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Yifat Oren

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I'm A Celebrity Wedding Planner, Get Me Out Of Here

Posted: 12/28/2011 4:11 am

Sometimes the thing you're known for is not at all how you imagine yourself.

In my case, being described as a "celebrity" wedding planner always leaves me bemused. I'm certainly not a celebrity, and though some of my clients have achieved fame, most go out of their way to remove themselves from the limelight. I would gladly name drop, but I find it to be a big bore, especially in Los Angeles, where so many deem themselves a "celebrity" of sorts, even wedding planners. If you really want to know who my famous clients are, I am more than sure you can easily find that out through Google and a myriad of search engines and blogs.

For my part, I prefer to view myself as a seasoned professional, providing impeccable service to the world's most discerning clientele. I pride myself in the team caliber I have built, the creativity of our design and our ability to execute couture celebrations. To earn a top spot in my field, I have overcome many challenges over the nearly 15 years I have been in this business. And during this time, I cannot think of one moment when celebrity mongering came into play. My goal is to do work that inspires me, not aggressively hunt down a celebrity clientele, which turns out is not so uncommon in my field of work.

As a descriptor, the word "celebrity" can cause plenty of excitement, but its over-use renders the term about as meaningful and specific as the word "supergreat." Look up "wedding planner" in any state and you'll get lists of thousands of "celebrity" wedding planners. Anyone who has ever read an issue of US Weekly, it seems, can adopt the moniker and claim they can deliver Hollywood magic to an Omaha bride. This usually involves heavy doses of sparkle, shiny fabrics, and complicated up-dos.

Likewise, television programs dedicated to weddings tell stories of women who want to be like their favorite "star" on their big day, or worse, morph into divas or bridezillas who feel entitled to devastate their family's finances in service of their "dream wedding." I am mystified by the idea of spending money you don't have on a wedding just to keep up with people you've never actually met.

I think the constant media coverage of Hollywood is a huge disservice to our sense of self. We compare our lives to manufactured, professionally styled images of people and events, not real people. Just like those angular, pore-less models you see in magazines who have been air brushed, so too are the reporting of celebrity weddings worked over by professionals. You can read all about the gorgeous items featured in Kim Kardashian's wedding, but chances are, those were paid sponsorships.

Perhaps that is what I object to the most, the idea of a wedding as a product commercial or illusion-fueled fantasy. I understand how the economics work - celebrities beget press coverage and if your bracelet/watch/car/wedding dress is wrapped around the celebrity, your bracelet/watch/car/wedding dress is going to become more sought after. Having been behind the scenes, might I suggest that much of the frenzy surrounding celebrity weddings is a fabrication and trying to emulate it is an exercise in futility?

I remember vividly the day of Kevin Costner and his bride Christine's wedding at their ranch in Aspen, Colorado. I was busy running around with my team putting out the usual fires, and calming a few frayed nerves. I was so consumed with my work on the ranch that I wasn't really aware of the media frenzy that the wedding was causing in this small mountain town. It was not until I was getting ready to line up the wedding party that I looked up at the hillside overlooking the property and my mouth nearly dropped open to see it covered with photographers and many many long lenses. And I thought to myself, what is it these people are trying to capture? What story are they trying to tell? Having witnessed celebrity nuptials several times since that day, I can attest to the following; there is no special story, celebrity weddings are like all other weddings, they have snafus, annoying family members, bouquets that need to be fixed, toasts you could have lived a lifetime without. It's a wedding, that's it, no more nor less. If you are still vested in fairytales, may I suggest the Brothers Grimm, they were my favorite. When I was eight.

Hollywood doesn't hold a monopoly on magic or creativity or perfection. Authentic, magical moments happen when people express who they really are at their weddings. It happens when a child interrupts the ceremony to scream that they love the bride, making everyone laugh. Sometimes it happens when no one is watching, and the father of the groom hugs his son for the first time in years. Weddings, no matter how lavish, are intimate and personal and ought to be low on show and high on warmth. I have no interest in weddings that serve to imitate someone else's life. What I am passionate about is celebrating the real life of my clients and would rather be known for my lack of illusions than my celebrity roster.

 
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