Beahm of LightBy: Lianne Bidal Thompson
Event Planner Extraordinaire David Beahm Shares his Expertise
DAVID BEAHM SITS POOLSIDE at The Modern Honolulu, gently stirring a Mai Tai. “It’s so pretty, I’m in Hawai’i, I should drink a Mai Tai,” he says with a smile.
His ease at finding beauty in even the most banal of situations undoubtedly serves Beahm well when dealing with brides wanting the epitome of elegance for their special day.
“A ‘David Beahm Bride’ knows that she will get the best service possible on her day,” Beahm says matter-of-factly. That confidence is rooted in the countless beautiful events that Beahm has produced, each of which pushes the boundaries of event planning.
Beahm didn’t start out as a planner. He moved from his native Virginia to New York to work in the theater. Instead, he found himself arranging fetes for the well-heeled. He’s since gone on to produce celebrity weddings for the likes of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, as well as affairs for high-profile clients including Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, The Whitney Muesum of American Art and Lincoln Center.
With companies that include David Beahm Designs and David Beahm Destinations, he shares with us a few tips for planning your own spectacular to-do. Mainly, that you should consider leaving the planning to a professional.
“There are details that people don’t take into consideration-that I just know about,” he explains, citing an example. “I want each flower to have its biggest bloom at the event,” he says, adding that one bloom will be sent to him three days before an event, while other flowers will arrive the day before in order to make sure the flowers are in their most bold display during the event. “I like to time it so that the flowers are starting to wilt just as all the guests are leaving.”
The second tip-probably the most important-is to be honest about your budget. A good event planner will be able to work with any reasonable budget, but the client has to be up-front about it. However, it’s much harder for everyone if you give your designer an inflated number and then have to retract.
The third tip is to quite simply relax; a competent event planner has contingency plans for nearly every snafu. That unexpected guest that always seems to show up? Beahm has a plan that.
Even with many extravagant events under his belt, Beahm says he never gets bored.
“There’s always something new to explore.”
When asked about dealing with potential “bridezillas,” Beahm explains that he’s developed his own special Rorschach-esque test. “Everyone wants ‘simple and elegant,’” he says. “However, that can mean so many different things to different people.” So, Beahm creates an inspiration board of sorts and asks clients to point to specific elements that appeal to them. He swears on its efficiency.
While he does use his design sense to guide clients, Beahm is firm that they are indeed always right. He will offer his opinion willingly; but if the client feels strongly about a certain detail, he’s amenable. And, he does offer certain “insider” perks for his clientele.
“The ‘David Beahm bride’ is the only bride who can get married on the steps of the Virginia Governor’s mansion in Colonial Williamsburg-aside from the governor, of course,” the Virginia boy says with a smile.
An extension of this is David Beahm Destinations. This company sets up exclusive experiences-family reunions, corporate retreats or, as in his own case, an extraordinary birthday celebration in Greece-at various locales around the world. Clients can choose from places such as Necker Island, Ulusaba in South Africa and the St. Regis Princeville, just to name a few. For his birthday, Beahm treated guests to a special meal on a private island, using seafood caught just offshore. “It was a special moment that I’ll never forget,” he says.
And that, he points out, is the goal he has for every client. “For me, a successful event is when the bride comes up to me and says, ‘Thank you so much! This was perfect.’”