Queue “OH HAPPY DAY” from Sister Act.
Joelene Botha, the gorgeous lady behind Oh Happy Day, offers a wedding styling and design business. Services cover a variety of needs ranging from styling of engagement sessions to the administration and planning of your wedding.
Joelene is fairly new to the KwaZulu Natal wedding scene, although you would never know it. She works with great confidence and ease to bring your wedding vision or styled shoot to life. Joelene is as wonderful as Whoopi Goldberg’s character in the movie Sister Act, and the thing we love most about her is that she is a choc-a-holic just like us.
1. Tell us about your life – where you grew up, where you live now, your family, animals, hobbies and guilty pleasures.
I’m a born and bred Durban girl, although we moved to Zululand in the late 80’s and this is where my brother and I grew up. I have such fond memories of my childhood! Our summers were spent cruising the neighbourhood on our bikes, and soaking up the sun at our local beach Alkanstrand. I’ve never lived very far away from the beach, my dad and uncle were sailors and so, their passion for the ocean is also in my blood. Hobbies as a young girl included modelling and modern dancing (no sport!?) which kept me pretty busy as a teen, too. Now that I think about it, these extracurricular activities are where my love for coordination comes from. And while I’m admitting to my non-sporty background, I must confess that I also used to love taking part in pageants. I’ve been very lucky, my first title in the early 90’s came with a R90 000 educational bursary which paid for my education from Primary to Tertiary schooling. As a result I went to a Catholic girls’ convent school in Empangeni for my high school years (for my sins), and after graduating I went on to study psychology at Rhodes University, where I developed a strong dislike for cold weather and a taste for beer. It should come as no surprise that I now live at the coast with my husband Stef, in the small beach village of Umdloti. Waking up to the sound of the ocean every morning is a blessing I will never tire of. We’ve recently started SUPing, we bought our first stand up paddle board this month and can’t wait for Summer!
Admittedly, I do have one or two guilty pleasures…I am 100% addicted to chocolate, and I aim to sample every single one of the imported variety of Cadbury slabs that Spar now stocks, just because. On the days I find they have a new one at the counter, it feels just like my birthday! I get the same feeling in the chocolate section of any duty-free shop. Ha ha.
And also……. I’m a closet holiday fantasiser. What I mean by this, is that I am the person who nabs and covets the travel section of The Sunday Tribune before anyone else can get it. I am the weird person who walks into Flight Centres asking for pamphlets to-who-knows-where, so that I can go home to soak in the bath with a glass of red and plan my next holiday. It might be years before I take it, mind you, but that’s beside the point.
2. How did you get into the wedding industry?
It wasn’t by accident, I can promise you that! Oh Happy Day (which was named after the theme of my own wedding) is a calling that I put aside for many years before a life-changing, tragic incident caused me to realise that the time for action is now, and tomorrow is not always guaranteed. I’ve always loved eventing but my true passion lies in Wedding design and Styling, and it’s this passion that has brought Oh Happy Day to where it is today.
3. Why do you choose to work wedding events over the other types of eventing?
There is a real, simple joy that lies in creating life- lasting moments of happiness for others. I can’t explain it, except to say that it’s a profound joy, and I love what I do. I also believe that as a province, Kwazulu Natal has so much potential as a luxury wedding destination and we, as vendors, have so much to offer future brides. The level of talent with regards to vendors who work here and the wide variety of wedding venue options available, should make Kzn the obvious wedding destination choice to any bride. I feel very strongly about this.
4. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started your business?
I wish I had started my dream job earlier on in my career, but fear of the unknown held me back. If I can give some advice to anyone thinking about starting a creative business, it’s this: back yourself, value your contribution and believe in your abilities. The ‘fear’ is normal – so get past that as soon as you can and don’t wait until later, or tomorrow or ‘one day’ – start NOW, there really is no better time for it.
5. Name 5 wedding industry professionals in your area that you would recommend to your clients.
I’ve been blessed to work with the most creative and exceptional vendors with Oh Happy Day, that narrowing it down to just 5 professionals would be impossible.
Instead I will say this: each and every one of the vendors that I’ve had the good fortune to work with, only strengthens my opinion that the Kwa Zulu Natal Wedding Industry is made up of some serious talent! In saying that, as a Wedding Stylist and Event design business, Oh Happy Day works according to very high standards and the professionals that we endorse are the best in their fields! I’m so proud to be a part of an industry that is constantly evolving and is starting to set its own trends within the wedding industry, and I have the highest of hopes for us all going into wedding season.
