For some forty years my father came home for lunch everyday at the same time. For as long as I can remember, we ate supper at 6:00: my father; my mother; my brother; myself; …and the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. It was the way he did things, the way he rolled, and it wasn’t much fun. Truth be known, it was awful, and really boring. I can remember sitting through mealtime (as there was little personal or relevant discussion that was ever going to happen) swearing to myself, “When I grow up I will never do this!” When I would grow older, there would be animated conversations that included all members of the family, as well as focused discussions covering the issues of the day!” All without the tv.
Had I known my wife back then she probably would have said, “Yeah well good luck with that pal!” And her voice would have been prescient. At the end of the day, we do the best we can, and make things work the best we can for the lives we strive to create and build, and then finally end up with. Best laid intentions just don’t always add up the way we want them to, so we… adapt. For us, for myself, this has meant letting go a lot, and not forcing my idea onto a situation, not forcing the square block through the round hole if you will. At the end of the day, what is important for us, is not so much the notion of a conventional family dinner , as much as it is just being together. And success at this often involves honestly taking into account who we are as people. A robust discussion of the events of the day would be great, it’s just not happening with this family. So we talk about what we can, with whom we can, when we can. Sometimes there’s three, more often there are two, and sometimes one. We roll from fast food after practices, to pizzarias when friends sleep over, to meals in front of hockey games, breakfasts downstairs, sometimes in bed watching movies, in the car on the run, to occasionally, if not rarely at the dining room table. And even though the ‘take-out’ volume at times is globetrotting high covering, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Tex-Mex, etc., the actual eating is ‘take-in’, as in taking in one-another: sometimes with a conversation; sometimes with a word or joke; sometimes a monologue; sometimes a smile; and sometimes with a book or pet.
So, I guess what I am saying is that I have grown to revise expectations, and become as accepting as I can, realizing that the recipe in the book for family meals is not one that anyone in our family can eat. It’s like we’re vegan. Different. I always loved the painter Jasper John’s quote about painting. It was something like, “after you’ve finished change it, then change it again, then keep changing it…” I always took this to mean don’t be afraid of doing something else to make it right. And that’s what we do.
Meritza and Kyle
A fashion show wedding ceremony on a runway and Kotko designing Meritza’s wedding dress… All mind blowing.
Gino, Sandy and I paid a visit to Meritza’s studio where she teaches pole dancing. Yes, we showed up wearing the wrong gear. We were dressed more for a yoga class. The first thing she asked us was “where are your shorts?” It was comical to see all of us try to “climb the pole.” I think I found my new career. Then we finally got down to business as we were “rolling it out.”
Wedding day was chaotic. The scene was fast paced, filled with high energy and you could feel the adrenaline in that show room. There was a little bit of drama. The groom’s tuxedo hadn’t arrived yet. There I was running in my Manolos on the cobblestone streets of NYC trying to track it down. We finally did and after that it was show time. Mertiza and Kyle got the wedding of a lifetime. And thank you Kotko for a ‘one of a kind’ stunning dress!
Abigail and David
This couple had never been to the big apple before let alone on an airplane. So Sandy and I met the couple at the airport so we could make sure they got their luggage and see them off in a taxi.
As soon as I met them I knew they were the perfect couple. Abigail was covered with loads of tattoos on her neck and chest. She certainly took major pride of her tattoos. All of her body art had a true meaning behind it and that’s what made it beautiful.
Gino took the Bride and Groom plus the entire family on a NYC bus tour since none of them had visited the city before. Gino went back to his roots and was their personal tour guide for the day. Go Gino! The big finale of the trip was surprising them with their iconic wedding location, Grand Central Station.
It was a busy day and unfortunately I was unable to make their ceremony because I had another wedding. Having watched the episode on TV, I was so impressed and floored at how beautiful their wedding turned out to be. Gosh, I only can imagine how she felt walking through Grand Central Station knowing all eyes were on her. It’s a day they both will never forget and I’m sure NYC will be expecting many more visits from these two!
When I first met Meritza I had to take her “pole dancing class.” Did you notice I was the only guy there? I have a new respect for anyone who works with a pole. Even the telephone repair guy, firemen… I mean it took so much energy and all I wanted to do was talk about her wedding! The things you do for business! Kyle and Meritza have great energy; they are very down to earth but their first choice for a wedding location…you know the place by the trains and the bus depot, Five Points? It looked like a Nike factory gone wild!
I could see a photo shoot there, just not Meritza and Kyle’s wedding. I bet their parents will thank me for that.
