Friday, January 17, 2014

Plan Your Perfect Day with Preston Bailey

Globally celebrated for his ability to transform raw, ordinary spaces into lush, theatrical environments, Preston Bailey is a visionary with an exceptional talent for translating dreams into awe-inspiring reality. 
With a client list that includes celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jennifer Hudson, and Joan Rivers, as well as royal families, top ranking CEOs and world class athletes, Bailey is sought out to create never-seen-before designs that serve as backdrops for some of the most memorable moments in his clients’ lives. 
He is the author of five bestselling books: Fantasy Weddings, Design for Entertaining, Inspirations, Celebrations and Flowers, and his sixth, Dear Preston: Doing Business With Our Hearts, was published last year. He is currently collaborating with Weddingstar on an exciting new tabletop collection to be launched this year. 
Soon to visit Australia for the inaugural Plan Your Perfect Day Showcase, The Bride’s Diary® team were delighted to have recently had the opportunity to chat with Preston and ask him a few of the questions uppermost in our minds:

BD: Could you tell us a little about your transformation from fashion model to internationally sought after event and wedding designer? 

PB: I was working as an underemployed print model in the early eighties, and to be frank, I needed a job. I mentioned this to my good friend, the interior designer Vicente Wolf and, in a serendipitous moment of inspiration, he said, "Preston, have you ever thought of becoming a florist?" He suggested that I work for a few of his clients, providing weekly arrangements in their homes until I found a full-time job. Not long after I accepted his offer, I realized that this was more than "a job", this was my passion. Three years later, one my clients mentioned her daughter was getting married and asked me to do the wedding. I said, "Sure, why not?" That attitude of, "Sure, why not?" has gotten me to where I am today, albeit many years and many mistakes later.

BD: The before and after shots of some of the venues you have transformed (visit are nothing short of sensational. Where do you find your inspiration?

PB: I was born and raised in the tropical country of Panama, surrounded by some of the most gorgeous designs created by Mother Nature. I was deeply influenced by this as a child and remain so today, as a lot of my work and inspiration comes from the beauty of her designs. I have always wanted to take the grandeur of nature and bring it indoors, and I am told that my clients really enjoy this aspect of my designs. Mother Nature is my greatest source of inspiration.

BD: A couple have their first meeting with you and your team to discuss their wedding day vision. Could you give us a quick ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse of the logistics required to turn that initial vision into reality?

PB: The process is a very inclusive one and the main focus begins and remains on the couple and their dreams and vision. This is why it is important not just to greet them, but to spend a few hours really getting to know them. I ask about their likes and dislikes and even more provocative questions such as, "OK, what do you hate?"

Once I have a good sense of my clients, the fun begins. I then meet with my design team and we create a storyboard of images and ideas. We begin the rendering and design process. I then meet with my flower team and give them very specific directions. We all work together to prepare a presentation. This is where we show the client exactly what they are getting through renderings and actual set-ups with tables and settings. In addition, we create two more alternate concepts for clients to choose from. I do this because I feel it is never appropriate to assume that I completely understand the vision of my clients. The presentation is usually a fun, dynamic process and my clients usually find something they want to incorporate in all three designs.

BD: We would imagine that some couples come to you with very few, or possibly no ideas as to how they would like their special day styled. Given a creative carte blanche, how do you begin the process of crafting a design concept that you think will suit the couple?

PB: In all the years of been in business, I never met a couple who was not clear as to what they wanted. They might not be able to articulate it, but that's my job: to help them. I must always ask the right questions. By the end, I tend to have a clear understanding.

BD: To what degree do the characteristics of each venue impact upon your designs?

PB: One of the best parts of my job is transforming any venue chosen by clients into the wedding of their dreams. I never tire of seeing the look of surprise on the face of my clients and their guests. It can be a challenge at times, but it is also very exciting to see a vision come to life.

