Wedding Wisdom From Fiona Leahy

We chat with celebrity the wedding planner, stylist, and mind behind Just Married: How to Celebrate Your Wedding in Style

The fist wedding Fiona Leahy ever planned took place in an Irish Castle and celebrated the nuptials of Dita Von Teese and Marilyn Manson with a blend of Gothic and Victorian aesthetics.  “I had never done a wedding before, so I was nervous!” Leahy says. “But I threw myself into it; it was all consuming, and I loved it because so many aspects of what I love were involved from food and beverages to interior design to music.” Since that iconic affair, the planner extraordinaire has tackled more than 30 weddings (her rule calls for no more than four per year so she can give the proper attention to each event). She shares with us planning advice, her wedding must-haves, and why eloping sounds so appealing.

What are the three most important aspects of a wedding?

Positive energy, love, and friends and family. All the flowers and cake in the world don’t matter if you don’t have the first three.

Now that you’re quite the experienced wedding planner, what is your advice for those looking to break into the field?

There is nothing like experience, and I’m still learning! You have to throw yourself into this field and work on weddings, even at first if it’s for your experience only; it’s invaluable. Do an internship or offer to work on your friend’s weddings. I started on a friend’s wedding! I would suggest that route over going to college, however getting knowledge on budgets and finance is also important, as every great idea ends up as a line on a budget.

In your book’s preface, you wrote that your journey has made you want to “get married 10 different times in completely different ways.” If you had to describe your own personal dream wedding, what would it look like?

Gosh, I have so many ideas, but it really depends very much on whom I end up marrying. I have to say the romance of an elopement–perfectly planned and designed, of course–would be appealing. I like intimate affairs personally, so something small and beautiful with a hint of nostalgia.

What’s the most important thing for couples to remember while journeying through the wedding-planning process?

To enjoy it as a project and a collaboration and not to be daunted. Also, remember the bigger picture, the marriage, and don’t get lost in the details.