-a-kind experiences”
To do so, Jo artfully blends trends with tradition to bring her clients’ visions to life. “If my bride collects classic books and her other half favours contemporary design, we’ll tastefully style those elements together. For Oh Happy Day, the magic’s in the mix.”
Above all, Jo wants her brides to enjoy their wedding day without a moment of worry. “The greatest gift I can offer my clients is a stress-free experience. I’m here for them as a friend and professional although some days I feel like a psychologist, stylist and maid-of-honour all in one!
So why hire a wedding planner when Pinterest is popping with DIYs? Jo’s eyes light up as she breaks it down for brides-to-be. “As seasoned professionals, we planners have developed long-standing relationships with a variety of vendors, and our supplier knowledge is extensive. From custom cake-toppers to show-stopping flower walls, we know exactly who to call – and we know who to trust to deliver according to our high standards. For newly-engaged brides, it can incredibly time-consuming and frustrating to fire off emails to vendors while everyday life is charging on, which is where we happily step in.”
Oh Happy Day’s true value is deeply felt on the big day itself. “When my brides wake up on the morning of their wedding, I don’t want them worrying about whether the macarons have arrived on time. Rather, I want them to focus on their nearest and dearest – and the man they’re about to marry.”
As Jo reflects on her newly-won accolade, it’s clear that this small-town girl from Zululand has found her true-calling. “There is an emotional aspect to weddings that I find so fulfilling. To think that we play such an integral role in this momentous milestone of a couple’s lives is so humbling, and such an honour.”
Having founded Oh Happy Day in 2014, Jo can be proud of how swiftly her business has blossomed. Once just Jo and her clipboard, she’s now the creative director to a team of four. “We recently expanded our portfolio and welcomed a floral stylist to our team. I’m excited to see a gradual progression from foliage-focused weddings to celebrations that incorporate lots and lots of colourful blooms.”
Not one to rest on her laurels, Jo is extending her services to couples abroad. “In the coming months, I’d love to curate luxury weddings set against our amazing bushveld.” This bubbly blonde is also making a name for herself in the corporate eventing world, having recently designed and executed an exclusive celebration for over six hundred and fifty guests. “At Oh Happy Day, we’re constantly challenging ourselves to push the boundaries creatively. From the invite to the cocktails, every detail must feel fresh, fun and totally insta-worthy.”
If you’d love Jo and her dream team to make your wedding wishes come true, do reach out quickly because Oh Happy Day only take twelve bookings per annum. “Our focus is on quality, not quantity, and I feel that our booking process embodies this ethos,” says Jo.
Oh Happy Day owner Joelene Botha shared her top wedding do’s and don’ts here!
Get It Magazine (Ballito/Umhlanga) – November 2017