Day in and day out, I thank my lucky stars that I get to work in this biz. Wedding vendors are some of the most driven, passionate, and talented people I’ve met and it’s quite the inspiration. David Pressman Events is one of those people. From using his fashion sense with brides while dress shopping to helping couples find the perfect venue to pulling together kick-butt teams of vendors for each event, David is a planner extraordinaire—and we’re getting to know him a bit more today. Keep reading for the interview below, sprinkled with gorgeous imagery from Aaron Delesie!
SMP: Working previously with American fashion icons such as Perry Ellis and Calvin Klein, how does fashion inspire your weddings?
DPE: Once you’ve had the opportunity to work with one of the great fashion designers, it’s really hard to ever get that out of your head, no matter where life steers you. For weddings, those amazing experiences (and time with couture designer Mary McFadden and the brand Ellen Tracy) made me so aware of the inspiration behind each collection, and the research and creative essence that was driving that designer in terms of everything. From the overall style of a design collection to fabrics and colors, to lighting, music, and even chairs chosen for fashion editors and clients to sit in.
An answer in one word, would be “completely.” What I’ve learned in fashion taught me how to understand that the big picture would never come to life without all of the details being perfect.
SMP: Any favorite wedding dress designers?
DPE: Damn. That’s so hard because part of my process is to take my clients shopping and see them in all sorts of dresses until it becomes obvious what style or designer is going to be perfect for them. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a woman doesn’t know until she’s in the actual dress and has someone trusted – without an agenda – who can be honest and gently point out what works and doesn’t.
The final dress down a fashion runway is generally the wedding gown, so I lean towards designers who create, and with all due respect, more than wedding gowns. Vera Wang is a great example and clients are surprised when I walk them through the evening and Ready-to-wear items they can add for their after-party honeymoon or just to collect to build a wardrobe of perfect pieces. Along those lines Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Delphine Manivet, Elie Saab, Monique Lhuillier and of course Chanel all stand the test of time. In terms of wedding gown designers Claire Pettibone continues to stun me with the delicacy of her work and fabrications that go into her stunning gowns and each new collection from Lazaro just makes his reputation that much stronger.
SMP: We love the simple, understated beauty in the weddings you design. Following the “less is more” approach, how do you create a clear sense of style?
DPE: I start by engaging my clients in a conversation and asking lots of questions so I can find out what is most important to each of them. Unless I’m given carte blanche by a client to make all design decisions, I will share curated lists of photographers and other vendors for them to check out. Their response lets me know how stuck they are on what they thought they wanted after our second or third conversation.
If the wedding destination is Cabo for instance, it’s highly unlikely that I would design a Hollywood Deco type wedding. So the destination or venue is very important to the design process for every vendor that becomes part of the team I’m assembling. A huge part of my job is getting that team right. And I consider everything from how hard the load-in at the location will be, to how many events will come together to make up this particular wedding experience and what that’s going to require of everyone. The planner part of me wants everything on THE day to come off just like it is on my timeline, but the designer in me knows that isn’t always possible, so in addition to “less is more,” I also believe my clients have hired me to make their day as close to 100% stress-free as possible (sometimes no one can prevent that one toast from going on too long), which means a drama free team too.
Another major attribute to having a great team is the ability to feed off of other ideas. I may have a vision for my client in my mind, but if the floral designer or décor house has a better idea than I want to hear that idea. My goal is to deliver an unforgettable wedding, start to finish. And collaboration is key to achieving that goal for me.
In my world of design, change is allowed up until the very last moment possible and if I believe it will serve my clients better, than let’s go for it – all things being equal and not going over budget. I don’t believe that style can be bought, but I do believe that it can be seen and sensed. A perfectly lit table has style; guests look better, they feel better, they photograph better. Less is more, especially if it means pulling something at the last minute when you realize one fewer element is going to add more to the overall look of the design you’ve been working on for months.
SMP: Being a location manager in a previous career, we have to know, where are your favorite wedding destinations?
DPE: I love the challenge of creating something new for every wedding I work on. A great deal of which comes down to making the destination work. Whether it’s a working motion picture sound stage outside of Detroit or the lobby/rooftop of an amazing Art Deco building in Manhattan, some destinations can be more “challenging” then others for purely logistical reasons. But if one has the means, a way can always be figured out to make the chosen destination work.
So in addition to saying that my favorite wedding destinations are where my couples have the time of their lives, I’m going to say places with lots of flexibility, no rules about when the party has to end, lots of interesting spaces to use and access to nature. That means incredible resorts that can be bought out, private estates whose neighbors are either invited or too far away to care about noise, city spaces that have character and great bones and the perfect backyard. And anywhere fireworks are allowed!
SMP: What is a typical day in the life of David Pressman Events?
DPE: I have a to-do list on my desk. Unless I have a morning breakfast with a client or colleague and I’m not on the road early to check out a potential venue, I like to start each day by putting a very healthy homemade protein smoothie on top of that list, feed the cats and reply to any inquiries that might have come in during the night.
As a wedding & event designer/planner some days are filled with meetings or networking events all over the place. So I might start in West Hollywood, meet a client for breakfast or lunch, drop off my dry cleaning, and head back to the computer if I’m working on updating budgets, sending venue pics and links to clients, etc. As I’m driving around doing errands I like to note potential event locations, sometimes I’ll just stop and go inside. I take photos to remember things, Instagram images that I find inspiring, provocative or just fun to share – and yes, once in a while an indulgent selfie. By 4pm I try to phone my 91-year-old mom back on the East Coast so I can find out if she won at Bingo; she likes to ask me when I’m getting married…
Since David Pressman Events is a true boutique business, i.e., I bring on assistants when I’m actually in the last days before a wedding or event. On average about three nights a week I’m out networking with colleagues or checking out new venues and restaurants. If I’m not out or catching up with friends, chances are I’ll be right where I am now, at my desk catching up on emails, and make a new to-do list for tomorrow. And finally, I have a terrible habit of loving to watch TV via TiVo late into the wee hours, sometimes with a pint of my favorite gelato and almost always with a pile of magazines and books. Don’t ever think that wedding designers & planners have great diets, because we don’t.
SMP: Best piece of advice for newly engaged couples?
DPE: Hire professionals. Trust them. Never forget that it’s your wedding day, no one else’s.
Event Planning and Design: David Pressman Events
Photography: Aaron Delesie
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