“The Real Housewives of Atlanta” may have introduced the world to breakout star NeNe Leakes, but it was the over-the-top personality of fashionista and entrepreneur Dwight Eubanks that kept viewers talking during the first three seasons of the hit Bravo reality series.

Since his departure from “Housewives,” the event planner, clothing and jewelry designer and owner of Purple Door Salon & Spa, located in Atlanta’s historic Sweet Auburn District, has added author to his list of titles in addition to guest appearances on the show that introduced him to the world.

Georgia Voice recently caught up with Eubanks fresh off of a successful show at New York Fashion Week to talk wedding trends, hair and makeup, and setting realistic expectations for your wedding day.

Georgia Voice: So Dwight, tell us about the hot wedding trends this season.

Dwight Eubanks: For brides, they’re looking for something really over-the-top. What I’m finding that a lot of brides are doing nowadays is a rental. Rental wedding gowns are really popular. A rental gives you the opportunity to have that over-the-top wedding gown that would normally cost you $50,000 to $80,000. To buy a dress or gown at that price point to wear for a couple of hours doesn’t really make sense unless you have an extremely large budget.

Traditional colors and traditional wedding gowns are now passé. You’re seeing a lot of pastel colors now, a lot of diversity. The tuxedos for guys are not the traditional black tuxedos anymore; you’ve got blue and burgundy. A lot of guys are just doing a dinner jacket. It’s about expressing yourself and being totally free. It’s your day and it’s whatever you choose to make it.

 What’s your wardrobe advice for masculine-presenting lesbians who may not be interested in wearing a wedding gown?

It really comes down to fit and what you’re comfortable in. This is your special day so you have to decide what really makes you happy. Let’s face it: what was considered traditional is out the door. The Cinderella fairytale wedding is gone and the Cinderella story is out the door, even for straight marriages.

 I’d like to shift the conversation to makeup and hair. Ideally, when should a bride schedule a beauty appointment for her wedding day?

 It’s never a good idea to wait until the wedding day, because anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Brides are already under a huge amount of stress. A bride should always do a mock-up of how she’d like her hair and make-up to look with a stylist ahead of time so there’s time to make changes. It’s a production. It’s just like the opening night of a play.

What about trying a new hairstyle for your wedding day?

 That goes along with the process of elimination. You have 30 or 60 days to try new things, to figure out what you like and what works with your hair texture. Do you need to add hair extensions? Is this (style) going to hold up for your entire evening? What is the weather going to be like? The weather changes everything. In Georgia, July and August are horrible months for outdoor weddings.

What is the average wedding budget?

The budget for an average wedding for 50-100 people is going to be a minimum of $50,000 and that’s not including the rings and the dress. To bring in someone for lighting can be $5,000. If you don’t have a great budget, it doesn’t make sense to spend $50,000 on a wedding and then you’re going to go live in an apartment. It’s a bride’s dream but you need to be able to pay for it.

 Is it possible to have a fairytale wedding on a limited budget?

 I tell people all the time that if you don’t have the budget to do an elaborate wedding, simply don’t do it. You have to rent a venue and you’re often limited with catering, and in-house catering can be expensive. If you’re on a limited budget, my best advice is to have your wedding at a nice home versus going to a hotel.

Any parting words of wisdom?

The most important thing couples can do to make their day a success is to have a thorough consultation with their planner and to take their recommendations. This is something that they do on a regular basis and they’ve experienced a lot of the mistakes. So when they say they “don’t recommend something,” back up and don’t insist. Be able to have an open mind because they know.

Dwight Eubanks’ fashion and beauty expertise spans three decades across the U.S. and Europe. (Above: Courtesy photo)

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