An excerpt from today’s national media tour:
It seems that it’s always wedding season in Hollywood. And where there’s a celebrity couple getting married, there’s sure to be a bride-to-be watching for ways to infuse the “it” aspects of their day into hers.
With us today is event planning expert Debi Lilly, who is Oprah Winfrey’s party planner and go-to for all things entertaining. She has planned parties for A-listers for the last 10 years and is here to tell you how easy it is to take hot Hollywood wedding trends and make them your own.
Debi Lilly, thank you for joining us.
Thanks for having me! I’m so excited to be here to talk about one of my favorite topics: weddings! Brides come to me every day asking how they can have a bridal experience like those of the celebs they see on Page Six.
Of course, you don’t have to be a hot celebrity to have a special wedding. It’s actually easy to take trends seen in Hollywood and turn them into your own!
And you can do it within a budget. All brides need to do is get a bit creative and find inspiration to create their dream day.
Sounds like fun. Tell us what you’re seeing from celebs that brides want to emulate.
Everyone looks forward to The Big Day, but now a lot of celebrities extend their wedding day into an entire weekend. You may remember hearing that Eva and Tony took their guests to Paris for a three-day affair.
What’s nice about a weekend wedding is that couples are able to spend more time with their guests who they may only see for a few minutes at a typical wedding. But, you don’t have to go to Paris to create a special weekend.
A lot of couples are having both a rehearsal dinner and a morning-after brunch and opening them up to out-of-town guests. Since the wedding is THE affair, they keep these casual … and costs low. When the invitations go out, an “itinerary” is included for the weekend so guests can plan to attend.
- A barbecue feeds a crowd and makes for a fun, casual party.
- For brunch have your favorite bakery deliver a full self serve buffet: bagels, shmears, lox, croissants, jams, butters, egg souffles, fresh fruit salad, juices, champagne, and the like.
- Find some great serving pieces like these that you can use for both events and you’re set. These stands are a must for serving a crowd and you’re investing in items that you can keep for years to come and your future entertaining occasions as newlyweds.
Another nice touch I’ve been doing is a “welcome” gift basket for each guest that includes info about the city to really make it a getaway weekend. Include snacks, a map, an itinerary, a wine bottle opener and your favorite wine with a note that says, “Go Ahead … Start Our Celebration Early,” as well as some special treats that represent your location.
Sounds like a good way to get the most out of your big day. Lately, I’ve heard a lot about themed weddings, too.
Brides are always looking for ways to distinguish themselves. Celebs are no different and themed weddings – where all the pieces tie back to one idea – are starting to become a really popular way to do that.
Something as basic as an outdoor theme, which Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell did, can easily be carried through the reception details.
- Hand out fans to keep guests cool, and they can double as a wedding favor
- If guests will be seated on the lawn, you could use these outdoor party sticks from The Pampered Chef to set out light food and drinks for guests to enjoy.
- Another great idea is to use he outdoor sticks to hold candles and place them throughout the lawn to give romantic ambiance. You could even use these to create an aisle runner.
Take it one step further by coordinating colors like I did here and extend the “outdoor” concept to the rehearsal and other weekend activities, too.
A lot of celebs are also doing lounge-like receptions without a sit-down dinner, where the party starts later and is much more interactive and informal. At these, the food is typically available throughout the night via stations. Think of your favorite finger foods with a twist.
For example, there may be a taco bar, a make-your-own mini burger station or something I really love – a mix ‘n’ match candy bar. Fill these trifle bowls with a variety of candy and invite guests to fill them as takeaways using fun monogrammed candy bags, like these.
These are all great ideas, but obviously celebrities have party planners. If a couple can’t afford to have someone like you plan their wedding, what’s the best way to do it yourself?
The Web! Online resources make it easy to practically plan your entire wedding from the comfort of a computer, saving time and stress without limiting options. From dresses and decor to registries and reception ideas, almost everything is online. And if a bride is not, then she’s behind the times.
In particular, a lot of today’s brides are registering completely online, but I find that many don’t know what to register for. My favorite place to register is The Pampered Chef, which offers high-quality, multipurpose tools that help couples prepare easy and delicious meals.
And, because The Pampered Chef offers online registries only, couples (and their guests) have access to their registry 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making updates and purchases a cinch.
Even better, you can feel like a celebrity since each bride is assigned her own personal Consultant! That Consultant will help answer your questions and guide you to choose the right pieces to help create a well-stocked kitchen for all your entertaining occasions.
Where can people get more information?
Head online, of course! Visit http://www.pamperedchef.com for a free guide with entertaining tips from me. And, to purchase these products, a gift for a bride or to create your own Registry.
Easter Sunday is upon us –
We have made Easter Brunch easy for
you – all you have to do is worry about whom to invite over to enjoy a fast,
fabulous spring buffet.
Easter is a centuries old favorite
holiday – dating all the way back to the Second Century – when the ancient
Saxons celebrated the return of spring with an uproarious festival commemorating
their goddess of offspring and of springtime, Eastre. The Easter Bunny originated from the goddess,
Eastre, and her earthly symbol, the rabbit.
From the earliest times, the egg was
a symbol of rebirth in most cultures. Eggs were often wrapped in gold leaf or,
if you were a peasant, colored brightly by boiling them with the leaves or
petals of colorful flowers. Hence, the
tradition of easter eggs, and
Today, we are setting a colorful,
bright, spring table with seasonal blooms – making them very green and
eco-friendly by using local, readily available blooms from florists, grocery,
your backyard and more. We have arranged
them in tight, rounded clusters, which is easy to
achieve by packing the flowers into the vase, with little room around them so
they are very close together. This gives
it the designer touch, and makes a great chic statement. We used silver baskets as a modern take on an
easter basket, and these can
be reused well after the holiday, again making them “green” and
As always we have dozens of candles
– nothing sets the mood more than candlelight no matter what the time of day or
occasion. Many people think candles
don’t make an impact during the day – but that is a great professional party tip
– candles always make a difference and enhance the setting, whether it be day or night. Here
we have set them on petite silver trays to enhance the light they give off –
mirrored trays are another great way to do this.