6. Working with brides is not an easy job. What keeps you going?
To be honest, I have loved every bride that I’ve worked with (I’m touching wood as I type this) – and I would say it’s my passion to make them happy that keeps me going. If I ever happen to be hired by a tricky bride, I’ll just make sure she reads Hooray Weddings every week like I do, and refer her to some relevant Hooray articles, so she doesn’t turn into a bridezilla J
On a more serious note, I believe that any kind of job comes with its own set of trials and tribulations. When things get tough, I think it’s good idea to go for a long walk, have some quiet time or meet a friend for coffee to just take your mind off things for a little while. Failing that, champagne and chocolate always helps. Always.
Particularly the chocolate, and especially if it’s imported. Did someone say ‘D’aime’?
7. Do you have a mantra or favourer quote?
‘Do your best, and let God do the rest’.
This mantra has followed me throughout my life, and it may not be the most profound quote in the world, but there is a sense of comfort in knowing that one’s abilities and talents are God-given fruits that need to be made use of.
8. What is your average day like? Do you have a routine?
Every day for me is different, but on average my day will almost always begin before the sun has risen with a strong cup of coffee (brought to me in bed by Stef, designed to wake me up so we can go hit the gym and do SOME form of exercise). This is generally followed by a lot of moaning and grumbling but once the caffeine kicks in and my eyes are fully open, I’m good to go! I schedule a lot of Oh Happy Day’s creative consults and meetings after working hours in order to suit my brides, so it’s hard to explain what a ‘normal’ day would look like but I make time in every day for social media scheduling and my planning admin for each of my brides. There is also ALWAYS time for a catch up and a coffee with any one of my wedding industry friends, who are a delight to spend time with.
9. Any up coming trend forecasts?
The Oh Happy Day trends forecast: there will be less do-it-yourself and more ask-someone-else (namely, your wedding planner!)
Look out for feminine floral prints for bridesmaid dresses this Spring and loads of unplugged weddings in 2016. There will be a larger focus on themed bridal showers, as oppose to hens nights out (although both are fun) and I’m also crossing my fingers that the Pantone colour of next year will evolve from hues of green, because I see these being a huge trend as far as colour combinations go, for 2016.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page too, as we count down the days to our Oh Happy Day rebranding and the launch of our website and blog, yay!
10. Funniest wedding story? Or biggest fail?
A wedding story that makes me giggle every time I think about it, actually took place during the speeches at our own wedding. My father’s speech was incredible. Not really one for public speaking, he really blew us out of the water with his beautiful words and his prophetic messages for Stef and I. As is the tradition at weddings, my dad ended his touching speech with a toast, asking everyone to be upstanding and raise their glasses to the happy couple. The toast went as follows:
“To Joelene and……(blank face, turns to us at the main table)…….what’s your name again?”
I was flabbergasted. For a split stage-fright second, my dad forgot Stef’s name!
I think he literally just got caught up in his speech and his nerves may have got the better of him. Naturally, everyone found this hilarious (especially those who know my father well, as he has a propensity to get even mine and my mom’s names confused from time to time). When it was Stef’s turn to speak, he proposed a toast to thank our parents, the people who had made this day possible: “Wilna and Helgaard – and my new parents-in-law Jill and………sorry, who did you say you were?” It was quick and witty and I giggle every time I remember it.
11. Tell us what inspires you. Any websites, people, companies that you follow?
I follow loads of wedding blogs for inspiration! Locally my favorites include Southbound Bride, Lovilee, The Pretty Blog (all three of which have featured Oh Happy Day’s work this year) and most recently Hooray Weddings – there is an honesty and sense of humor in the articles which I appreciate, and I find each topic carried so much relevance to the brides of today. On an international platform, I am a huge fan of The Perfect Palette and Burnett’s Boards (for colour inspiration), Wedding Sparrow, which provides some great insight into weddings from a fine art perspective – I am a huge fan of this type of style of wedding and Style Me Pretty (which is my blog bible for everything from styling inspiration to holiday destinations!) I also love to browse the online pages of Rock n Roll Bride and Bespoke Bride, both blogs carry a voice that says ‘alternative is beautiful’ and I love that. They creatively push the same boundaries that Oh Happy Day can identify with.
In terms of people who inspire me: My husband is a constant source of inspiration to me: his work ethic and determination to succeed in his own business (coupled with his success) makes me believe that with tenacity and hard work, and coupled with a clear end-goal, anything can be achieved. I’m equally inspired by my friends in the wedding industry, who have been supportive of Oh Happy Day’s journey, and one person in particular, Nadia van der Mescht, who has walked the Oh Happy Day journey from it’s very first step.
Joelene, thank you for sharing these details about yourself and your life with us. We wait in anticipation for your new website – which we have no doubt will be as gorgeous as you are. To anyone who contacts Jo, you get a coffee on us if you manage to leave a recording of yourself singing “JOELENE” on her voice mail. If you are a Miley Cyrus fan, do yourself a favor and watch that video, it’s a beautiful version of the song.
Connect with Joelene here:
Website: coming soon
Email Address: email@example.com