Joy and Andre

These two were taller than the Empire State Building. Sandy and I headed to Belvedere Castle in Central Park where Gino had planned the ultimate fairy tale wedding with a twist of Hip Hop.

The guests were traveling from out of town on a bus to New York. The bus ended up breaking down so that pushed the wedding back.

While Sandy was escorting guests to the castle from the street, Gino and I were at the wedding site taking care of last minute details. While doing so there was some drama that was not caught on camera. When the castle was closing down to the public there was one BIG guy that refused to come down. We had no idea what he was capable of, so NYPD evacuated everyone off the premises until they got him down. This put the ceremony behind even further. Once the police had the situation under control, Sandy showed up with the bride along with the bridesmaids.

You never know when you are going to be thrown a curveball. Anything can happen!

Despite all that the ceremony was beautiful. She got her fairy tale wedding and Andre got a Hip Hop surprise. We had a rapper perform at the end of the ceremony.

To end this fairy tale wedding we put Andre and Joy in a horse and carriage for a romantic ride though Central Park.

Belinda and Jerry

Poor Belinda and Jerry. Mother Nature was not on their side that day.

Their wedding was at the Worlds Fair Unisphere located in Queens. The weather started out perfect. As we were setting up we got word that a storm was heading our way. The clouds started to roll in and it was getting dark fast.

Sandy was with the bride helping her get dressed while I was helping Gino with the guests. Belinda was waiting for her sisters who were her bridesmaids to arrive because they had her shoes and bra. Wouldn’t you think the bride would have these already with her?

Everything was in place minus the bridesmaids: Now we were just waiting for the girls to show up. We found out Belinda’s sisters were lost in the park nowhere to be found and thunder and lightning was setting in. At that point Gino made the executive decision that we had to start the ceremony. OK, here we go with no bridesmaids, and a shoeless and braless bride. One thing you didn’t get to see is that Gino grabbed some guests to stand in as the bridal party. Brilliant! As soon as they were pronounced husband and wife it poured and we all ran for the hills. Isn’t it good luck when it rains on your wedding day?

Joy and Andrea

This was a long day for everyone. From the bus full of guests breaking down, bridesmaids emotions running high, to trying to get Joy’s mother there in time. Like I said it was a long day.

It was so brilliant how Gino merged each of their visions together for their wedding theme- fairy tale and hip hop. My role was to get all the guests from curbside and take them to the Belvedere Castle in Central Park where the wedding was taking place. I made numerous trips back and forth. It’s no short walk people and I had over a dozen blisters to prove it.

But the ceremony went beautifully with the violinist and then surprising them with the rapper. At the end of the ceremony Marisa and I put them in a horse and carriage ride for one last element. We had a graffiti artist create a “Just Married” sign to put on back of the carriage as a small wedding gift to Joy and Andrea. Like I said it was such a long day that our nerves were also shot. So when it came down to who was putting the sign on the back of the carriage Marisa and I had a spat. It was silly. At that point we just had enough of each other. (Uh hum, I ended up putting the sign on the carriage.)

Belinda & Jerry

All we needed were chairs for this location, that’s it. The World’s Fair – The Unisphere had such a strong presence that nothing else was needed. On the day of the wedding I was assigned to help Belinda get in her dress and to help her with any last minute touches.

I’ll admit this is not the easiest location to get to so needless to say her sisters that were her bridesmaids got lost. They were not only late, but had Belinda’s shoes, bra and “something blue”. Meanwhile the heavens above were about to open any minute and give us the thunderstorm of the century. The dark clouds were rolling in and the wind was picking up rapidly. At that point we had to start but she refused to come out of the trailer without her shoes, bra and something blue. I tried so hard to persuade her, which then led to begging. I finally said if you want to get married then you need to boogie now or there’s not going to be a wedding! She finally gave up and married Jerry shoeless, braless, and blueless. But I think she was more upset that her sisters weren’t present at the ceremony than she was about her missing shoes and bra.

Bridal Tip 101: If you put your family or friends in charge of any of the personal belongings that you’re going to need on the day of your wedding, make sure they travel with you!

