Adele Bennett is a wedding organiser (sorry, her business card says Personalised Wedding Consultant). She has done over 2,000 weddings, and she works exclusively with one luxury hotel, namely One&Only Cape Town. It is always so much better to be allied to a hotel rather than freelance, she tells the gal. That way, couples asking advice and planning their wedding know that she knows, minutely, what the hotel can and cannot do. Let us find out how it all works.
First thing for an engaged couple to do is choose a date and then the venue. Many prefer a resort and actually the 131-room One&Only Cape Town might be city centre but it is also a resort, an urban resort. Sail into its canals, winding round two amazing man-made islands, with lots of trees around. The spa is on one island, villas on the other. All the bedrooms look down on the ‘resort’ side.
Adele Bennett offers a basic package that includes two nights for the bride – the night before the Big Day, to share her room with a couple of friends or her mother, and the night after, for the Happy Couple. The package includes the reception venue, and planning and consultancy, and on the day after, a two-hour water cruise for up to 35 people. Add to this a first anniversary dinner at the hotel, with Champagne. Food and drinks are extra to the package. Food might come from Nobu, one of the hotel’s two celebrity-chef restaurants. I personally adore Nobu’s fish and chips, which would make great finger-food for weddings…
The other restaurant, Reuben’s, is run by Franschhoek-based Reuben Riffel, the biggest food name in the Cape area (there, I recommend his gnocchi, colourful and oh so tasty). And then the Happy Couple has to choose drinks. Sometimes, says Head Sommelier Luvo Ntezo, they choose Champagne for everyone, or merely Champagne for the top table and sparkling for the rest of the party. Sometimes it is a cash bar. Adele Bennett always says if this is the case it should be mentioned on the printed invitations, to avoid confrontation between a guest who has driven 200 miles and then has to pay for his own beer… if this should happen, the poor groom, who is probably today paying for the wedding with his new wife, is embarrassed, and says OK, make it open-bar, and he is stuck for thousands more rand.
The wedding cake is extra, but the supplier, in Adele Bennett’s case, is always on hand in case anything goes wrong – once he had to provide an exact substitute, four-tier, at 90 minutes’ notice. This young lady has crisis management as her second name. One couple, despite having had ballroom dancing lessons (which she can arrange, as well as speech giving and the like) were dancing the first dance and he trod on her dress, the back of which came off dramatically. No problem, the head housekeeper at this marvellous hotel is also a trained tailor and 20 minutes later no-one would have known. A wedding for 200? No problem – just as it is no problem to arrange seating for 25 for afternoon tea, in the hotel’s lounge.
Typically, the bride has arranged to have her hair and face done on the day, and she may well relax in the hotel’s ESPA, which is absolutely gorgeous. Adele Bennett has, of course, recommended the best professional photographer around – unlike a business meeting, at a wedding, and YOUR wedding, not one single thing can go wrong. It is now or never. Her wedding package does, by the way, include a silver-inscribed photo frame, with her compliments, to hold a memento of this Big Day. People fly in from all over the world, or at least Angola, Ghana, Nigeria and the UK, to be married in this luxury hotel, and after the event many stay friends with Adele Bennett, who of course has been on hand throughout the evening.