Natasha Salameh is the creative genius behind Cameleon MGT, a Lebanon-based wedding planning company. Known for her inspirational ideas and attention to detail, in two short years Natasha has planned many memorable weddings around the Middle East. Recently, we chatted with her for an insight into the very chaotic but extremely fun world of wedding planning.
What is the concept behind it Cameleon MGT?
Cameleon MGT was launched in 2012, at a time when the Lebanese market was quite saturated by event planners. However, we identified that it desperately needed a wedding planner with a more American influenced style. The concept behind it was to merge the simplistic yet chic American style with the lavish Middle East extravaganza.
What are the services you provide?
Cameleon MGT provides the newly engaged couple with full-planning services from the minute they set a date, till the last guest leaves their wedding reception. We help them select a venue, pick a theme & wedding stationery, choose their vendors, decide on a food menu and of course select fun entertainment for the night.
What about couple who may not necessarily need full-service planning, but would only need your help in some aspects of the planning process?
At Cameleon MGT, we have created different packages for different types of couples:
- All-inclusive package: perfect for the couple who needs us every step of the way.
- Partial Planning: The bride and groom have already done some of the work themselves but prefer to pass on the torch to us to continue the planning process and finalize the details.
- Day-of-Wedding Coordination: The bride and groom have hired all of the vendors and have planned their wedding on their own. Now, the stressful part… Who will take care of the setup the day of the wedding? Here is where Cameleon MGT comes in. We handle all the details so that your efforts and hard work come together cohesively. You can relax while we do the stressful part.
- Stylist package: This package is for the couple that only needs us to create a theme or concept for them, while they take care of the planning process. With the help of our designers, we can brainstorm, create a mood board for the bride and groom to get them on the right track. We can even draw the entire wedding in 3D for them to visualize their big day!
How does the entire planning process work from the idea till the actual day?
First, we set up a meeting with our couples to hear their love story and their idea of a perfect wedding and depending on the package they choose, we start our planning process. We usually do intensive research for a few days until we come up with a concept. If the couple loves it, that's when production begins. We book vendors and suppliers and ask them to create samples matching our mood boards. The day of the wedding, we leave the bride and groom to relax and get ready while we orchestrate between suppliers. We use the detailed schedule that we had created as a guideline to setting up and having everything ready on time for the guests’ arrival.
Describe to us the frenzy in the last few hours before a wedding?
You'll never know what the last few hours before a wedding are like unless you are at the venue experiencing them. However, to put it lightly, I can only compare it to a hazardous construction site. Everyone knows what they're supposed to do thanks to previously handed out timelines and guidelines but you still fear stumbling and tripping on flower buckets, table-tops or cables. You might even stumble and fall upon a guitar, but no one will really care if you're okay, just as long as the guitar is completely safe!
Where do you get your inspiration to plan these fabulous weddings?
Our number one inspiration is the couples themselves. We get inspired by their love stories, the way they met and how they fell in love. We try to get to know them enough to understand what they do and don't like. It is then that we focus on research and allow everything around us to inspire us, be it a good movie scene, lovely Pinterest accounts and all sorts of wedding blogs.
Tell us about one memorable wedding event that you have planned?
The most memorable wedding I can think of is the first wedding we ever planned because it was the first time that I saw complete awe in the couple's faces when they walked in the venue and saw what the Cameleon team had planned from scratch. We were so nervous and it was a challenge but it turned out to be a beautiful event that launched our career and if I were to go back in time I wouldn't do anything differently.
What are some of the challenges you have faced while running the business?
Getting creative on a budget is one of the most challenging aspect that we have faced, however, working on such tight budget weddings have allowed us to dig deep into our creative well and the result was some of our best work!
Can you predict a certain wedding trend that most couples will ask for in 2014?
Anything can create a trend, from the newest blockbuster movie to the royal wedding. Last year, the Great Gatsby took over the wedding industry. This year, who knows? Stay on the lookout for new movies and celebrity weddings (hint: Kim Kardashian & Kanye West’s wedding is expected to be BIG and launch a definite trend).
What 5 tips would you like to share with a couple planning their wedding?
- Stick to the basics: To all brides out there…your wedding day is not a time for you to try new hairstyles and makeup looks. Don’t take that risk and stick to your usual, comfortable self.
- Start working on your guest list ASAP: Most couples keep this part to the very end but this is a mistake. You need to understand how much effort and drama goes into compiling a guest list, and even worse, putting together the seating chart!
- Don’t overdo the DIY: We get it. You want that effortlessly chic look at your wedding without breaking the bank, so you undertake craft projects yourself. But the question is, when to stop and hand over the project to the professionals? A little DIY in the favors or guest books can go a long way in styling your wedding but there is a thin line between shabby chic and shabby cheap!
- Take time to relax: Wedding Planning can take its toll on you. You should put the breaks on wedding talk for a minute and enjoy yourselves. Take time off to go out with your friends and spend time with your families.
- Don’t get caught up in “perfection”: Although you’re aiming for a perfect night where everything is timed to the second, you need to remember that your wedding is a party and if small things go wrong, it isn’t the end of the world because once the night is over, you get to be married to one another. This is the real joy of weddings!
For more information about Cameleon MGT, visit www.cameleonmgt.com
– Saira Malik
Images courtesy of Cameleon MGT