by Natalie Finn | Thu., Jun. 8, 2017 8:00 AM
Perhaps one of the most memorable images from Kim Kardashianand Kanye West's fairy-tale wedding—particularly for those of us who were just there in spirit—was the couple exchanging vows in front of an enormous, richly textured wall of flowers.
Pretty grand, right?
Of the $2.8 million spent on the couple's lavish ceremony and ultra-glam reception in Italy, a reported $136,000 was spent on flowers—and a hefty portion of that likely went toward the two towering flower walls.
Kimye doesn't do romance without roses, as we know.
So, an enviable altar look indeed, but also one that outpaces the average wedding budget by tens of thousands of dollars and would send almost anyone in charge of writing the checks screaming "elope!!!!" into the night.
But what if there was a way to recreate the look of a floral backdrop for much, much less?
Obviously there is, or else that would be pretty cheeky of us. Celebrity event planner Colin Cowie, who's designed his share of weddings with seven-figure price tags, has provided us with some expert tips for getting that super-expensive look for less, whether you want Kimye-approved flowers, a regal cake, show-stopping centerpieces or the swankiest bar.
First up, Cowie revealed how you can get a Kimye-inspired flower arrangement for closer to $1,500—and provides a shopping list if you want to make it a DIY project.
"I'm living for the floral wall," he gushed about the eye-catching wedding installation—in this case an apropos "E!" set up in our honor at the Four Seasons New York Downtown. Perhaps the most surprising detail was the fact that Cowie's version was made of all white (cover your ears, Carrie Bradshaw!) carnations.
"A very beautiful flower when used on its own," he reassured us. "Mixed with others, they look cheap...The way we've used it, it's extremely chic."
Moreover, once the guests have had a few drinks, no one's going to be nitpicking over the flowers.
Speaking of which, Cowie pointed out a most fetching way to serve cocktails, as seen at Whitney Port's wedding in 2015. The former star of The Hills and The City went with multiple retro-glam bar stations at her Palm Springs (nowhere says '1960s-era playground-of-the-rich-and-famous like Palm Springs) nuptials.
The cost of a well-lubricated affair like that? Anywhere starting from $5,000 to $10,000, "depending on consumption and how thirsty your guests are," Cowie says.
Port and husband Tim Rosenman went all out with decanters, gorgeous glassware, high-end alcohol and sparkling accessories (and presumably some fetching bartenders), but for a smaller affair, a carefully curated but still dazzling—and mobile—bar can be yours for less than $1,000.
Cowie explains how to make that happen right here—and don't blame us if you get thirsty.
Though dancing should be first on everyone's to-do list, at some point guests are going to have to sit down—and they should still have something pretty to look at.
Cowie looked to Anna Camp and Skylar Astin's vineyard-set ceremony at Sunstone Winery in Santa Ynez, Calif., where guests dined outdoors under a canopy, for tabletop inspiration.
For his interpretation of the spare-no-expense look, farm wood tables topped with candles, flowers and a most unconventional runner "marry luxe and rustic together," he explained. Watch the video to see what he does with $1 mirrored tiles from Home Depot.
"For me it's a big dose of glamour for the table," Cowie noted. "It's all about illusion, isn't it?" Atop the mirrored tiles, "flowers are twice the size, candles have twice the sparkle." As for the cloths—sheer, commercial window treatments purchased at a fabric store give the tables their elegantly draped look for so much less than tablecloths sold or rented for purposely jacked-up prices.
And though no commoners have seen the photos yet, apparently Pippa Middletonadded dramatic height to her tables with organic trees brought in for the occasion. Cowie mimicked the look with a simple glass vase filled "abundantly" (the key word of the day) with curly willow branches strung with votive candles and sprigs of Dendrobium orchids.
Which sounds more feasible for your big day? $100 per centerpiece or $4,000-$5,000 for a tree fully pavéd with flowers?
And last but not least...the cake.
While alternative ways of serving desert are all the rage, nothing says wedding like a meticulously decorated, multi-tiered extravaganza, like the gorgeous flower-bedecked confection WAGS LA star Nicole Williams and Larry English served at their recent wedding.
The most expensive cake Cowie has ever presided over cost $60,000 (someone generously made room on the private jet to save on transportation costs), and the "average" cost of a six or seven-tier cake, including flower garlands, is $2,500 to $2,750.
But you can have your cake and pay for it too.
"When it comes to cakes, bigger is better," Cowie admitted—but most of it doesn't have to be real. Make the top tier real, for ceremonial cutting and then freezing for the happy couple's first wedding anniversary, but make the rest of the display out of polystyrene and fondant icing. If you want to go for more height, arrange the tiers on columned stands and weave garlands of flowers in between the layers.
Then guests can then dig into the sheet cake that's been waiting all along in the kitchen.
Total cost of making that fancy-looking cake? $250 to $275.
Interestingly, it's the intricately iced flowers that are more expensive than decorating with real flowers, due to all the material and labor involved. As for what makes a cake $60,000, Cowie recalled the six months it took to assemble the decorations—specially made white chocolate molds that exactly resembled the Wedgwood china pattern the bride had inherited from her mother. Moreover, as the 7-foot-tall display got smaller toward the top, the molds had to be scaled smaller as well.
Wow, it only took six months?
Cowie acknowledged that celebrities often have unlimited budgets, as well as access to the finest products and services to make their weddings truly lavish, expensive affairs. "But" he insisted, "you don't have to spend a fortune."
In fact, why wait for a wedding? Trot out all of these ideas at your next party! We'll see you at Home Depot!
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