Joan Rivers: Celebrity Wedding Planner

When the world looked at Joan Rivers, they saw a pioneering comedienne.  Me too, but I also saw the woman who pushed me into a career in wedding planning.  How could an insult comic I never met set me on the creative path that’s landed me as a wedding planning, etiquette and fashion authority at the top Palm Springs florist? Here’s how.

In 1998, Melissa Rivers, Joan’s daughter, got married.  Joan swung into action as a celebrity wedding planner, seeking out the services of innovative event designer Preston Bailey to create a glittery snow garden inspired by “Dr. Zhivago” with 30,000 white flowers for the wedding at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Inspired by Dr. Zhivago, Russian opulence permeated the wedding.
Inspired by Dr. Zhivago, Russian opulence permeated the wedding.


The magazine photos live in my brain to this day. When a client says “winter theme” that’s what I see.  That extravagant celebration showed me what was possible, what creativity could imagine and what opportunities were there to be a part of such events.

Thank you Joan, for your inspiration towards stylish entertaining – and being entertaining.

Be well and love well.


 A lovely post script: Joan officiated at the wedding of Preston Bailey and his partner Theo Bleckmann on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

Beating The Heat at your Palm Springs wedding

The weather gets warm here – we’re not disputing it.  Wedding vendors in Palm Springs work with this challenge to provide clients comfortable celebrations while enjoying the beautiful desert scenery.  Here are some insider tips on how to beat the heat and enjoy your ceremony or reception outdoors.

Provide functional favors

A basket full of parasols in your color palate serves to add color and texture to your celebration, as well as keep your guests out of the sun.  Have them personalized with your names, wedding date or a motif.

Pink parasols await guests at this Palm Springs wedding. Photo by Gregory Goodman.
Pink parasols await guests at this Palm Springs wedding. Photo by Gregory Goodman.

Made in the shade

An obvious choice would be to provide some sort of covering.  This could range from the most functional tent, to an artistic draping of fabric.  You may also choose a venue and time of day that has a covered patio area.


Hydration is key, and serving water, to guests upon arrival is a must.  Use large dispensers and infuse the water with mint, cucumber and citrus fruit to create a refreshing pick-me-up.

Hopefully these ideas will help cool you and your guests down. Wedding vendors in Palm Springs know many more tricks and tips to keeping cool.  Palm Springs is a beautiful wedding location, don’t let the heat scare you away!

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Customize your event venue

A recent bat mitzvah client’s thoughts on the synagogue social hall “It’s ugly!” she moaned “and boring.”  She didn’t understand the first law of event décor: Make a venue what you want it.*

Truth be told, any space can look exactly like you dream it up. Using drapery, carpet, backdrops and the right budget we could turn a roller rink into a ballroom at Versailles. On a smaller scale,  many elements can change the look of a room

Lighting: use targeted lighting to highlight strengths – pin spots on floral arrangements or unique architectural features, a pattern on the dance floor.

dramatic floral centerpieces
dramatic floral centerpieces photo by Rand Larson

Linen & tabletop:  Use lush textured or bright colored tablecloths to draw the eye towards the center of the room. Try overlays, and china that pops with gold or silver chargers. Once the flatware and stemware is added, your tables will be like jewels drawing in the guests.

Dramatic florals:  Flowers pull focus like nothing else. Dramatic buffet pieces, tall centerpieces, suspended arrangements mid-air, get creative to pull the eye away from that fire exit in the corner.

*check with your venue for décor restrictions.

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