The Wedding Doctor: Annie Lee

Photographed by Ben Ritter.
When a love between two A-listers makes it to engagement status, Annie Lee is probably getting a call. As the proprietor of her own event-planning company, Daughter of Design, Lee is a bona-fide wedding expert. And, having also produced major cultural affairs for names like the Tribeca Film Festival, GenArt Film Festival, and the Academy Awards, she’s in the business of making her weddings look more like an intimately sexy Fashion Week after-party rather than, say, Easter dinner.
Not only does Lee’s aesthetics pedigree come unmatched (her mother is an interior designer, hence her company name), she also has a super-high E.Q. — that’s Emotional Intelligence, folks. This makes her a highly sought-after wedding planner and, in turn, a de facto wedding therapist.
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Lee’s life is one rom-com after another. She’s seen it all: from real-life bridezillas to couples that break up days before the wedding. And, Lee is the one who takes the cake credit for making sure everyone else walks down the aisle to eternal bliss. Below, she provides insight on that nerve-wracking, in-between stage just before a couple is ready to take things to the next level.
Photographed by Ben Ritter.
Call me Dr. Wedding
“I feel like 50% of my job is soothing nerves. Clients confide in me and tell me everything. I have all this information in my head, and then I have to manage a situation knowing that, for instance, this person’s sister is a diva and is going to try to steal the show. I’m armed with this intel so that when I go into a meeting, I can diffuse the situation and be the mediator.”
The difference between love and like
“I don’t doubt that all couples love each other. Love is easy. You almost get accustomed to someone, and then you love him or her. It’s much harder to like someone. Like is linked to respect. In a relationship, you have to love and like each other. That’s why it’s easy being mean to someone you love.”
Planning a wedding isn’t as it seems in the movies
“There’s a reason why in fairytales, they go from the [first] kiss straight to the wedding scene, skipping the part where they plan the wedding — it’s tough on everyone. Ariel would be saying to Eric, ‘You KNOW my dad can’t come to the wedding if it’s on land. We have to pick a venue that works for everyone.’”
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What a modern-day couple looks like
“Grooms have been so much more interested in the wedding [than before]. They are more involved in the idea of making it a partnership. It’s not ‘this is your role and this is mine.’ The grooms of the millennial generation are very involved and aren’t afraid to talk about flowers. And, the average age of [getting married] in metropolitan cities is going up. Urbanites are more business-oriented; they want to cultivate their individual lives before partnering up.”
When it’s better to call off the wedding
“A lot of people get engaged because they think it’s time, but sometimes it’s still too soon. Maybe they’ve been dating since college and nothing’s wrong with the relationship, but they love each other like brother and sister. And, sometimes the relationship is terribly abusive, but…people are afraid of change. So, they go through with the wedding, and I know they are going to divorce soon after. Since every other couple gets divorced, unfortunately, it isn’t as shocking; a broken engagement is scandal, though.”
The key to the perfect wedding
“The tone of the wedding really comes from the couple. If they are icy and don’t emanate love, the whole wedding feels like that. If they are looking at each other with goo-goo eyes, then the whole wedding feels warm and intimate. The wedding is a reflection of the couple. Words make the wedding personal. It’s why I believe in personal vows, sharing the small inner moments of every day that make people feel like they know you. Guests should leave feeling like they are closer to the couple after the wedding. Even if I’ve been with a couple for months, when I listen to the speeches or their vows, I get to know them on a different level, and I think that’s really beautiful. That is what makes a wedding special.”
Photographed by Ben Ritter.
Alex Bittar bracelet, Model's own dress, pumps, earrings and rings.
Photographed by Ben Ritter; Styled by Sasha Kelly; Makeup by Ashleigh Ciucci; Hair by Adam Maclay.
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