Tips for Brides from the Stars of Brides of Beverly Hills

June 16, 2011 3:23 PM

Kevin Lee and Renée Strauss

In the premier episode of Brides of Beverly Hills, which you can watch tonight at 9:30 pm ET on the Slice network, Renée Strauss, owner of landmark Beverly Hills bridal shop Renée Strauss for the Bride, tells a new employee that she’s not dressed appropriately for work, sings “Sunrise, Sunset” to a bride’s family to make a sale and works through her own birthday. Well, you don’t get to be a retailer to the rich and famous any other way.

Her tag-team partner in wedding and event design (and reality show-business) is Kevin Lee, owner of LA Premier Floral Event Productions, floral designer to stars like Oprah Winfrey and – get this – the person who Martin Short’s “Franc” character in Father of the Bride is based on. Fabulous.

When I met Reneé and Kevin at the Sarah Houston bridal boutique in Yorkville and asked them what it was like to share the goings-on of their precious places of work, which they’ve built up over decades, on a reality show, Kevin said, “For us, living in the Hollywood environment, our lifestyle is more like a celebrity’s already, so… you just be yourself. In Hollywood all the celebrities want over the top and all the best things in their lives and we get the most fabulous things for weddings, gowns, jewels, you name it. Everything is so over the top anyway.”

Renée says, “I loved it. I felt that finally the world is gonna see what really goes on here. And actually, we have champagne tastes and champagne money to beer tastes and beer money all come into the store.”

Then we got down to the business of weddings – what’s hot, what’s not and what trends brides should be considering now. Here’s what the woman who’s dressed the likes of Nathalie Portman, Heather Locklear and Jessica Simpson and worked on Hollywood productions from Runaway Bride to General Hospital to The Bachelor, and the man who’s done the weddings of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore and Anthony Hopkins, recommend for you.

Find your inspiration point
Renée says:
For me there are a couple of things to consider for the theme and direction of the wedding – if the bride has been dreaming of something her whole life, that will lead the way. That’s one way: a deeply rooted dream.

Another way is if you find a spot, a place that inspires you, that can lead the way as well. If somebody’s always dreamed about a beach and then they find a beach in Mauii that they really love, then they’ll do something really different than if they were to get married on a beach in Malibu. So, I think location is what inspires a lot of people.

We all have an inspiration point, from planning our wedding to decorating our bedroom. We have to go with that inside gut feeling.

Try something other than a “tube top” dress
Renée says:
You will see a lot of shoulder treatment this season because that’s what we’ve been buying and what people have been asking for. People say “I’m tired of the tube top,”… people don’t know how to say strapless. They want something with shoulders, something delicate and we see a lot of very fitted dresses – a little bit 80s retro with a fashion-forward bling factor, which is a more streamlined, mermaid fit. In the 80s it was reflective crystals but now it’s a clear or real rhinestone swarovski crystal. Now it looks like fine jewelery.

Waistlines have risen. They’re really fitted around the natural waist, which is a 2 to 3-inch drop from the bottom rib. So, if you ever watched I Love Lucy, that’s what we’re getting back to, that real fitted body and full ballgown or the fit- and-flare mermaid silhouette… for the one that’s got the great body!

Add colour and bling to your bouquet
Kevin says:
I think the bling-bling-bling look with crystal is very in. Just tons of crystals hanging from the flowers and also adding crystals into the flowers.

And also, instead of just having ivories and whites and the same tones of flowers, we’re getting into more colorations, like burgundies and purples and hot pinks. I’m working on The [Real] Housewives of Beverly Hills Lisa Vanderpump’s daughter’s wedding, Pandora, and we’re doing it very over the top, very strong colorations, very dramatic, and when you walk, just a lot of bling with the crystals and beautiful flowers like orchids just pouring out, just an abundance of flowers. Also, at the same time, the lighting [at the venue] has to be stronger, not just pale colorations. It’s a lot more drama.

