Known for his inventive work and trademark over-the-top flower creations, David Beahm is one of America’s top event designers. David has designed countless weddings for celebrities and corporate clients like Victoria’s Secret Beauty, Christian Dior, and Louis Vuitton – and his events are often the most talked-about parties in New York.
“I moved to NYC in 1995 to pursue a career on the stage and was subsequently side-tracked by special events,” David says. “Six years after arriving in the Big Apple, I was tapped to design the ‘Wedding of the Century.’ Since then, I’m proud that my company is sought after to produce events worldwide.”
Photo by Films by Francesco
With a mother in the arts and his father in the hotel and restaurant business, a passion for being creative was in David’s blood.
“I have been a florist, photographer, waiter, sous chef, wine sommelier, actor, singer, dancer, and taught music for five years,” David laughs. “I started wiring flowers for bridal bouquets in my Godparents’ flower shop by the time I was fourteen.”
And in case you were wondering, that ‘Wedding of the Century’ is none other than the sensation matrimony of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas!
Q: Where does your inspiration come from?
A: While my heart and passion live amongst the flowers themselves – my inspiration with a potential client almost always beings with a “fabric Rorschach test!” This is a technique I developed over the years to help my clients verbalize their personal style – a task that can be very overwhelming for a bride or groom.
So much about a client’s personal style can be gleaned from their reaction to a variety of fabrics: Did the client respond to a heavily embroidered taffeta? If so, I might follow the path of vintage roses and peonies on gilded pedestals for a traditional, elegant aesthetic. Did the client think the new contemporary fabric with a graphic print was fabulous? That may yield an evening that employs monobotanical explosions of white phalaenopsis orchids poised atop custom Plexiglas pedestals.
Enjoy some of David’s favorite images from events his team has designed…
Photo by Brandon Lata Fellici Studio & Sean Lata
Q: What’s in: What hot new trend do you see emerging for 2012 weddings?
A: The return of tulle! I know some of my colleagues would shudder at the thought – ‘Did he say tulle?!’ Yes, I said tulle! No, your wedding does not need to look like an overly frothy confection from the 80s. When it is properly used, implemented into the décor, tulle can create a dramatic statement that hearkens back to the late 10s early 20s when romance ruled.
I recently had the opportunity to create a bouquet for a fabulous bride who was not afraid to think outside the box. With all the confidence of Grace Kelly, our beautiful lady skillfully floated a 15’ long bouquet of hand-wired, fragrant stephanotis, roses, hyacinth and gardenias complete with ribbons of love-knots enveloped in a cloud of white tulle (below). It was stunning and unforgettable.
Photo by Gruber Photographers
Q: What’s out: Any trends you could leave behind?
A: Without a doubt – the sweetheart table. You and your new husband or wife are going to be up-and-about all night – dancing, cutting the cake, taking pictures, and visiting with your guests. I regret that an empty table is a bit of a sad sight. We implore our couples to have a head table for the bridal party or a table for the two families to come together over dinner. With this approach, if you need to make an escape throughout the evening, it is not nearly as obvious to your guests and your presence is not so keenly missed.
Q: What advice would you give to a bride who wants a traditional wedding with a modern twist?
A: My advice to this bride would be to embrace her traditional aesthetic – there is absolutely nothing wrong with tradition! However, she should also consider “moments” during the celebration where she can create something fun and unexpected for her guests that is also a reflection of her and her groom. Is her escort card table a delectable floral creation that’s completely over-the-top? Does she switch into a fabulous colorful gown for dancing? In addition to wedding cake – does she have a candy and dessert bar filled with her and her husband’s favorite sweets? The possibilities are endless…
Photo by Brandon Lata Fellici Studio & Sean Lata
Q: Give us three of your favorite weddings must-dos.
A: 1. Honor your guests’ presence. They are not obligated to attend your wedding and many of them are taking a precious night (or even a weekend) off to celebrate you. Make it a priority to spend at least a moment with each guest to thank them for being an important part of your special day.
2. Pamper and care for yourself prior to the big day. With all the planning and logistics – sometimes the most well adjusted client forgets to take a moment to breathe. I have been known to coax a bride out of my office directly to an acupuncturist or reflexologist to refocus their energy the week of the wedding.
3. Trust your team. From venue to flowers and band to videographer – you should have hired your wedding team because you believe in and trust the quality of their work. On the flip side of that (we, as your artists) want to make sure all of your dreams are realized. Our goal is to live up to our reputation for quality all the while honoring your vision as our client. Micromanagement on the day of your wedding only serves to make you more anxious when you should be enjoying the experience. Allow your team to do what they do best – create magic!
Photo by Christian Oth Studio NY
Q: The Breakers has an immense history and some amazing architecture – How would you use this to inspire you and your events at the hotel?
A: Starting my business in New York, I’ve learned over the years that you can embrace an immaculate and intricately decorated venue in one of two ways…
1. Embrace and enhance the existing décor. If you are being married in The Circle, honor the sophisticated interiors with a flowery ceremonial space draped in luxurious swaths of diaphanous fabric. Surround the space with gilded and crystal candelabrum and the romantic glow of candlelight. Traditional whites, creams and pastels should abound.
2. Juxtapose the existing décor with a completely opposing aesthetic. If your reception is in the Mediterranean Ballroom, fill the space with sleek, modern lounge furniture, avant-garde floral creations, and funky textiles. Utilize professional lighting to draw focus to magnificent décor focal points and keep the energy of the room going. Don’t be afraid to celebrate with a splash of joyous color!
Photo by Christian Oth Studio NY
Q: What’s the most important piece of advice you can offer a bride and groom?
A: There is an inordinate amount of time and energy that goes into the planning and details of a wedding: from where Aunt Molly is going to sit – to the ribbon used to tie the programs. However, Murphy’s Law even applies to weddings: something WILL go awry at the last minute. It could be that the limos are late, or your makeup artist drops red lipstick on that gorgeous white dress.
Here’s the thing we try to remind our couples – no matter what goes askew on the big day, the only thing that really matters is that you and your partner are together in love and joy to commit to each other for a lifetime. At the end of the day, doesn’t that mean a whole lot more than whether or not the Best Man shows up in wrong tux? And after all, that’s why you hire an amazing planning team to solve such silly problems!
Photo by Brian Dorsey Studios
Q: How does a wedding at The Breakers differ from those at other venues?
A: A venue, no matter how beautiful (and indeed The Breakers is oh-so beautiful) is only as good as its representatives. I have worked in many, many hotels and resorts over the years and my favorite properties also happen to have the very best in terms of service. The Catering and Sales team at The Breakers are advocates for the couple and are constantly thinking outside of the box to make each and every event different and special. That is an amenity indeed.
More: Meet all The Breakers’ Dream Makers in our Spotlight On A Guru