“We’ve used yachts as getaway vehicles, decorated weddings with walls of roses, had brides that change four times throughout the wedding day, chartered private planes for all the wedding guests to fly off to sunny islands for their wedding where as soon as they get off the plane, their feet were washed with rose water and patted gently dry.” That sounds pretty standard, right? Wrong. That would be better described as the definition of luxurious extravagance and experiences that most only dream of.
Kate Edmonds, the English events expert behind all of those glamorous requests, is the one that gets to pull it all together. The Upper East Side-based event planner and her team are able to make even the most ludicrous requests look easy. While accommodating the upper echelon of luxury affairs has been Edmonds’s world for years, no matter how extreme the desire (or how hot the bridezilla’s fire); she pulls it off, and in heels nonetheless.
Edmonds started to plan parties at age eight in the United Kingdom and then moved on to hospital events while working as an RN before transferring her expertise to post-grad Australian soirées. It’s clear that Edmonds has seen it all and done it all. And that’s before arriving in New York during the culmination of the 1980’s club scene (yes, that means dabbling in The Boom Boom Room era). Now, she can be found gallivanting around chic New York City venues or plane-hopping her way around the world, lending her trusted eye to couples. Edmonds maintains a composed yet refreshingly energetic demeanor, which is exactly what these couples-to-be-wed need for their big day to come to life in the most beautiful way possible.
Here, we chat with the royal espousal expert on her entrance into the realm of global grandeur, the most lavish requests she’s received (flowing Dom Perignon included) and her favorite weddings she has been a part of.
How did you get started in this industry?
Once I arrived in New York, I fell into a very fun scene and was immediately immersed in the heart of the 80’s nightlife. I co-created a moving night club and was involved in some VIP rooms at clubs such as Kamikaze and The Palladium. This led to us being asked to plan Saturday Night Live afterparties for Lorne Michaels. From there, myself and my partner were hired to do more involved events and met many boldface names of the period, even though we were very young! We were featured often in The Post and Interview magazine and it was such a lot of fun right from the very beginning. Later, we built our business finding and representing amazing venues and by doing this we attracted a lot of corporate interest such as law firms, media and fashion houses. They became repeat clients, and when it was time for them to wed, they asked us to plan their weddings, which really kicked in for me in the early 90’s. The rest is history!
What are some of the most lavish, luxurious requests you’ve ever got while planning a wedding?
I think “lavish” is a word that means something completely different in New York as it does in the rest of the world! Back in the day, I planned a sweet 16 party for a hotel family in a well-known loft with famous doormen and a red carpet, a suckling pig and all the kids were head-to-toe in Armani. The décor consisted of mannequin hands with every finger and wrist filled with high-end costume jewelry for guests to wear and ultimately take home. They also had flowing Dom Pérignon and all the staff had to be English! Sometimes we’ve had cakes at the weddings that cost as much as other people’s entire weddings and lighting that is more than a down payment for a house! We’ve spent fortunes on caviar and champagne, not that I am complaining. Once one of my brides gave all of her bridesmaids real Tiffany pearl earrings; there were 12 of them.
Tell me about a time when you didn’t think a couple’s request was ever going to be possible, but you made it happen.
I had a recent client who asked me to create a meal with cuisine from nine of their favorite New York City restaurants who do not deliver and do not offer take out as a rule. The menu was based on all the areas of New York and some of them were very casual and some were very up market! All of my staff and I ran around like maniacs picking up and messengering the most delicious smoked salmon, best dim sum, the greatest Matzo Ball Soup in the city, the most famous cheesecake, the freshest black & white cookies and more. We had our private chef organize the food into five different courses with some items as appetizers before and some as desserts to finish. We designed the room to model the skyline of New York with a lot of black and white, golden light and sparkle. It was extremely elegant as it all came together beautifully and the client was thrilled with the results.
Do clients ever request their wedding to be modeled after a celebrity wedding? If so, which celebrity weddings?
They definitely do, but loosely so. Many brides want specific elements or an overall vibe from a celebrity wedding they see. Because I’m English, people do come to my firm hoping to be treated like royalty, and we don’t disappoint. Some clients want to theme their weddings with a historical note. After Kate Middleton got married, Kate Edmonds Events noticed everybody wanted interior trees in the ceremony area. I think the royal family has inspired the very long cathedral veils and sparkly tiaras, and amazing getaway cars. A bride may want to be highly made up and styled similarly to the Kardashian family. Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly are names that have been repeatedly mentioned to me for years, and in fact, I have a wedding this weekend where the bride has made her personal styling choices based on the memory of Audrey Hepburn.
Do you have a favorite wedding that you’ve planned?
All my weddings are a labour of love; each and every one is so different and we get incredibly involved with our clients. By the time they walk down the aisle, whether that be a temple, church, or onsite, myself and my team are at least as emotionally involved in the day as everybody else in the room is. It really matters to us to create and plan the most memorable day for our couples. This is a huge day and marks for many the true beginning of their life together as they share the good news with all their family and friends. Two of my favorite ways to plan a wedding are either in a venue in a super chic, iconic urban environment. Or the flip side of my personality: hanging deep in the countryside immersed in nature. No matter where we are in the world, I personally love to be on the water whether it’s beach, lake, or river. That rocks my boat!