Preston Bailey

preston bailey weddings

Celebrity events designer Preston Bailey is an expert when it comes to all things entertaining. The brains behind the weddings of Sean Parker, Lebron James and George Soros (to name only a few) as well as events for world-renowned tastemakers like Oprah and the Trumps, Bailey has no doubt made a mark in the industry of ‘special occasions.’

Who better than to hit up for entertaining tips? It is Friday after all, and whether you’re throwing a casual BBQ, hosting a fancy dinner party, or planning your wedding, we’re sure there’s something in here for you to make use of…

Your ideal food day from start to finish…

I  have a wonderful chef, Jana Keith Jennings, who prepares my food daily. I eat a 80% raw diet…

Morning: A fruit mix shake with raw super greens veggie powder.

Lunch: Fish with three vegetables. I snack all day on Pistachio nuts and fruits.

Dinner: My dinner is always early and is usually a fish soup filled with vegetables.

Three keys to transforming a space into a completely different world…

1. Lighting. With new technology, this is easily accomplished.

2. Draping the walls with fabric is a great way to transform a space.

3. I like to create hanging elements on the ceiling or cover the floor with a temporary carpet.

Most memorable thing a client has said to you before their event…

It’s interesting; I have enjoyed the many compliments I have received, but it is the one negative comment that still sticks in my mind. “Preston, this is not what I had in mind.” This one still hurts.

The ultimate host/hostess faux pas…

Micromanaging and trying to over-control their event.

The ultimate guest faux pas…

Getting very drunk. It’s not a good look and it is often stressful for other guests and the host.

Three keys to the perfect dinner party…

1. Great design is key. You want to create a space where guests are so comfortable that they never want to leave.

2. Mix up your guest list. The best parties I have given always included people from a variety of backgrounds. I hand them a drink and see what happens.

3. Go with the flow. You want to be attentive, but not tense. Remember that tension is contagious.

How to marry great food and a great aesthetic..

I personally think it’s all about presentation. Creating a buffet that is carefully designed can make a great impact.

The key to ensuring good wedding food…

I think it is important to choose foods that can be served at room temperature. For instance, you never want to serve risotto for a wedding of 200. This is a dish that needs to be served warm.

Tips for the day of an event or wedding…

1. Always finish every single detail at least two hours before your guests arrive.

2. Make sure to greet each guest at the entrance. If possible, escort them in yourself and make proper introductions, or make sure someone else does.

3. I like having some kind of small surprise every thirty minutes. It could be a change in lighting or waiters appearing with trays of a special drinks. The idea is to always keep your guests entertained.

“The new potato” of event planning…

Concierge service. All the way.

The one person you’d still like to plan an event for…

Our President and his wife.

*Preston Bailey, photographed in New York City studio by Danielle Kosann.