So you don’t have a $33.5 million estate to throw an intimate backyard affair like Portia and Ellen? Don’t worry. We talked to celebrity wedding planner Preston Bailey to find out how to throw an upscale affair while staying within a realistic budget.

Photo courtesy of Preston Bailey

Over the course of his 30-year career, event planner Preston has worked with A-listers Oprah Winfrey, Ivanka Trump, Donna Karan, Liza Minnelli and Matt Lauer. The word “budget” isn’t often overheard in his meetings, but “fabulous” certainly is. So if you want to feel like a celebrity at your wedding (and who doesn’t?), here are Preston’s top tips for the latest trends to have an elegant, yet budget-friendly affair.

Q What are the big celebrity wedding trends in 2011?

A I’m seeing three trends taking hold this year. First off, is the focus on casual elegance. That might sound like an oxymoron, but couples want an ease and comfort to their special day along with a strong sense of style while walking down the aisle. It’s a delicate tightrope, but one that today’s brides and grooms are taking to nonetheless. Next, all-white weddings are also a big wedding trend. Pick out crisp white linens, cream-colored silks, and pure white roses and ivory peonies to capture this look. And finally, I’m seeing a lot of couples opting for buffet service instead of sit-down dinners. They’re still offering sophisticated fare, but tying into the casual elegance trend I mentioned before, it is taking a more easygoing approach to the reception.

How can couples recreate a celebrity wedding on a real-life budget?

A couple can use inspiration from celebrity nuptials by choosing an element they adore and then making it their own. For example, do you love the flower arrangements at a celebrity’s wedding? Perhaps they used an unusual flower choice? Talk to your local florist about incorporating that same flower into your big day. Maybe you can’t afford to use it at every table, but you could put it in your bouquet or use it for larger statement pieces throughout the room.

What’s the most memorable celebrity wedding you’ve ever designed and why?

Usually my most recent wedding is my most memorable one. However, the one that stands out for me the most is Ivanka Trump’s wedding. She was all about classic refinement from beginning to end. It was a beautiful day!

What’s the No. 1 piece of advice you have for celebrities and regular people alike when planning their wedding?

Never forget that this is a joyful occasion. Many couples get too concerned about the details, getting caught up in pressures rather than the pleasures. It is important to take a moment to simply enjoy the process—and truly celebrate on the big day itself.

What’s one wedding tradition you would like to see done away with?

Nobody should say “to honor and obey” in their wedding vows anymore! In addition, I’m sometimes disappointed to see excessive drinking at someone’s wedding. A toast is lovely, but remember not to go overboard.