Did I hear that right? Linda proposed to Curtis? The bride proposed to the groom? Tonight’s big question is how many brides would be OK with having to propose to their groom? Linda is a force of nature and Curtis is one of the funniest grooms I’ve ever met. They needed more help to get her mother on board with this wedding so that’s where we started. When Catherine Angel, an AMAZING jeweler at de Simone jewelers in Greenwich Village, came on board to help me with Curtis’ ring I knew this was going to be good.

To bridge the gap between Curtis and Linda’s mother I thought it would be cool for us to spend a little time in China Town, that way Curtis could really immerse himself in the Chinese culture. Hopefully Linda’s mom can come around and see what a GREAT guy Curtis is and how hard he is trying. We had a blast together that day, learning about the color red and how it’s good luck in Chinese. I never knew that!

Everything was coming together until Curtis changed wedding locations in a New York minute …but it turned out to be really cool…I can’t believe I married a couple in the back of a vintage yellow taxi going over the Brooklyn Bridge ….now that’s a strike!

Alison and Skip have quite the back story. She was married to a woman and met Skip, while he was working at home depot. Somehow that meeting changed both their lives in huge ways! My life as a wedding planner is never boring! I’m not sure they loved my “ride” but I loved theirs. They seem like a cool California couple to me even though they are from Long Island. Alison and Skip do everything together. They enjoy each other’s company so much that we all went dress shopping together. That was a first… to have the groom dress shopping. Can you believe the first dress she tried on was the winner?

Skip owns his own business; it’s a contracting company so I thought, let’s get them to do something I have never done before with a bride and groom. I got Sam who owns a metal working studio to let Alison and Skip design their rings. That was super cool! When Alison said she wasn’t nervous at all, she just wanted to be married, I just knew I needed to pick up the pace and marry these two love birds. Ok, did you see them read their vows off of their iphones! Alison and Skip I know you’re going to be very happy… SEND!

Belinda and Jerry. He’s Puerto Rican & African American and she’s Haitian; there must be a lot of fire and passion in that relationship. Just don’t mention a super hero ice sculpture to Belinda! I took them on a helicopter ride which was amazing!!! While we were scouting for them all I kept thinking about were future Ultimate USA Wedding locations. By the time we landed they had decided on a Queens’ location, the Unisphere, one of New York’s most iconic structures and we booked it immediately for their wedding. It is the world’s largest global structure, rising 140 feet and weighing 700,000 pounds. The Unisphere was conceived and constructed as the theme symbol of the 1964–1965 New York World’s Fair. The theme of the World’s Fair was “Peace through Understanding” and boy when we get to the end of the episode you’ll know why that line came in handy.

Belinda seemed stressed about her dress, glad the girls we’re there to help out. We had a stellar wedding location, chairs, violinist, and flowers. All my vendors came through and made the trip out to the Queens in all that Friday summer traffic. I still didn’t have Belinda’s bridesmaids, who had her shoes! What we did have was a MAJOR storm 20 minutes away! Honestly this was very stressful. Do I call off the wedding? Try to find a last minute backup location? Belinda wanted an outdoor location. I love doing outdoor weddings but every bride should consider the weather.

We couldn’t wait for the bridesmaids any longer. The police were shutting down the park, so Belinda walked that aisle in her bare feet. I really admire her, she had a crazy moment but then realized it’s about the person you’re marrying not your shoes!

Joy and Andre met in a chat room… well, that’s what Joy’s son said! I marry a lot of couples who met online… who cares where you meet someone. Love is love and I’m all for it!

Cinderella was the theme for their wedding, only it was less than 24 hours away which was a bit of a challenge …. I knew I could use Central Park as my backdrop I just didn’t know if they were going to like it or not. Andre is a New Yorker and he’s easy to work off of. That’s the beauty of us New Yorkers, you always know where you stand. We are very straight forward people and I know the rest of America might think we’re a little brash… we’re unique and very clear on what we want!

They LOVED Belvedere Castle, which by the way means beautiful views in Italian. It was the perfect fairy tale location. I will go off my diet anytime for some of Sylvia’s food in Harlem … now that’s New York!

