Waves gently crash on an endless shore of white sand as you stand under an arch of white roses, and stare into the eyes of your significant other. The reception area is elaborately decorated with centrepieces of orchids and seashells in perfect view of sparkling turquoise waters. As you and your new spouse take in the fresh island air beneath a tree draped with flowers and crystals, you will never forget the extraordinary beauty of one of the most important days of your lives and, of course, the man who made it all happen: Preston Bailey.
After 27 years as a pre-eminent event coordinator based in New York City, this Panama-born designer has not lost his innate sense of style. Involvement is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of an event-planning career, and Bailey has got it down to an art.
His dedication is reflected in his early mornings, waking up at 5 a.m. to exercise and meditate before organizing the day at his Manhattan office. “My work consists of meeting with clients and designing,” he says. “I also have an amazing production crew that assists me in bringing all my designs to reality.”
Together, Bailey and his team have created an impressive list of projects for his high-powered clientele, in locations all across the globe. The event-planning connoisseur has attracted countless celebrities such as Joan Rivers, Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas and Uma Thurman, who have all trusted him to deliver one-of a-kind occasions every time.
When asked to reveal his favourite event, it is not easy for Bailey to come up with one answer. “Events such as Oprah’s 50th birthday and [Donald] Trump’s wedding in New York were very fun to plan, mostly because they are both such great and creative people,” he says. “There was a wonderful feeling of fun and celebration in the atmosphere, which made it a great time.”
At Preston Bailey Designs, integrity is policy, says the event coordinator. “It is important to give the best services possible to every client who walks through my door. I try to deliver something that is fresh, different, and most importantly, my own.” Having completed projects in countries as far away as Africa, working in different destinations is one of the many ways Bailey draws inspiration. “I come up with new concepts from anything: books, travel, fashion and nature are beautiful places for ideas.”
With so many exciting ventures in the works, it’s hard to believe that Bailey has time for himself. But when he isn’t putting the finishing touches on an event or planning the wedding of a Hollywood starlet, Bailey is travelling. “I travel as much as I can to experience new places and find new inspirations,” he says. “I am living a good life, and I thank God I love what I am doing.”
Peace of mind is what this designer is most thankful for. “I know it sounds a little eclectic but for me, living la dolce vita is really about peace and having people around me who I connect with and love.”