How To Plan An Over-The-Top Wedding

From crystallized veils to monogrammed napkins, trained turtle doves to bachelor-party paraphernalia, the list of wedding accessories are endless. And once you go down the nuptial rabbit hole (yes, we watched Say Yes To The Dress), you'll see the choices for each are as varied and numerous as brides-to-be.
Indeed, there's an entire industry supporting just one big day. And when you want that big day to get super-sized, there's only one man to turn to: Preston Bailey, the beloved wedding planner to the stars. Bailey is the man behind over-the-top ceremonies, including one Ms. Zeta Jones (turned Mrs. Douglas), and most recently, Internet entrepreneur Sean Parker. So, we trust him on his top 10 tips for an out-of-control love bash. Best part? We've got the pics to back them up so you can flip through for total wedding overload (husband not included).
Advertisement
1 of 11
Photo: Courtesy of Preston Bailey
An Enchanted Garden
"Create an Enchanted Garden where no one exists. To improve on nature, we rented hundreds of plants and added fresh-cut flowers in full bloom. Placing small lanterns in the existing trees and throughout the garden added just the right amount of magic to the setting. Finally, we placed a simple wooden aisle leading to the main focal point of the ceremony: a lavish flower-encrusted gazebo."
2 of 11
Photo: Courtesy of Preston Bailey
Start With A Statement
"Statement pieces do not need to be limited to giant floral arrangements. In fact, the escort card table is often the first opportunity for a show-stopping statement piece. We created this lampshade shaped piece using hanging crystal garlands and drop crystals crowned with an exuberant floral wreath."
Advertisement
3 of 11

– SPONSORED –

Sure, you’re throwing an over-the-top wedding, but that doesn’t mean you have to wear a massive sparkler. The Tiffany Harmony — a brilliant, round-cut diamond on a tapered platinum band — is pure, wear-forever class. Talk about a stunning proposal.

Tiffany Harmony™ Engagement Ring, prices available upon request, more information available at Tiffany.
4 of 11
Photo: Courtesy of Preston Bailey
An Elegant Entryway
"Nothing sets a tone for the evening like a dramatic entryway. We created this lavish arch at the top of the stairs of the Waldorf Astoria in order to provide a portal to what turned out to be an extraordinary event. It also provided guests with a hint of what to expect when they walked through to the other side."
5 of 11
Photo: Courtesy of Preston Bailey
Set The Stage
"If you intend to feature a live band, why not frame them in something eye-catching? Live performers are a natural focal point and they provide an excellent opportunity to create a major statement in a room. Fabulous prosceniums can be created using fabric, flowers, crystals, mirrors...the possibilities are endless."
6 of 11
Photo: Courtesy of Preston Bailey
Use Your Imagination
"Who said that a tree had to be green leaves or flowers on a big stick of wood? Brides looking for an alternative to flowers for their ceremony decor have glamorous options. For this particular ceremony, we created a forest of glistening trees with hanging crystal garlands and hanging dew drops of individual crystals. Talk about a sparkling evening!"
7 of 11
Photo: Courtesy of Preston Bailey
A Dreamy Dance Floor
"When it comes to using flowers in design, I always try to think outside of the vase and beyond the tabletop. We created this dance floor, inspired by a mosaic-tiled floor, under Plexiglas as a dramatic focal point. We have done similar treatments for bars and buffet tables, and they never fail to please."
Advertisement
8 of 11
Give Guests A Reason To Look Up!
"Not treating the ceiling for an event is like styling only the front parts of your hair and leaving the back totally flat! Think beyond the rented chandelier and consider statements like floral baskets dripping with flowers or a night-sky motif that gives a timeless glint to the evening. Ceilings are an often-neglected creative decor opportunity, but cannot only add visual interest, but also envelop guests in a feeling of total romance and thoughtfulness."
9 of 11
Photo: Courtesy of Preston Bailey
Create An Extravagant Centerpiece
"The quintessential symbol of an over-the-top event is an outrageous, opulent centerpiece. When creating a centerpiece, I think in terms of overall shape and form, which is more like sculpting with flowers than arranging flowers. This approach requires that the integration and decoration of the vase into the entire tablescape must be considered. This can be a lot of fun to create with a little thought and preparation."
10 of 11
Photo: Courtesy of Preston Bailey
Create A Table for The Senses
"A significant hallmark of an over-the-top wedding is the use of beautiful and luxurious table linens. Guests not only see linen, they also touch it. That sensual, tactile sensation can be more profound than one might think. The color and fabric options are unlimited and can be tailored to match the mood of any event."
11 of 11
Photo: Courtesy of Preston Bailey
Create A Never-Ending Experience
"The optimum, over-the-top event includes an after-party for those guests seeking to celebrate beyond the formal festivities. Create a sumptuous lounge with the look and feel of an exclusive club. It is important not to forget any of the key elements: comfortable lounge furniture, a dance floor, and interesting bars. And always be sure to add a statement piece! Or two. Or three..."
Advertisement