Built From Luxury - How Your Favorite Brands Impact Wedding Planning
Wedding Planner Andrea Eppolito discusses her love of luxury brands and how they impact wedding design.
"You were built for luxury."
My husband says that to me all the time, typically while standing in Chanel, or Louis Vuitton, or Jimmy Choo. I used to joke and say that his utterance sounded like a complaint, but the truth is that it's always a compliment, especially coming from him.
I do love luxury brands, and if you have found your way here to me it's more than likely that you do, too. My couples and I regularly bond over our lust for the YSL Kate bag and the new LV GM Agenda. We compare notes on the hotels we've stayed at, and debate the amenity programs available at various spas and airline lounges. It would be easy to call us elitists, and to bash us for the absolute snobbery we appear to have when it comes to purses, and shoes, and jewelry. But to do so would miss the point of the branding entirely.
Do these brands come with a larger cost? Of course they do, but that isn't the draw. Look beyond the price tag, what element do all luxury brands share? Heritage. Legacy. History. The luxe items we buy tell a story that. They are timely, and also timeless. Luxury brands have endurance. They last. That's what draws me to them, and what I believe draws my couples to me.
And so it is no surprise that my couples find themselves drawn to these heritage brands, and also to me. (Hi, friends...) After all, luxury is not about money. Luxury is all about experience, and how a product or a service makes you feel. There is a romance attached to these brands; their life line has a past, a present, and a future. Just like the relationships we celebrate.
The brands a couple connect with gives me great insight into who they are as people, and influences the design of the day. Very few people are 100% completely married to one brand, we don't only buy Yurman or only buy Valentino. We mix it up a bit, but we all have our true love.
The sartorial choices we make tell a story, and if you pay attention they can lead you to the most authentic design and environment creation that a client couple could ever ask for. Imagine a bride who is primarily Banana Republic by day and Halston by night, with a deep love for Jimmy Choo. Her daily wear bag is Chanel, and she mixes it up with the occasional YSL and Valentino at night. Her watch is Cartier, her earrings Yurman, and her rings are Bauble Bar. What do you give her on her wedding day?
There is a definitive psychology that draws us into the family of a brand, and if you pay attention, it can help guide you through the design process. For example...
Jimmy Choo, Max Mara, and Breitling are sexy, but in a restrained sort of way. They catch the eye, but are rarely the star of the outfit. They are the something very special that add to the overall aesthetic. A couple who favors these brands will likely enjoy extra little touches on the table top. A set of gold rimmed wine glasses, two chargers instead of one. They expect the best and are most comfortable when they know that they are service the best wine, Nothing that screams loudly, but just enough of an accent to let guests know that they are paying attention.
Chanel and Hermes are the ultimate classics. Small variations are made from time to time, but the true value of these products is that they are icons. A Birkin Bag looks just as good today as it did 50 years ago, and is appropriate on Grace Kelly as it is on Angelina Jolie. The bride or groom who buys these brands values tradition, loves the classics, and finds timelessness to be comforting. These clients favor neutral color palettes of white, champagne, blush, and burgundy. When designing for this couple, I avoid anything too glitzy (that can be read as chintzy) and focus on really sumptuous textures. I start with a base color, always a neutral, and together we add interest by layering beautiful china and crystal glassware. Florals are lush and full, but never wild. The design is of the room is measured. The bride is styled with a classic red lip. The groom is clean shaven, and the bridal party is outfitted in long dresses with tuxedos to match.
YSL and Gucci are irreverent. Exceptional quality that flies in the face of convention with bolder color patterns, interesting metals, and textured leather. The moment I see a couple with either of these, I know that I have permission to push the envelope a little bit. The strong graphics that appear season after season in Gucci let me know that, on some level, this couple is comfortable with a bit of risk. They will accept a sketch instead of a demo, knowing that you need go to the edges and create something if you want to do something really different. With these couples I can up the bling factor, layer in pops of color, and maybe add some geometric pieces that are interesting to the eye.
To my couples....The person you are every day must show up at your wedding. The decisions you make, the things you choose to invest in, and the brands you build relationships with tell us as your designers you are. That person must show up at your wedding! When you walk into your wedding, it should feel like going home; to the most perfect, authentic environment you could imagine, and in a way that makes you feel completely comfortable and at peace. And yet to blow you away, you need to take your style and your authentic values and we need to blow them up! Everything needs to be heightened. We need to take the things that matter to you on the inside, and we need to layer that over and over again with an intentional design that speaks to people on the outside....
And to my colleagues and other creatives....Every fashion designer has told us the same thing in different ways. "Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak." —Rachel Zoe. "Clothing is a form of self expression. There are hints of who you are in what you wear" —Marc Jacobs. "Fashion is the ultimate form of self expression, therefore it really depends on mood." —Nicole Richie. "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." —Coco Chanel
And never forget: "We must never confuse elegance with snobbery." —Yves Saint Laurent
People tell you who they are in 101 ways. Pay attention. Look, and listen. And let's create something really spectacular together.
Louboutin image by AltF Photography. Perfume in Hands by Stephen Salazar.