Poor Joy. She was supposed to de-stress at that facial salon. But between the bus breaking down on its way up from Maryland and those bridesmaids I thought she was going to have a breakdown. I ran into the bridesmaids in the hotel bar and told them to back off my bride. Excuse me but aren’t bridesmaids supposed to have a bride’s back? Fired! That’s what I was thinking. On the morning of the wedding Andre looked like he’d been out all night; I felt like his father giving him a lecture on “your wedding day behavior.” Central Park never looked better. All their family and friends made it. Andre’s vows were poetic and the surprise rapper pulled it off at the end.

Cinderella with a rapper…only in New York.

Tim & Katie “Cookoo Bananas” …… I just love saying that!
Yes, people, opposites do attract and I’ve got them on my #MMNYC radar. Tim is warm and fuzzy and Katie is driving that car and their relationship.

She’s a singer and performer and wants a big theatrical church wedding. So I took them to the cathedral of Saint John the Divine on the upper west side, it’s the largest cathedral in NYC, and one of the largest in the world. They loved it! However, all I kept thinking was that she was seeing more of the acoustics, lighting, and kind of like a performance of a Broadway show and not her wedding. How do you tell a bride she’s going to have a “Sound of Music” wedding without the Von Traps? Ugh! They would just get lost in that big church. Besides they only had 20 guests and the cathedral seats over 10,000. The easiest thing in the world would be for me to just say, “You’re happy, I’m happy,” but I just COULDN’T do that! I just wanted to show her one more location… one that only Katie could pull off. It’s theatrical, original, has lots of energy, oh and a built in audience… Times Square! Having a wedding in the middle of Times Square during rush hour is a logistical nightmare BUT it just seemed so perfect for Katie and Tim.

New York weddings can be over whelming, especially when you’re from out of town. You need someone who knows the city like the back of their hand to help navigate you through it and I don’t mean a GPS… I was worried but they saw my vision… every wedding has a moment and Katie and Tim got one of New York’s biggest!!!!

Cassandra and Joko, now there are a lot of air miles in that relationship! They met at college, he followed her from his home town NYC to Texas and back to NYC … you have to love love!
I know they had their hearts set on Top Of the Rock as a wedding location (it’s really my favorite place to marry couples), but Cassandra had way too many guests and it wasn’t going to happen. We have a strong relationship with World Yacht so I got Marisa to start dialing. Getting married cruising along on the Hudson, on a private yacht and having all of New York as your back drop is an incredible opportunity. We got the location locked down but Cassandra’s mother …NOT! Ugh, time to change HATS and stop being a wedding planner and start being a wedding therapist. I knew if I could get Joko to have an honest, emotional conversation with Cassandra’s mother, she would realize these two are definitely in love. Besides I knew if we could just get Cassandra’s mother to the yacht there was no way she was going to be able to get off unless she planned on doing laps in the Hudson River. Joko needed to step up and make it happen and I was super proud of him. He did it with grace and respect.

What did you guys think of Cassandra and Joko’s vows? To me they were so emotional and both families got to hear how they felt about the other. What can I say except a blessing is a blessing? At the last minute they decided they wanted their minister to co officiate… go Jose Lopez! He was great but as I looked out the window I had a NY moment and stole the B&G and married them right in front of the Statue of Liberty. A classic image and beautiful moment they will always remember. …

Note to all future grooms… don’t forget your marriage license!

Meritza and Kyle

These two fashionistas know what they want. I like that! They originally wanted their wedding at 5 points in Queens being surrounded by amazing graffiti. I have to admit it was pretty unique but I knew Gino would come up with an even better location…a runway wedding. Hello! I couldn’t wait to start coordinating this one. I knew this wedding was going to be non-stop for all of us and was looking forward to seeing everything come together.

Meritza teaches pole dancing and Gino wanted us to set up a meeting with her at her studio. But then he decided to drag us with him in work out attire, which meant only one thing. Oy! E for effort Marisa and Gino! In all it was a good meeting, we got all the answers we needed.

Gino made some calls and was able talk Korto in making Meritza’s wedding dress. We were all beyond thrilled! How cool is that? On the day of revealing Korto’s wedding dress to Mertiza both Marisa and I were sweating it out. She was either going to love it or hate it. And she LOVED IT as you all saw!

Lights! Camera! Action! Wedding is on, and she walked the walk. You go Meritza! She looked like a model bride as she strutted her stuff down the aisle. I’ve never felt so much high energy all under one roof. I hope Meritza and Kyle keep their relationship this exciting. You two keep doing what you are doing.

