Your Own Hollywood Affair


from the Premiere issue of Long Island Bride & Groom magazine
written by Caroline Kinneberg

Maybe you don’t have a wedding budget like Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ or a guest list crowded with VIPs, and you’re probably more worried about remembering to pick up your invitations than the press getting ahold of them — but that doesn’t mean your wedding can’t be a sensation.

Increase its “wow” factor with these tips and tricks from Porfirio Figueroa, event director of Great Peformance (whose orchestrations include former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani’s 2003 wedding at the Gracie Mansion, Vogue Magazine’s Fashion Rocks event at the Time Warner Center last fall, and other New York society galas), and Lisa Gorjestani of Details Event Planning in California (who has worked with Halle Berry, Dustin Hoffman’s daughter, and other big name celebrities).

surprise them

First, try wowing guests the old-fashioned way. Figueroa suggests going simple at the beginning of the event when guests are sipping cocktails, leading them to expect more of the same. Then go all out in the last place people see, typically the rooms where they’ll be dancing and dining., which leaves them elated and energized. He recalls one Scottish wedding where he hid the bride behind a group of bagpipe players, and tshe emerged to lead the astonished wedding guests to the area where the ceremony was going to take place. “You can achieve the same reaction in less extravagant ways: with florals, lighting, color, music, beautiful food, or delicious drinks,” says Figueroa.


The main focus remains, of course, on your wedding dress, but use your ceremony as an excuse to extend your wardrobe. Celebrities often do a change – or two – of dress: Katie Holmes is just one recent example. According to Gorjestani’s recommendations, wear your wedding dress until the cake cutting, and then switch into an evening gown for the post-party. Simply changing your outfits’ colors can transform the night’s vibe. For a more ostentatious alteration, slip on rented glamorous jewelry that will dazzle your guests. Some jewelers who sell engagement rings and wedding bands will also loan rings, necklaces, bracelets, and more. Don’t let a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like that pass you by.


For a post-party, relocate your guests to another venue to add depth to your event. It could be a nightclub or restaurant with a sectioned-off bar area or private room. For something convenient and private, reserve the penthouse suite of a hotel where many of your guests are staying. To create a truly unforgettable event, move the entire party to a new place from start to finish – in other words, plan a destination wedding. Nicole Kidman brought husband Keith Urban back home to Australia. Hollywood heavyweights Hugh Jackman and Naomi Watts did the same. A dual citizenship isn’t required to recreate this; you can host your storybook wedding at a locale that’s abroad or in the tropics. Whether you visit Italy or the U.S. Virgin Islands, your walk down the aisle will leave an impression on guests. Consider a location that will make everyone comfortable, and take advantage of airline and hotel package deals to ease costs. Your guests will surely appreciate the excuse for a vacation.

gifts for your guests

According to Gorjestani, couples with a lot of money don’t necessarily give wedding favors. Often, they make a donation to a charity or the arts in their guests names instead. Present the donation – you can omit the amount – with a scroll wrapped in a bow at eah place setting. This way, your contribution will double as a gift. Or, try treating dessert as a gift. Figueroa once created a dessert spread filled with tall floral sprays, clear glass plates, and votives. The desserts were all miniatures that guests could carry home in cellophane bags with ties.

As for bridal party gifts, Gorjestani suggests planning a relaxing spa day and giving your attendants super-soft, monogrammed bathrobes. Bridesmaids’ kits filled with useful items like personalized water bottles, sewing kits, and luxurious mini lotions are another popular giveaway. Jewelry might make their eyes sparkle, but other gifts can be more thoughtful.


Although stars have access to some of the world’s most creative minds to help them set their ceremonies apart from the masses’, you too can produce an unforgettable event. For one source of inspiration, Figueroa suggests keeping pictures of ideas that you like from magazines and the internet – categorizing them by table decor, flowers, wedding dresses, etc. – and keeping them in a spiral notebook. Then, as you move toward the big day, removing items that won’t with with your budget or theme. Another way to spark your imagination is changing your environment to something out of the ordinary: go to a new museum, visit the botanical gardens, or spontaneously take a weekend vacation. This can help you come up with unique ideas that mean something to you. Finally, finding unusual ways to incorporate a theme can add creative energy to your wedding. A single color, for example, can be woven into linens, napkins, invitations, place cards, and other accents. The ways to wow your guests are endless.

You’re planning the biggest party of your life, so feel free to pull out all the stops.

On your wedding day, you and your groom are the celebrities.

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