As the third season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta comes to an end, we're all invited to watch as one of the newest castmates, model Cynthia Bailey, weds. So far, we've seen her and her fiance (now husband) Peter through their arguably awkward engagement and the financial woes that have affected their wedding. We sat down with Cynthia to get the details on her offbeat wedding style, how she stayed true to herself throughout the planning process, and what last minute trick she used to cut her budget. —Cari Wolfert
As a model, you've been wearing fabulous designs for years. How did you choose your dress?
I knew that I wanted something different and non-traditional—definitely not a white dress. I ended up with a platinum-colored gown custom made by New York designer Rubin Singer. The inspiration came from my wedding venue, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta. It's a really modern venue with huge dinosaur bone installations, so the unique feel of the dress made sense to me—although I can't take full credit. My fantastic stylist Kithe Brewster helped develop the vision and the final look was a collaboration between him, myself, and Rubin—it was Kithe's vision, Rubin made it happen, and I got final say.
On the show it seemed like you had a lot of people doubting your non-traditional wedding style. How did you manage to stay true to yourself?
It was easy—I mean, we're not a bunch of teenagers. I definitely know what I want and my castmates' opinions didn't matter to me. There is always going to be someone who isn't going to understand the dinosaurs and the silver dresses, but it doesn't matter. Looking at the wedding pictures now, it was exactly what I wanted.
Not too long before your wedding day, you and your now husband closed the restaurant that you owned together, so you had to make some last minute budget cutbacks. What did you end up doing to save?
We knew we had to make some cutbacks, but there were also certain things that I didn't want to compromise on. We ended up saving a lot of money by only serving wine, Champagne, and a signature cocktail—rum punch in honor of Peter's Jamaican heritage—at the reception. Alcohol was one of the most expensive areas of our budget, so it was the easiest way for us to scale down at the last minute.
What was the most extravagant element of your wedding?
I absolutely needed to work with Tony Conway of A Legendary Event to plan and design my wedding. He does all of Tyler Perry's events as well as a lot of high profile celebrity weddings. He was a real treat to work with, and he did a great job of pulling off a fabulous wedding within our budget.
You have an 11-year-old daughter, Noelle. How did you include her in the wedding?
She was my flower girl. It's been just us for a long time, and I wanted the wedding to be as much about me as it was about her—we're a package deal. She surprised us with an amazing speech at the reception. All night, people kept saying that it was the best part of the wedding. We really made her presence known and she felt like it was her wedding, too.
If you could do it all over again would you change anything?
I would do it absolutely the same. Maybe it wouldn't be a TV wedding for everyone to see and rip apart, but I still loved everything about it.
The season finale of Real Housewives of Atlanta airs this Sunday at 10PM EST on Bravo.