Abigail & David

These two people are beautiful on the inside and out. I have never met a couple so much in love. Yes they’re young but when you know it, you know it.

Gino had Marisa and I meet Abigail and David at the airport. Since it was their first time in NYC and her first time on a plane, he wanted us to make sure they felt right at home. I’m glad we met them because she was shaking like a leaf when I shook her hand. But I reassured her she was now on land and that she could breathe.

I was really amazed by Abigail’s beauty and gorgeous body art. Since both of them had never been to NYC before, I knew in the back of my mind, they had to be married at a major iconic landmark. So when Gino suggested Grand Central Station, I was so excited for them. This building is truly my favorite landmark in all of Manhattan.

Gino decided to have their wedding at Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse in GCS that overlooked the concourse. Ok truly one of the most beautiful brides I have ever seen walk through those doors. When she made her grand entrance, everyone just stopped to look at her- even the people who were running to catch their trains.

They both showed so much emotion while they were getting married. This wedding will go down in my book of favorites.

Katie and Tim

Gino called this one out. This bride was sooo focused on the performance and entertainment rather than her actual wedding ceremony itself. He finally brought her down to earth and basically told her the cathedral wouldn’t be a good venue for her wedding due to the massive space. Tooooo big.

He finally found the perfect location for them. Since Katie loves to sing and perform, he chose Time Square for the wedding location. She had the neon lights, the big crowd AND she was center stage in the middle of Time Square! This bride and groom had it all.

The day of the wedding I was at the hotel making sure the Bride had everything she needed and Sandy was with the groom. I got the call from Gino he needed us ASAP in Time Square to help him set up the island where Katie and Tim were getting married. We hopped in a cab and rushed over to help him but as soon as we arrived, it was already done. Leave it to Gino to grab some tourists to help out. Free labor!

As soon as the bride and groom arrived I actually took off for another wedding we had later that day in Central Park. So unfortunately I missed Katie and Tim’s wedding ceremony. But from what Gino and Sandy told me it was exactly what they wanted. Now that’s a performance!

Cassaundra and Joko

The bride is from Texas! My people! This couple was so in love….nothing was going to stop them from getting married in NYC. We basically walked into this wedding with some drama already brewing up. Cassaundra’s mom wasn’t too happy about the two of them getting married. She thought they weren’t ready to take the big plunge and also bumped heads with Joko. Yikes! Joko was determined to make things right with his mother-in-law to be before his big day.

We met Cassaundra one day to shop for bridesmaids’ dresses. As soon as she walked in with NO bridesmaids I was like, uh oh, something is wrong with this picture. She didn’t really tell us exactly what was going on but it was obvious she was struggling with some major family problems. Good ‘ole Sandy was trying to be nosy as hell and was asking her all these questions but she didn’t quite give us the info we were looking for.

On the wedding day and we ended up taking off past our departure time due to “missing sisters” drama, but overall it was a great ceremony. Gino did get hit with a small surprise though. Cassaundra and Joko brought an “extra’ minister of their own and failed to mention it to Gino until he was standing next to him. Gino asked ‘who are you’?? It was quite funny actually. Gino had to share the spotlight with another officiant but the ceremony all worked out smoothly.

Although they originally wanted Top of the rock for their wedding, these two still got the view! They got the skyline of Manhattan AND the Statue of Liberty-BONUS. It doesn’t get any better than that.

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?

Suit √
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.

Kira and Damien

Gino gave this couple their dream wedding at Coney Island. They love the beach and they wanted something by the water. They’re both unemployed so I think they were relying on Gino to give them all that they wished for.

And bam! Once again Gino pulled though. He got them rings, a sunset ceremony on the beach and he incorporated the bride’s son Nicholas (who is adorable by the way) in the ceremony somehow some way. The day of the wedding Gino had Sandy and I set up the Pergola on the beach. Ok, I know we are not the tallest peeps but this set up was a little bit of a challenge! We had to hang shell decorations from the top and Sandy could barely reach it. She was even on a ladder and still struggled with it. And did I mention she was even wearing platform shoes?? It’s so nice to be a half inch taller than my sis. We got it done and at the end it came together beautifully. It was the perfect setting for a sunset beach wedding.

