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David Tutera star guest at Bridal Expo

By BY JENNIFER PREYSS - JLPREYSS@VICAD.COM
Aug. 21, 2011 at 3:21 a.m.
Updated Aug. 22, 2011 at 3:22 a.m.

David Tutera speaks on stage during the bridal expo at the community center Sunday. "Dream bigger," he said.

DAVID TUTERA'S WEDDING PLANNING TIPS

1. Brides shouldn't ask advice from multiple people. They should pick two people they trust and if they need help, go to them.

2. Every couple has a story. The wedding is about taking that story and communicating it to the wedding guests.

3. Have something change every 30 minutes to engage the guests. Change the lights, or style of music.

4. Find a way to do something different. Cut the cake first rather than at the end of the night, or have the first dance during cocktail hour.

5. The bride should bring two people with her to try on wedding dresses. Too many opinions is not a good thing.

6. Do not sign any contracts with anyone until every piece of the planning has been organized.

7. Pick people in the wedding party, both bridesmaids and groomsmen, based on whether you think you will know them 10 years from now.

8. For a diverse group of bridesmaids with different styles and sizes, pick a color and go with them to a store that offers multiple styles of dresses in that color. Do not send them out to look for their dresses alone.

9. Do not have too many bridesmaids. If the group gets too large, assign some of them to be greeters, ushers or hold other responsibilities in the wedding.

10. Break the rules. Don't over-think things.

Thunderous applause filled the Victoria Community Center on Sunday as television personality and famed event planner David Tutera emerged from backstage and walked the Bridal Expo 2011 catwalk.

Dozens of area wedding vendors, hundreds of brides-to-be, mothers-of-the-bride, bridesmaids, and even a few grooms-to-be crowded the long catwalk as Tutera waved and greeted them with an enthusiastic, "What do you want to know? What do you want to hear?"

The "My Fair Wedding" personality is nationally lauded for his 20-year experience in event planning for high-end clients and celebrities, and making women's over-the-top wedding dreams come true on his WE tv series. The energetic New York native sat down with the Victoria Advocate to discuss his entry into event planning and planning tips for women in the process of organizing their big day.

How has your experience in Victoria been, and what do you think about small towns?

I love Texas, but this is not my first time in Texas. I've been to San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, all over. But this is my first trip to Victoria, and I absolutely love traveling to small towns. I find them adorable and friendly. It's a whole different experience for all the right reasons. The people seem to really appreciate what I have to share.

How did you get into the business of event planning?

It was an accident. I was 19 years old and I was going to school, and I decided to take some time off. I started a singing telegram company. I'd get dressed up in crazy costumes and deliver singing telegrams. I opened up a little store next to a movie theater, and I'd always have my party display in the window decorated.

One day, this woman came in and asked to speak to the owner. It was only me. She asked if the person who decorated the store window could help decorate her son's bar mitzvah. I thought, "What the heck is a bar mitzvah?" But that's how I got started.

What's the best part of your job, both with your private clients and on your cable network show "My Fair Wedding"?

I have a real passion for weddings. I love taking a woman's dream and finding a way to make sense of the whole thing. A wedding is the first major event the couple plans together, and the first time the two families really come together. I want to see the couple preserve those moments.

How do you continue to come up with innovative ideas for your clients and the brides on "My Fair Wedding?"

I start the process by interviewing the bride. I ask her questions about herself that may have nothing to do with the wedding like, "What is your favorite restaurant, and where do you like to vacation?" I want to understand who you are as a person before we start the planning process.

Obviously the wedding is about the bride and groom and you want to impress them with your event ideas, but what kinds of things do you find often impress the guests?

You have to remember that "wow" factor lasts about five seconds. What impresses guests is making them feel comfortable, and you have a responsibility as the hostess to make them feel comfortable. It's important. At the end of the day, it is about the bride, but it's not just about the bride.

What advice would you give the budget-conscious bride?

I think it's important for brides to always be budget conscious on everything. So I think not to be on certain items, it wouldn't be fair to other parts of their wedding. But I do think there are areas that they have to make aware what's important to them. The three most important things they have to pick. It's often flowers, it's often the music, and sometimes it's the cake. If those are the three most important things, then you have to find ways for the other areas to sort of be graciously dealt with less, so they can afford the things that are dream things for their wedding.

At the same time, everybody is concerned about the budget. How do you take the budget and make it work and spread it around to the various areas of your wedding plans? It's very difficult. But you have to look at the budget and break it down per category and decide what each thing is going to cost before you sign a contract with one area. You can't step into the game without knowing how the rules are.

You have products attached to the David Tutera brand like your bridal apparel, craft line at JoAnn Fabric, and jewelry line at Sears. Are you working on any new products or television shows?

I have a new men's and women's watch line that's coming out in Sears. My women's line is coming out first. I'm also working on additional giftables product, which is jewelry and accessories. I've got another show in the works, but I can't talk about it yet. It's all about women and beauty. It will be on WE tv.

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