Am I crazy thinking I could set Kyle and Meritza’s wedding in the middle of a runway show during the height of fashion week? It just seemed so right. It’s their world. And I was out of my mind to let Michael the “runway coach” talk me into a pair of heels. I will NEVER complain about a bride not moving fast enough again. That wedding on the runway blew it out of the universe for me, and was it me or did Kyle and Meritza seem completely cool and runway like? Her dress looked beautiful and so did Kyle’s $800 sneakers. I was soooo nervous, could you tell?
Fashion show √
Runway wedding √
Happy couple √
David is so totally in love with Abigail and tells her constantly in the tape, and throughout the whole show you could see their connection. I love the fact that they are my “virgin New Yorkers.” Little did they know I used to be a NYC tour guide. I thought, OK, let’s really show them the city.
That tour was a blast! And a flash back for me: I gave them my uptown and downtown tour in 4 hours. But when I pulled up to their wedding location and showed them Grand Central Station Abigail got so emotional. It was a very sincere moment or “happy tears” as Abigail called it. I have to confess, I’m always nervous when I show brides different wedding locations. I want it to be everything they always dreamed of but couldn’t put their finger on. It’s like finding a needle in a hay stack and we found it!
For me it’s really personal because I grew up in Westchester, NY and my parents used to take me down to “the city” as we called it ever since I can remember. We usually took the train so as a little boy to see that huge amazing terminal and to walk right past the same place that Abigail and David were married was a big wow factor for me. I got chills watching tonight’s episode.
This is a couple that is seriously meant to be together as husband and wife. Many people ask me if the stories, conflicts and drama in this season of My Fair Wedding are true or if we created the drama to make better television. I can confidently say that the drama between the mother and her daughter that arose from the issues Darlene had with not being able to have her uncle walk her down the aisle, to the mother not agreeing with the decisions that were being made for the wedding, to threatening not to go to her daughter’s wedding, to then threatening to leave the wedding because Uncle Steve walked Darlene down the aisle was all true. In fact, to be quite honest, much of what you see in this episode needed to be softened because the drama was so intense. But to me, the drama needed to materialize and then be chucked off to the side so that my bride could truly have a wonderful wedding.
My bride Darlene deserved every single thing she received and more. I wanted to make sure she looked and felt gorgeous as she had challenges finding a wedding dress that she felt comfortable in with her body type, to taking a concept that was really outside the box (a Las Vegas themed wedding) and not throwing it away but embracing it and executing it, which we did and really allowed her to become the center of attention. Every time I was with her family, Robin, the mother of the bride, truly seemed to draw the attention away from her daughter. I wasn’t quite sure why until I was with Robin’s mom (Darlene’s grandmother) who made it clear that Robin was probably jealous that her daughter was having this big wedding and receiving this gorgeous experience. I felt very responsible as a wedding planner and Darlene’s friend to give her everything she deserved and to put the drama to the side (because it was never going away completely) so that I could at least create a moment of peace on that one day, her wedding day, and that’s exactly what Darlene got on her special day.
Rachel and Brendon. Wow is all I can say. It was a roller coaster ride from the moment I met Rachel and Brendon to the moment I said goodbye…well, it was actually really hard to say goodbye to my bride under a bar, passed out…I knew I was in for a crazy ride since they were reality stars, and for me it was challenging because I never quite knew if my bride and groom were real, or if they were just real reality stars–that’s different. Someone who is so used to be on reality television, they’re going to know what to turn on what they need to do for the cameras and that’s what made it hard to get to know who they were as a bride and groom. But as time went on and I got a chance to see a little bit more of Brendon and Rachel, they weren’t that bad. They were fun, they were real, they were honest, emotional, over-the-top, dramatic and everything you’d expect them to be, but for me it was kind of interesting because Rachel did bug me. She pushed me to do things I really didn’t want to do; some of the decisions that were made for her wedding were ones that I would never normally do for my bride. For example, putting her in an Aerial Lyra (a circular suspended hoop), floating overhead as the guests walked into her reception–a bit comical and not as elegant as I typically like my bride to be. Even the first dance as bride and groom was over-choreographed. They were trying to overachieve a retrospective dance throughout history. It was something I would highly recommend my bride and groom not to do, but there was no telling the two of them no. They were always going for shock value which is how they won Big Brother and how they tried to win Amazing Race. I did remind my bride and groom that there were rules to this game on My Fair Wedding and if they didn’t want to play by them, they were not going to get a David Tutera My Fair Wedding.
Ultimately, great wedding, great TV, lots of drama. But boy, did Rachel pull a fast one on me the night of the wedding: hiding under the bar, drunk, in a puddle of water in a multi-thousand dollar gown. I was upset but I came to find out as someone who doesn’t watch Big Brother, Rachel Reilly is known for hiding. She hid in the ocean, under furniture, in rooms…and ultimately, on My Fair Wedding, she hid under the bar. So Rachel Reilly is definitely good at being a reality TV star.