Make your favorite flowers work, regardless of the season
Kevin says:
When it comes to a seasonal thing, of course a flower has a season. In fall, when you’re walking in the streets you see the oranges and the browns and you feel like that, of course, but when you’re going for the top of the line, your personality comes out and it’s very important to bring your personal lifestyle into your wedding day, more than a seasonal thing. For me, it’s what have you dreamed of all your life.

And to me, there is no flower that is taboo. Not at all. To me, depends how you work with it. Because if you are creative you can make it work.

Loosen it up
Kevin says:
Bouquets used to be so, so tight and it’s getting a little looser and instead of crystals just falling down you’re seeing them more integrated into the flowers. It’s getting looser instead of tighter.

Make the bridal party match and give them colour
Renée says:
We’re seeing bright colors for bridesmaids –  beautiful magenta and purple, tangerines, fuschias. Black has always been a staple for certain weddings and navy has been the “new black” for five years but now we’re seeing color.

Because I’m such a traditionalist, I think the bridal party should look like the bridal party. If you’re having a wedding in a ballroom you want to be able to spot and line up the people you want in photos quickly. And those photos are going to last you a lifetime. You’re creating a production. However, if you’re getting married with a smaller group or you’re a different type of bride and you just want everyone to do their own thing, then that can work too.

But, at the end of the day, if my daughter were to get married, I’d want everyone to wear the same bridesmaid dress, I’d want to go really soup to nuts traditional. And you make it easier for the bridal party when there’s a parameter. Without that, they’re like loose canons. It’s like not registering!

Trust the experts
Kevin says:
I will guide you. If it’s not right… I’m a yenta, I have to tell you. I won’t go around the bushes because at the end of the day you won’t be happy. You know what you want but professionals need to guide you.

Renée says: You have to rely on the expertise and the taste level of people like Kevin and myself. I can tell by the way a person walks and carries themselves, even if they’re wearing no makeup and pyjamas, I can already see what they should wear. I like to get some information, like where the wedding will be, but I can still see.

Follow your heart
Kevin says:
Once in your life you need to splurge on your lifestyle. You should have what you want.

What Oprah likes
Kevin says:
She loves bundles and bundles of flowers! She loves lots and lots of flowers. That’s her motif always. She loves peonies and seasonal flowers. No matter what, we always have tons and tons of flowers. That’s what makes her happy.

The most fabulous weddings ever
Kevin says:
Christina Aguilera’s wedding. It was so fabulous and she was so fashionable. Oh my goodness… her gown was spectacular. She’s a tiny lady but she carried herself so well and, you know, I’ve never made a single rose so fabulously because she didn’t want a big bouquet. She wanted only a single rose to carry down with her rosary. And it was so romantic and so sweet and so special and it was the most fabulous wedding I’ve ever created.

Renée says: I did a wedding at the Vatican and it was just phenomenal. It was the daughter of the owner of the largest wine and vinegar import company in the United States. Andrea Bocelli sang for the couple and the Secretary of State for the Vatican performed the wedding and I put the whole thing together and it was unbelievable. Wouldn’t you know it, they came to my store and she fell in love with a dress from Italy. It was a super feminine, super fitted dress, lots of veiling. They cleared the entire left half of St. Peter’s Basilica, Swiss Guards kept everybody out, we did it in the largest capella and I felt like I was as close to heaven as I’ll ever get, dead or alive.

See more of Renée’s and Kevin’s fabulous advice, creations and clients in Brides of Beverly Hills every Thursday, starting tonight, at 9:30pm on Slice.


2 Responses to Tips for Brides from the Stars of Brides of Beverly Hills

  1. renee strauss on June 19, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    Can’t wait for the pleasure of meeting you both! Love what you do! Thanks for the post on Brides of Beverly Hills! We hope you enjoy the show and have more great things to write about!

  2. Millisent on July 09, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    i tried to use the RSS-Feed but the feed url showing me some Xml errors..