BD: Many of your fabulous designs are particularly striking due to the imaginative use of colour. What do you take into consideration when you select a colour palette?

PB: I love using palettes that are more monochromatic as I think they bring a certain visual cohesiveness to the space, giving it more depth and serenity. I am not a big fan of contrasting colours, but if the clients want that, I do it.

BD: Clearly you’re passionate about flowers: from divine bridal bouquets and stunning centrepieces, to sensational floral sculptures that all but defy the imagination. Where did you learn your craft?

PB: I learned my craft by doing. Unfortunately, I never had any formal training as a florist or as a designer. You'd be surprised what one can learn by just putting oneself in a situation and trying. And when you are a florist, you are working with flowers, which are perfection, and you really cannot go wrong. 

BD: How important do you believe detail is in creating that all important wedding day ‘wow’ factor?

PB: A lot of well-orchestrated details are the secret to making dramatic statement. With that said, I feel it is essential not to obsess too much. Following your instinct and using good old common sense is the best way to create that "wow" factor.

BD: Could you tell us about one or two of the biggest wedding day design challenges you’ve faced during your career?

PB: I once built an event pavilion in the desert for a royal wedding with a guest list of five thousand. Another time, I was asked to create a wedding in a national park on the coast of California, a beautiful place that came with a large list of restrictions.

BD: And finally, what top tip would you offer couples as they begin to pull their wedding day theme and styling ideas together?

PB: Dear couples, this is your big day! Make certain that you are clear with your vision and then hire the right vendors, ones you have researched and can trust. Then, on the day of your wedding, allow these professionals to do their job. Hand it over to them completely and enjoy your time with one another and family and friends. I have seen way too many couples spend their wedding day obsessing and micromanaging instead of having a good time. 

Preston Bailey will be appearing at the inaugural Plan Your Perfect Day showcase, proudly sponsored by The Bride's Diary®, on Wednesday 12 February, 2014 at Dockside Sydney on the Balcony Level at Cockle Bay Wharf in the city. 

Visit Plan Your Perfect Day website or the Facebook page for full details.

You can purchase your tickets here:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Golden Globes Best Dressed

Maria Menounos turned heads on the red carpet wearing a pretty hot pink dress by Max Azria Atelier. This full length gown features cut-outs and a train and is perfectly styled with a ponytail and light make-up...

Maria Menounos is The Bride's Diary Team's 'best dressed' pick for this year's Golden Globes.

Have a lovely day!… Anna

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Plan Your Perfect Day with Preston Bailey


Proudly sponsored by The Bride's Diary, the inaugural Plan Your Perfect Day showcase will feature Preston Bailey, the internationally renowned New York-based event and wedding designer whose clients include Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jennifer Hudson and Joan Rivers.

Bailey is famous for his ability to completely transform generic spaces into opulent, theatrical environments, translating his clients’ fantasies into breathtaking reality.

He is the author of five bestselling books: Design for EntertainingFantasy WeddingsInspirationsCelebrations and Flowers. His most recent book is Dear Preston: Doing Business With Our Hearts.

A former fashion model, Bailey is a highly sought after public speaker and regularly appears on The Oprah Winfrey ShowEntertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Extra, CBS’s The Early Show, and NBC’s Today Show. He is often featured in publications including Town & Country, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Elle Décor, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times.

Preston will share the secrets to his global success with Australian bridal suppliers and consumers at this premier event.

EVENT DATE: Wednesday 12 February 2014

VENUE: Dockside Sydney, Balcony Level, Cockle Bay Wharf, Sydney NSW

Ticket Categories:
5:00pm to 10:00pm – Bridal Showcase, including champagne, canapés, presentation and book signing by Preston Bailey
7:00pm to 10:00pm – Bridal Showcase, including champagne, canapés, book signing by Preston Bailey (no presentation)

Books can be purchased on the night and tickets can be purchased via Ticketek

Visit Plan Your Perfect Day