The Wedding Planner

Last year Mindy Weiss planned an idyllic oceanfront wedding for Heidi Klum and Seal to share with 40 guests—and then she helped them ditch it. When paparazzi closed in on the Costa Careyes, Mexico, location, a quick-thinking Weiss led the couple away to a private beach, where they wed alone at sunset. After the intimate ceremony, family and friends rejoined the newlyweds for the reception. Says Klum: “She turned our dream wedding into a reality.”

Raised in a family that loved big celebrations (“My 5th birthday was a circus in our backyard”), Weiss, 47, a mother of three, got started doing custom invitations. When a client asked her to do a whole party in 1992, she stepped up and is now among the first people called after a star gets engaged. Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, Jessica Simpson and Denise Richards are a few who have trusted her to bring inventive ideas, not to mention calm, to their big days. “Before you get a question out of your mouth, she’s taken care of it,” says Erinn Bartlett, recently wed to Oliver Hudson. Now Weiss, who does 120 parties a year, wants to share her planning prowess with a bigger audience: In April she became the registry consultant for Linens ‘n Things and next year will publish a wedding guide. But her first love remains working with couples, famous and not. “You become an intimate part of their families,” says Weiss. “I’m responsible for good memories.” Here, a few of her own fond recollections from notable nuptials past.

Shaquille & Shaunie O’Neal

“Mindy was able to make my wife feel like a queen while letting me be Superman,” says the Miami Heat center. The royal theme started with the invites: “They were outrageous,” recalls Weiss. “It was a little box and inside was a Swarovski crystal crown, a tiara and a pop-up castle.”

SWEET SEND-OFF: “As guests exited, they got their own miniature peach pie,” says Weiss. “Shaq and Shaunie wanted to share something they loved. It was really nice, and an inexpensive favor.”

Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey

“They really planned the wedding together—Nick never missed a meeting.” Their split, says Weiss, “was very surprising to me.”

STEAL THIS TIP: Using framed photos of the couple, Weiss created an entryway display for the reception.

Leah Remini & Angelo Pagan

“Mindy understood from the first meeting what I wanted to create,” says Remini. “I wanted people to feel in love. I wanted husbands and wives to go home and rekindle their romance.”

PERSONAL TOUCH: “Leah handwrote a note to all of the 100 guests,” says Weiss.

SUMMER WEDDING TIP: “It was 115° in Las Vegas, so we brought in a snow cone machine.”

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