Amber and Patrick
Crazy concept: Bollywood meets barbeque: Groom is from Texas and bride is from Los Angeles. She has this vision that she is from a past life of royalty and is obsessed with Indian culture; I didn’t quite understand that because to me you’re either Indian…or you’re not–and she’s not. BUT, she really wanted to wear a sari, she really wanted to have the styles and colors of India, including an elephant for her to arrive on, even though in the Indian culture it is the groom that arrives on an elephant. It’s called a Baraat, and that’s the arrival of the groom by the village to meet the bride for the ceremony.
So I had to weigh in and decide what was appropriate for this wedding. Do I go Texan, country? Indian culture? Do I combine them both? It really wasn’t clear to me what to do so I ended up mostly picking the Indian side, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t insulting or offending the Indian culture because the bride isn’t Indian. First of all, an Indian bride doesn’t arrive on an elephant so I cut that out. Bindi is a piece of jewelry that is worn on the forehead of an Indian bride and she wanted to do that too but I refused to allow this because she’s not Indian. However, I did give her the opportunity to wear a sari AFTER walking down the aisle in one of my gorgeous David Tutera for Mon Cheri bridal gowns. All of her bridesmaids did get to wear colorful saris as they walked down the aisle. What was interesting was that I realized that the bride and groom both deserved to have their ideas represented and I made it work. I had an outdoor, country setting for ceremony and it seemed like we were in the middle of Texas while having an Indian style wedding. I also had an Indian celebration in the middle of the country setting and then a country-western dessert dance party. It was all over the place but it all made sense.
For the record, I received the nicest gift I’ve ever received from a bride from Amber. She got me a star certified with my name which to me was one of the most touching things I’ve ever gotten from anybody, so this was a great experience for me. It was all around very complicated, right down to the past life readings we got from an oracle I brought in. Supposedly, my bride Amber was from royalty–she was an elephant during royal times in India in a past life. So, I guess she did deserve an Indian wedding.
The My Fair Wedding special includes lots of fun interactions between me and my brides that didn’t make it onto the shows. You’ll also experience some of my picks: my favorite and least favorite wedding dresses, my favorite transformations of brides, my favorite venues and more. It’s really a flashback of previous seasons and a sneak peek of what really happened on the last five seasons of My Fair Wedding.
The wedding is not a place to have a stripper and I made a commitment and a promise to myself, all brides out there and the guests, that if Bobbie Burlesque stripped at this wedding, it was my swan song and time to retire. I clearly scared the stripper out of Bobbie. I had to take the reigns, be in control and make him see that I was not going to allow it. He was rude, ungrateful and obnoxious and I’m glad I did that because I protected not only my brand, my future brides and ensured my guests would feel comfortable at this wedding, but also Sophia and Anthony.
It’s really hard to embrace a concept you don’t believe in. Learning about burlesque and that it’s not stripping (when in reality it is) and just another fancy way of taking your clothes off, was hard for me to understand. This couple fought me every which way; Sophia liked nothing I picked; she hated all of the fashion I had her try on. She didn’t like the bridesmaids dresses I picked for the girls, she didn’t like the style of the burlesque dancers I had perform on the stage. She just was not a happy person. If it was black, it was white; if it was white, it was black. But ultimately my goal was still to give her the wedding that she wanted. The crystal chandeliers hanging from every element of the rafters of the stage at the LA Theatre was the glamour that was needed. The color of the burgundy and reds and blacks and whites added the sophistication that was necessary. To me it was still important to have the energy she wanted but the sophistication that she needed. The final moment that was my most concerning of the day was when I knew I had to present to her the dress that literally was being seamed together moments before I handed it to her which was the custom, full-length red, fitted, A-line silhouette dress with crystals (mind you, Swarovski crystals) and I didn’t know if she would like it. Turns out, she did like it, Bobbie hated it, but I didn’t care about Bobbie, I only cared about Sophia, and she walked down the aisle. Now, I have to say I don’t think a bride should wear red or as much makeup as Sophia did or that a bride should have a burlesque theme: so do I agree with what I did? I did what I did because she wanted it, but I wouldn’t do it again for somebody if they asked for it.
What was most shocking at the wedding was the heartfelt gratitude that Sophia expressed as she thanked me at the end of the night. Quite frankly, I wasn’t expecting it, but I was so glad to hear it. It showed a side I hadn’t seen and was hoping to see. This was the icing on the cake and made me so glad to have been a part of her wedding.