Bryan Rafanelli—Chelsea Clinton’s wedding planner and a celebrity favorite—has merrymaking down to a science. Steal his secrets!
You were a well-known event designer before the Clinton wedding made you a household name. How did you get into the biz?
I come from a family of lawyers; that’s what I was supposed to be! On rainy days, my parents would send us to the basement to watch reels of their wedding. The grandness of those images captured me. I joke with my mother that they didn’t do table flowers—there were bottles of vodka and shot glasses instead.
You do a lot of at-home tented weddings. People sometimes assume that’s a budget-friendly option.
Getting married in your backyard presents all sorts of amazing challenges. If you think it’s easy, watch the first part of Steel Magnolias.
Where do you trim costs to make room for splurges?
Cocktail hour should be gracious and lovely, but I don’t believe in putting too much money into it. Three to five passed hors d’oeuvres are fine, and you don’t have to play live music. Who’s really going to hear it besides the 20 guests standing in front of the trio?
And at the reception?
Don’t do a champagne toast. Why pay $15, plus gratuity, plus tax, times 200 guests for something people insist on because it’s tradition? Music is always worth the expense. In New York, Vali Entertainment is number one.
With so many interfaith and multicultural couples marrying, what’s the key to pleasing everybody?
Choose the best traditions from each culture, and look for similarities. We did a wedding where the bride was Middle Eastern and the groom was Jewish. Both cultures get married under a canopy, so we did that. And since dancing is super-important to both, we had this dance-off, where all the brothers from one side competed with the brothers from the other. It was sensational.
–Written by Denise Penny Shepard for Brides
Category: General News