Photo: Sarah Donaldson
1. Your celebration should have an iconic statement.
A "wow" moment that makes people go, "Oh, shit, that's cool!" when they walk into the room. It can be a back wall with 800 votives on it or a flowerscape in the center of the room that's the size of a Smart car.
2. But don't go crazy.
It's too much to have flowers at every pew, and a giant chuppah covered with flowers, and a flower wall with your monogram, and a crystal chandelier. If the room could go, "Whoa," it would.
3. Carnations are underrated.
They have a bad reputation; people think they're tired and overused. But I love piles of them in an arrangement that's so tight, you can't see the stems. Or in big balls clustered in the grass like art.
4. Pick a color scheme you look beautiful in.
Think about the makeup and clothes you gravitate toward. Those hues will probably work best in your wedding palette.
5. Focus on what I call the "jewelry" of the table.
If you're getting married at a hotel or ballroom, use the site-provided plates, then rent amazing chargers or crystal water goblets, or display beautiful printed dinner menus. The table should feel layered and curated.
6. People want to hang out at the bar.
I create moody, pretty lighting by setting accent lamps on the corners of the counter. I'd rather spend $60 to rent a great-looking lamp than $600 on flowers.
7. Cute isn't everything.
Just because you love the idea of an old typewriter for the guest book doesn't mean guests want to wait in line to type out a message to you. It's adorable in theory, looks darling in a photo, and is hideous in practice.
8. A flash tattoo bar is super fun for a reception.
We did one for a pre-wedding beach party. Everyone had a blast. People were drunk and putting gold-leaf tattoos on their foreheads. The next morning, the guests must've been like, "What drag queen did I make out with?"
9. Sparklers are illegal in some states.
If you're in a natural setting, it's gorgeous to toss lavender and bay leaves or other herbs that represent love and fidelity. If you want bubbles, rent a bubble machine. When you hand out bubble solution, drunk guys splash it at the bride and groom's backs as they pass.
10. If in doubt, choose something timeless.
When you're 70 years old and you look at, say, an engraved wedding invitation, you'll think, "Gosh, that was a beautiful night." But if it has crazy designs all over it, you might think, "Good God, what was I thinking?" There's something to be said for elegance.