Our placesettings are set with gorgeous new spring butterfly botanic plates – just in from New York and on our shelves at the boutique for your next event. We paired these lovely patterned plates with petite white square bowls from
Pampered Chef, and filled with birds nests and speckled M and M “eggs” for a
special treat. We have added calligraphied placecards
to help dress the table – they tuck into the egg filled nest for the perfect finishing touch. These little details are what guests love and remember
– they make them feel you really put thought and care into hosting the
For our menu, we have created the
ultimate spring feast. I love to set an
elegant yet self serve bar and buffet, with warm or room temperature foods, so
as the hostess you can really focus on spending time with your guests, and
attending to them instead of to your menu.
Our Easter cocktails can be done
with champagne or vodka – or as mocktails – depending on your guests. They are both colorful and delicious – a
triple citrus mojito and raspberry fizz. Always garnish your glass – this is another
professional party tip to making the details really pop. We have garnished the mojito with a lime slice, and the raspberry fiz with a floating berry. (Recipes follow below)
The buffet itself has wonderful
recipes that are amazingly simple. We filled Easter favorites – Hot Cross Buns with Honey Glazed Ham, Peppered Bacon and Cheddar Cheese for a delicious breakfast bite. Another great spring recipe is to fill Puff Pasty rounds with Scrambled Eggs, diced Ham, sauteed Peppers, and Parmesan Cheese. My favorite Berry Salad is served in halved oranges, with the orange sections removed to form hollow bowl shapes. You can use a knife to slice off to flatten the bottom of the orange, so it sits perfectly straight and even as your fruit bowls. I love to fill them with mixed berries to include Raspberry, Blueberry, and Blackberry topped with the orange sections and fresh chopped mint.
For dessert we feature miniature Trifles in petite cordial glasses combining Raspberries, Lady Fingers and Whip Cream layered to the top of the glass, and zested with fresh Lemon. In additionTruffle Brownie Bites topped with whip cream and berry, and who can resist Easter without a few yellow marshmallow Peeps?
More great brunch (or any occasion) recipes can be found at
pamperedchef.com. I like to search for type of meal, and scan the list of delicious options…
Cheers to your spring filled Easter
This citrusy cocktail puts a twist on a Cuban classic and is perfect for a spring or summer day.
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
1 pkg (.75 oz) fresh mint leaves (about 1¼ cups leaves), divided
2 lemons, dived
2 limes, divided
½ cup white rum (optional)
5 cups chilled lemon-lime soda
1. Combine sugar and water in Small Batter Bowl. Tear six mint leaves in half and place into Quick-Stir
Pitcher; set aside. Finely chop remaining leaves with Chef’s Knife and place into batter bowl. Zest orange,
one of the lemons and one of the limes using Zester/Scorer; add zest to mint mixture. Microwave on
HIGH 2-3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.
2. Slice orange, both of the lemons and both of the limes in half crosswise. Reserve half of one lemon and
half of one lime for garnish. Juice remaining lemon and lime halves using Citrus Press; add juices to
pitcher. Juice orange with Juicer; add juice to pitcher.
3. Pour mint mixture through Strainer into pitcher; discard chopped mint. Add rum, if desired. Carefully
add soda to avoid overflow. Slice reserved lemon and lime halves with Ultimate Mandoline fitted with vshaped
blade; place into pitcher. Place lid on pitcher and plunge gently. Serve over ice.
To garnish rims of glasses, zest an additional orange using Microplane® Adjustable Grater. Combine zest
and ½ cup sugar in Prep Bowl. Place a small amount of sugar mixture onto Simple Additions® Appetizer
Plate. Rub rim of glass with orange wedge to moisten. Dip rim of glass into sugar mixture.
Yield: 8 servings
Source: From The Pampered Chef’s Spring/Summer 2008 Recipe Collection
This simple beverage takes just minutes to make. Let the
sorbet stand at room temperature as you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
4 limes, divided
1 can (12 ounces) frozen cranberry juice concentrate
3 cups cold water
1 pint raspberry sorbet, softened
2 liters (8 cups) chilled ginger ale
1. Slice two of the limes using Ultimate Mandoline fitted
v-shaped blade; set aside. Pour cranberry juice concentrate
and water into Family-Size Quick-
2. Juice remaining limes into pitcher using Citrus Press.
Scoop sorbet into pitcher using Ice
Cream Dipper; plunge to combine. Add ginger ale and lime
slices. Plunge gently until well mixed.
Serve over ice.
If desired, 2 cups flavored vodka such as raspberry,
cranberry, currant, citrus or lime can be added
to this recipe.
To garnish rims of glasses, zest one lime using Microplane®
Adjustable Grater. Combine lime
zest and ½ cup sugar in Prep Bowl. Place a small amount of
sugar mixture onto Simple
Additions® Appetizer Plate. Rub rim of glass with lime wedge
to moisten. Dip rim of glass into
For a simple garnish, using Zester/Scorer, score a lemon and
zest a lime; thinly slice using
Ultimate Mandoline. Make a cut to the center of each lemon
and lime slice using Petite Paring
Knife. Garnish each glass with one lemon slice and one lime
For LEMON-LIME FIZZ, substitute frozen limeade concentrate
for the cranberry juice concentrate,
lemon-lime soda for the ginger ale and lemon sorbet for the
Yield: 16 servings
Source: From The Pampered Chef’s Fall/Winter 2007 Season’s
Best Recipe Collection