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‘I Do Over,’ A Once In A Lifetime Experience

Life is like a roller coaster. It has it’s ups and it has it’s downs.  Life for my family has been an up and down ride for last couple of years starting with the downfall of the California economy.  I lost my job at the private school in which I worked, which caused the loss of my kid’s private education.  The economy was suffering in California especially in the area of education, so I was let go.  The kids had to make the transition to a public school.  Real Estate was the other area that took a huge hit, and with the loss of a job, the next effect was the loss of our house.

So when the phone call came in asking if we would be interested in applying for “I Do Over”, we jumped on it.  The excitement and anticipation of renewing our marriage seemed like a perfect start to our “uphill” climb!  We had talked about renewing our vows but due to the hectic schedule of raising three boys and financial restraints, we never did it.  So 19 years later… We get the dream of a renewal, paid for, with host Diane Valentine and on National TV, we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate with a bang!

The anticipation was so intense, especially when I opened the door and there was Diann Valentine surrounded with lights and cameras saying “Congratulations,you were chosen for a redo wedding on I Do Over.”  I think I screamed and almost peed my pants!

The next week consisted of days of filming, laughing, talking, sharing, and ending in a beautiful wedding planned by the awesome Diann Valentine.

The first day was filmed at the amazing bridal shop in Studio City called “R Mine Bridal” with designer Armine.  It was so fun trying on dresses even though they tricked me and two of the dresses they made me try on they knew I wouldn’t like.  I was freaking out a bit and then they brought out the real  “One.” It was a dress that Armine had designed especially for me!  It was ivory with beautiful gold lace and Swarovski crystals.  She asked if there was anything I would add or change and I mentioned a more defined belt with a crystal type centerpiece. That is exactly what she did! It was perfect! The flowy material, and amazing detail was so amazing… I felt like a star in that dress!  Armine is awesome!

The highlight of that location, was my bridesmaids showing up.  My sisters and cousin were there and surprised me!  They were waiting in the back alley of the store standing there with lighter fluid, and lighters! I was wondering what the heck they were doing.  But soon, I realized hanging right in front of me was the last living bridesmaid dress hanging from a coat rack.  We then proceeded to spray the dress with lighter fluid and light it on fire.  That was such a freeing, invigorating experience.  It was like letting go of the old, bad memory and replacing it with the excitement of a new and encouraging future for us! We then went inside to have the girl’s try on Bridesmaid dresses. It was a blast watching them have fun doing that since the dresses were the thing missing the first time around. Cheers Girls!!!!

The next day I got the pleasure of filming at Erica Courtney’s jewelry store.  Holy cow!! What an amazing store of incredible jewelry!  I got to enjoy the honor of picking earrings for each of my bridesmaids.  It’s amazing how you can identify earrings to match a specific personality. I think I did a good job!  I cannot properly explain what it felt like to wear a combination of over $600,000 of fine jewelry.  Some of us wore over 100 carats of diamonds!  Colin Magero was also there to help me style the jewelry.  He is a renowned stylist in LA and I was honored to have him there to help me pick out the amazing Bling!   You know… everyone calls me the “Bling Girl”, because i love wearing jackets, shirts, jeans and hats with rhinestones on them.  But rhinestones don’t even come close to the fantastic Diamonds that Erica Courtney gave us to wear!!

I was so excited for the next location when we got to taste test wedding cakes!  The greatest joy about that day was sharing the experience with our three amazing boys.  How many parents actually get to have their kids help them taste test the wedding cake?  It was so much fun!  The best part of that experience was when Diann Valentine asked Jaden (our youngest) if he was excited to be tasting the cake. He answered, ‘Well, you wanna know the real truth?  I don’t like cake.”  It was so funny!!! So they gave him a big bowl of the frosting with crunchy candies on top instead! 🙂

The last location was at Diann Valentine’s office. It was cool to walk in her Chic office and there was Youngsong Martin of Wildflower Linen.  She creates and designs the linens for the White House! What an honor!  It was so much fun picking out linens and flowers that we liked.  We all found out that Mike has great taste and a good sense of designer taste!  Way to go, Mikey!  The linens, centerpieces, candles, flowers and decorations looked amazing at the wedding.

The whole experience led up to the last day, “The Wedding!”  We had no idea where the ceremony and reception were going to take place.  I was blind folded in a limo with all of my bridesmaids and was led by Diann Valentine up to the dressing room of the venue. I don’t know if I was more excited to be taking off the blind fold or drinking the awesome champagne that was handed to me.  I proceeded to have a great time with the girls talking, laughing, drinking champagne and getting makeup and hair done by “Hair Comes the Bride.” The pampering was enjoyed by all and everyone looked fabulous afterwards!

The time finally came and I was blindfolded waiting behind the curtain.  I waited for the cameras and music to start.  The curtain opened and there was the aisle and my handsome 8 yr old son, Jaden in a black tuxedo with an arm behind the back and the other arm outstretched waiting for me to walk toward him and grab his hand. About 10 feet further down the aisle was my gorgeous 12 yr old son, JC, with and outstretched arm waiting for me.  And finally at the end of the aisle was our breathtaking oldest son, Chase waiting with an outstretched arm and all three of my boys led me to my husband Mike. It will go down as one of the most touching experiences in my life.

The ceremony was beautiful, even as the sweat poured down Mike’s face! He was such a trouper as he sweated underneath his sleek tuxedo, top hat, and all of those scorching lights!

We entered the reception at the “Taglyan Cultural Center” in LA. It was breathtaking!  The amazing chandeliers, lights and fantastic decorations blew us away. There was a 24carat dance floor, amazing tables with beautiful flowers, candles, linens and table settings.  It was an Old Hollywood theme with tables named after famous Hollywood actresses and actors. The name cards read “Best Actor” and “Best Actress”.  It was definitely a night where everyone felt like a star!  We enjoyed the photo shoot by Mike Colon set up with old Hollywood sets.  The pictures turned out amazing.  I only wish we were given some pictures.  We are still working on that.  We had our first dance listening to the talented Chaz Sheperd sing live at the reception!  Diann was a blessing to us as she guided us through the reception. She became my “Soul Sista and Sista from Anotha Mista!” We share the same faith, love for God, love for life and always striving to be the best we can be!

We will NEVER forget Diann Valentine and the staff of “I Do Over!” D Micah Lindsey, Kat, Riann, Matt, Ryan, Krisha, Colin, Leo and everyone! You gave our family a dream come true experience as we have had to overcome a lot.  My dad actually had a heart attack during the Do Over and refused to go to the hospital.  He thought he might have been dehydrated.  A week later, back at home, he had a more serious heart attack.  God was watching over him and he is doing well after surgery. Unfortunately, Mike’s brother passed away unexpectedly a month ago so we continue to climb through life’s hurdles.

The “Do Over” has definitely been the highlight of our past year and the memories will be embedded in our hearts forever!  We cannot wait for the premiere and I am sure we will be holding a “I Do Over” Premiere Party!!!”

Thank you WE tv, Diann Valentine and the staff of “I Do Over” for the once in lifetime experience to say “I Do again” to my wonderful husband and even better…with our three amazing boys right there to experience it with us! Memories for a lifetime! XOXO