You’ve always dreamed of walking the red carpet. Then, one gorgeous day, you realized you could roll it out at your wedding. Here’s how to bring buckets of It Girl glamour to a one-of-a-kind reception.
HOLLYWOOD-STYLE WEDDINGS COVER A LOT OF GROUND. So if you’re planning one, you might be envisioning last year’s Oscars and the best-dressed goddesses who stole the show. Or you might be aiming for Old Hollywood, with its ultra-chic Art Deco echos, sinuous Packards and bottomless flutes of champagne.
Either way, your guests are sure to leave bedazzled by the limelight.
Let’s start with the request the honour of your presence business. Invitations with art deco embellishments and fonts fit the bill perfectly. So do ultra-crisp black and white ones.
Need a more whimsical option? Try custom-printed event tickets. Or if you want to go way over the top, yet short of sending a singing telegram: enclose a single pack of microwave popcorn with your invite, and tuck them into shiny black gift boxes or even a film reel canister (with a bit of twinkly star confetti).
A Star is Born
(Or, What to Wear to Your Own Hollywood Wedding)
No matter your taste in gowns, you can still look like your personal shopper haunts Rodeo Drive.
Drawn to Scarlett O’Hara epic-sized ballgowns? Brilliant!
Willing to flaunt your assets in a slinky mermaid silhouette paired with sparkling chandelier earrings? How decadently thirties!
Splurge: indulge your inner Diva, and reserve one of those 40K dripping-with-diamonds necklaces for pennies on the dollar from an online bridal bling rental agency. After all, this isn’t the day for fakes.
Or perhaps you’re a fan of sleek lines. Pair a streamlined strapless, goddess column or an empire waist with a sparkly brooch. Add a long string of pearls (or two or three), and you’re Deco fabulous.
As for bridesmaids — black tea-length cocktail gowns are knockouts (try to get some bling and styling detail, like a rhinestone buckle). Or, dress your ladies in pleated Marilyn-and-the-subway style skirts. Nudge the girls toward
open-toed strappy sandals to show off their scarlet pedicures — extra points for rhinestone trim on the footwear —
and you’ll have an entourage that’s red hot.
And for the men? Subtly pinstriped tuxes are irresistible. But any classic combo of black or charcoal, white or crimson is bound to impress. Take a long look at that most classic of combos — black bowties and pleated tuxedo shirts.
“What Would Rachel Zoe Do?”
When planning your hair, recall that Old Hollywood coifs are unbeatable. And if your crowning glory’s merely shoulder-length, rejoice … you’ve got the glamour girl look covered. Dress up your tresses in smoky temptress styles like finger waves or marcel waves, croquignole curls or ringlets, and add high gloss — with the help of a practiced pro.
Then, splurge on a makeup artist who’ll go on site for you and the girls, to soak up that red-carpet treatment. Opt for Screen Siren red for your nails and lips, if you’re blessed with a bee-stung pout. Dramatically arched eyebrows and even a dabbed-on beauty mark are pitch-perfect touches.
Setting the Stage
Whether old or new, Hollywood calls for silver and gold, black and scarlet … or those scrumptious ’30s shades of cream and gold, ivory and gray.
So, the ideal venue: deco. Think old movie theaters, or ballrooms boasting sweeping curves, gold leaf or red velvet curtains.
Then, add high-impact blooms like white callas or classic roses (think cream, white and sultry reds like Rouge or Black Magic) — they bring the era to life in a snap.
So does glitz in the form of golden vases and plate chargers, and chic chivari chairs. Mini Oscar trophies look stunningly luxe under full floral displays.
Vamp it up with painterly dabs of marabou feathers, or dramatic sweeps of ostrich plumes in eiffel vases. And glam up focal points like cake tables: scatter glass diamonds over satin linen that’s ruched and pooled (like a starlet’s satin sheets!).
Don’t forget, event lighting’s practically a must for this event. If budget allows, bring in potted palm trees and dramatic uplights. Luxurious ferns evoke a glam past with minimal effort.
