Star Jones’ 2004 wedding to Al Reynolds included hundreds of guests, a 27-foot veil (complete with tiara) and a performance by Patti LaBelle — and, according to her wedding planner, it also allegedly inspired a copycat couple: Donald and Melania Trump.
“Melania and Donald copied my design and hired someone else. That’s the God’s honest truth,” David Tutera said in a new book about the history of The View, which includes a passage on Jones’ nuptials.
“Look at the photos of their wedding versus Star’s. It’s the exact same thing!” Tutera said in Ladies Who Punch, which was published last week. “The way the flowers were set up, the layout, the whole thing.”
Not so says Preston Bailey, who helped plan the Trumps’ wedding at their Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.
“So not true! It’s so not true at all,” Bailey tells PEOPLE.
“Star Jones’ wedding was beautiful, David did a great job,” Bailey says. But “except for the fact that they were both white — they had white flowers and gold touches — I can’t imagine any other elements for her to be able to copy it.” (“Most weddings are white and gold or white and silver,” he shrugs.)
There were some similarities: Hillary Clinton attended both and the same photographer was used. Each attended the other’s wedding.
But a quick review of photos from both events shows there were some notable differences: The Trump ring bearers wore white, while the Jones ring bearers wore black tuxedos. Jones herself arrived in a horse-drawn carriage. Her reception was accented with pink lighting and the Trump reception was all gold and white.
According to Ladies Who Punch, Trump — then more than a decade from being president — called Tutera after Jones’ November 2004 wedding to see if Tutera would be interested in planning his own, about two months later.
Bailey, who ended up planning the Trump wedding, says Mrs. Trump was “very hands on.” He told PEOPLE much the same back in 2005: “A lot of it Melania took care of herself. She really was very clear with her vision.”
“I remember setting things up for her to see and she came in and she said, ‘I love this, I’m not crazy about that.’ She was very specific,” Bailey says now.
“She wanted it to be very elegant,” he says.
The event had scale to spare, according to PEOPLE’s 2005 report: 45 chefs, 28 seamstresses, 100 limousine drivers and about 10,000 all-white roses, hydrangeas, gardenias and peonies — not to mention the dinner plates, ringed in gold, or the candelabras at the center of each table.
“I arranged everything,” Mrs. Trump said at the time. “I made sure everything was exactly where it should be.”