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Why We Love David Stark

Taking a far more eccentric approach than many of his peers, David is in a class all of its own, by designing outlandish weddings and events for the likes of Jon Stewart, Glenn Close and Beyonce, and we get the humorous scoop straight from the source.

Photo: Susan Montagna

Watch our exclusive video interview with David! >

Hire the Right Team and You Won't Have to Worry

"The thing about a wedding…is you can't do it again," David says. "It's live theater." So he encourages hiring a planning team you trust completely -- one that will take direction on your desires but also organized enough to handle the project from start to finish with every little detail in between. "When something comes up that I don't think is a good idea, I let my clients know," he says, "but I always have a good solution." Hire a team in which you're confident enough to do what's best for the wedding.

If You Can't Find It, Create It

Nothing is impossible, especially with the right team. If there is something you really want to do…make it yourself! David once built an entire Moroccan sleeping village over what was a tennis court. "It was for a celebrity a few years ago, who I can't name, but they had a wedding for about 80 people on an estate in the Hamptons that they rented," he says. Instead of putting guests in hotels, David and his team made small jewel tents under one large tent. "Each couple got their own tent. It was very romantic, like a hotel suite," he says. "Just the whole idea of having to basically create a hotel was very different for us and over-the-top in its conception, but at the end of the day, it was a really amazing experience."

Infuse Your Own Inside Jokes

"I always lead couples to look inward to find the traditions, the rituals, the quirks, and the inside jokes to their relationship," David says. You may think they're just silly stories from your past, but these little tidbits are actually fantastic conversation starters. "While it is a serious day of great importance, a wedding can also include levity and a wink and a nudge," he says. Basically, don't be afraid to unleash a few smirks here and there.

Think Outside the Flowers

No one can deny the fabulousness of flowers, but David highly recommends bringing in other elements to add interest to your motif. He's designed events around everything from paint sample strips to Post-it Notes (but, of course, only in the most jaw-dropping of ways). "Flowers are great for certain things, but other materials can be too," he says. "Everything has its time and place." And if you use other objects, David recommends donating them to charities afterward. Once, for a children's art fund-raiser, David created centerpieces out of thousands of colored pencils, and then donated them to the actual organization. "That thoughtful message always wows guests!" he says.

Don't Forget the Surprises

A lavish wedding is nothing without a killer surprise (or several!) to catch guests off-guard. David suggests kicking the evening up a notch with moments like "50 violinists appearing out of nowhere to serenade guests on the path to dinner, or a troop of Brazilian dancers to pull guests onto the dance floor." Not only does it add excitement to the immediate moment, it will be something your family and friends are sure to talk about for years to come.

-- Susan Waits