“This Way, Sir.”
How to get guests to their tables in style? Lean personalized clapboards up against your florals, or float Hollywood street signs on table card holders.
Or if you (or a friend) has mad Photoshop skills, take a page from other creatives: paste your beautiful mugs into classic movie scenes, and display the results on elegant tabletop easels. Or, simply print and frame small repros of old-school black and white movie countown numbers. Classic!
Catering to the Jet Set
The perfect Hollywood wedding combines whimsy and glam. That’s why cocktail hour is the perfect time to treat your guests to a sultry lounge (bring in leather couches and loveseats), signature martinis and fresh-cut cigars. Or, win them over with concession candy and aromatic theater treats like soft pretzels, popcorn or nachos.
While your guests are peacing out at the bar, escape with your party to get a few West Coast posterity shots: the guys in tough shades, striking Reservoir Dog poses in matching Chuck Taylors; the gals voguing Charlie’s Angels style.
Then when you’ve returned for dinner, toast the room and your love with delicate bubbly — but avoid those morning-after champagne hangovers by swiftly flipping to chocolate martinis, cosmos, or another signature spin on a chic drink. Stumped for a glam take on candy buffets? Try a gourmet popcorn bar, complete with classic red-and-striped containers for your guests to nosh from.
The Show Must Go On!
Brides who dream of Hollywood weddings can be a theatrical bunch. So for you, maybe, it’s not enough to show up as the glitterati or to treat your guests to a five-star blowout. Maybe it’s also about the entrance, the exit. And in between? A jaw-dropping taste of the stage.
Limos are lovely, but what about gliding from points A to B in a classic Cadillac, circa Marlene Dietrich and Joan Crawford? Or a Studebaker Champion, DeSoto, or even a 1930’s Packward convertible, like the one Jean Harlow treasured? Splurge: rent a Phantom.
“Who Tipped Off the ‘Razzi?”
Exclusive shindigs depend on the velvet ropes. So usher your guests through the VIP cords and over the red carpet, where a crowd of eager snappers (your photographer and assistant, or some clever sound & event lighting) lights up the room.
Then, announce your wedding party to the strains of a swelling theme song — all dripping fabulousness in their supersized, ink-black shades. (For maximum impact and lots of laughs, first practice How to Walk like a Diva on an all-girls’ night in.)
Dancing With the Stars
Oh, how high the bar for Hollywood and Broadway brides! Thinking of making a sequin-spangled entrance on a trapeze swing? Check. Planning a soaring duet between bride & groom? Check.
If your friends boast any stage chops, leverage them. Choreograph a head-turning first dance tango. Dramatize your love story in a brief and fiery musical. Dust off your tap dance shoes, fire-eating skills or glitter baton. Unveil your bridal party’s inner Fame cast members on the stage or dance floor. See YouTube for all kinds of high-wire wedding performance ideas.
One or two adept impersonators can make your party sparkle. A Bogart and a Marilyn, say, can provide hours of fun and superb photo ops, even coax guests onto the dance floor.
(But put your performers through their paces ahead of time, so you know what you’re in for. Can they think on their feet?)
But if there’s no Joan Rivers to grace your event, don’t despair: lifesized character cutouts make for lively polaroid snaps, which equals an on-the-spot guestbook most brides only dream of.
Every VIP guest goes home with a bit of swag, so why should your A-Listers miss out? Mini-clapboard photo frames offer a remembrance to last long past the night. But an ultra-elegant little package — like a glossy black and white favor box filled with champagne bubble candy — also fits the bill.
Another fab option: fill champagne flutes with Hershey’s kisses or gold Jordan almonds, and finish with a marabou boa trim around the base. Or fill Hollywood shot glasses with a single rose, or silver-coated Amorini hearts.
Got any insider dish on pulling off the ultimate Hills wedding? Or has a sticky question got you stumped? Let us know below.