After the ceremony took place we all ended up taking a ride on The Cyclone. I DO NOT do roller coasters at all! I’m scared of heights and riding a rollercoaster wasn’t on my agenda. But I bit the bullet and decided to do it just for Kira, Damien, and Nicholas. Who ever was sitting in front of me I probably made them deaf with all the screaming that came out of my mouth.

Sade and Aaron

We dealt more with the groom than we did with the bride. The bride was always MIA. She was always working so tracking her down was extremely hard. So Gino had Sandy and I meet Aaron at the tuxedo shop to see if we could get some answers for their wedding day. Poor guy, he didn’t know a thing. We asked him about flowers, limousine, hair and makeup etc. and even asked about his vows but again he had no clue. We totally tagged team him and hope we didn’t bombard him with too many questions. But at the end of the day it’s our job to get as many answers as we can so we can plan the perfect wedding.

It was hard enough chasing Sade for some wedding answers so that raised the question, how often do they see each other? It was a sweet gesture for Gino to set up the suite at Hotel Giraffe for a lunch date so they could spend some quality time together. My big question is which lasagna did Aaron like the best?

Their wedding day at Hotel Giraffe was exactly what they wanted, from the location to the set up to soaking in the Manhattan view.

Cheers to Sade and Aaron!

Melissa & Jerry

When I first met Melissa and Jerry I could sense right away they had a strong bond and connection. But when I learned that Melissa lost her father a year ago just 2 weeks before their wedding my heart melted. I, too, lost my dad 16 years ago and to this day I miss my “shorty” to pieces, but I know he’s with me every moment. So Gino and I (Gino having lost his father too) both felt we had to pay some sort of special tribute to her father during the ceremony.

When Gino landed the perfect location for Melissa and Jerry’s wedding, the Brooklyn Bridge Park, I thought “historical, vintage, outdoors” can’t get any better than this. Then Marisa got an email from Parks and Recreation that there was a sink hole there due to weather. She told me right after she received the news; after all, I was sitting right across from her. But she didn’t forward the email to Gino right away because she wanted to tell him in person that afternoon when we all met up. OOPS! Not a good idea. Next time Mother Nature decides to rain on our parade, alert Gino ASAP. But thank the wedding gods above for Pebble Beach!

In the scene where the balloon escaped from my hands and flew away, I really was mortified, I wanted to vomit. You didn’t see it on camera but I looked at Marisa and gave her look like I “God I wish I were you right now!” We did manage to get another balloon – yeah! When it was time for the ceremony to begin, I was in charge of the “munchkin” wedding party. It’s funny because whenever there are kids involved in a wedding party, Gino and Marisa always say, “Sandy will handle.” When the moment came of letting go of the balloon dedicated to Melissa’s father, we gathered her mom and sisters around. It was such a touching moment for all of us. They have a great story to tell…and will continue to add on to their story (hopefully having little munchkins of their own).

Lisa and Ross

Lisa is a serial marry-er with 3 marriages already under her belt and the 4th counting. One thing Ross said about Lisa is that she changes her mind often. Really!? Lisa has such a magnetic personality, so full of life, so beautiful, what man wouldn’t fall in love with her? I hope it stops here with Ross because he’s such a sweet and down-to-earth guy. Gino put me in charge of decorating the wedding venue, which I so love to do. I didn’t want to go overboard with the decorations because the rooftop’s backdrop already provided such a beautiful setting.

On the day of their wedding Gino and I had a quick pow-wow on how he envisioned the layout of the space. He was literally climbing over every piece of furniture trying to convey his “vision.” Meanwhile I was chuckling to myself thinking, “Wow, you are like King Kong the Wedding Planner right now!” But I stayed focused. Marisa wasn’t present because she was working another wedding. But I certainly had everything under control. In moments like this it’s good to have Marisa there because Gino is sometimes like the Tasmanian Devil. He throws out idea after idea, so if I happen to miss something, Marisa will catch it and vice versa. Once again, Mama Sandy took control of the ‘tween wedding party. I love that part!

Overall, Lisa and Ross’s wedding was so magical from her dress, to her walk down the isle with her son Anthony and even to their “special” dance. It certainly was their “New York wedding moment.”