Curtis and Linda

We all met Curtis and Linda at Chelsea Piers for a game of bowling. They are die-hard bowlers so Gino thought it would be fun to meet them and talk about their wedding details and location. I suck at bowling! Gino threw down a strike. So of course the next day he asked if we remembered his strike. Ha! Yessss Gino…

I really admire and respect Linda. She knows what she wants. This girl proposed to Curtis on his birthday. She gave him a ring and he said yes! Now that is a story. How many women out there have the courage to propose to their significant other?

But I hated to hear that her mother doesn’t approve of Curtis. Her mom is old fashioned and wanted an ‘arranged’ wedding for Linda.

The wedding ceremony was classic. Gino married them in a vintage taxi riding over the Brooklyn Bridge. AND they also got the sunset.

This was something the viewers didn’t get to see but after their ‘taxi ceremony” Gino and I then headed to another location in Brooklyn where their guests were waiting. Gino married the couple again but this time in front of family and friends.

This bride got 2 wedding ceremonies in one day. What a lucky couple!

Alison and Skip

These 2 were so into each other. Alison was married to a woman for 4 years. That ended and then Alison met Skip one random day. It was instant attraction at Home Depot! Maybe I should hit that place one of these days.

I really admire her story. She is a cancer survivor. I’m one of her biggest fans.

It was a great day at Washington Square Park. What a location to get married in! It was crowded that day in the park but the energy was lively. The ceremony went without a hitch. They read their vows to one another from their iPhones? Really?! I’m old fashioned and I would have loved to see them say their vows without the help of technology. Oh well. Thank god their iPhones didn’t go dead.

Gino put me in charge of holding a netted basket filled with butterflies. As you saw Alison and Skip released them at the end of their ceremony. They shipped these live suckers overnight FedEx in a box. Who knew you could do that?

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!

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.

Ok can we talk about tonight’s show? Two VERY different wedding locations.

One minute I’m on the cyclone roller coaster in Coney Island and the next moment in a black tie fab hotel penthouse wedding. I remember thinking when I saw the tape of Kira and Damien that there was a lot of sadness around them. When I got to meet them in person I realized Damien was really coming to terms with his father’s death and at the same time entering into his manhood by becoming a father to Kira’s son, Nicholas. On top of that, neither Kira nor Damien has a job. Come on America, we have to get OUT of this recession!!!! OK, I’m venting but this is the exact couple I want to plan a wedding for and my heart aches for them… they really need a break.

I was so glad we were able to help them out with the rings, and really want to thank Karen Karch’s Studio in the Lower East Side. I loved the moment when Damien picked out his wedding band. Wow, that was a BIG leap for him. When we met up a few days later I could clearly see the difference in him, he seemed much more confident and ready to take on the role of a father. I hope a steady job is right around the corner for him!

Can I just say it was a blast doing a wedding in Coney Island on the beach? Kira and Damien had friends and family there and I’m really glad they got that beach wedding. Plus, Nicholas and I got to ride the cyclone THREE times!!

Nathan’s hot dogs rock!!!

How do you find a venue for an intimate “Black Tie” wedding in less than two weeks?? The only way that was happening was to have major communication with my B&G, Sade and Aaron. Wishful thinking!

Sade is classic New York woman — she’s gorgeous, poised, and incredibly busy…my busiest bride ever!

I knew once I found her wedding location everything else would fall into place and she would have no problem walking down that aisle. Flawless!! Loved the dress, just what I pictured… ok but let’s back up … I could NOT track this bride down, she’s EVERYWHERE but no where I needed her! You guys didn’t even see half the footage of me running around NYC trying to find Sade to ask very important questions about her wedding.

Poor Aaron getting cornered by the twins; I told them don’t come back to the office unless you have answers. We cannot “wing a wedding.” I was relived to get them to the Hotel Giraffe penthouse to do a site inspection with me and once they signed off on it I thought Sade and Aaron needed some alone time. So I thought, let’s give them a pre, pre wedding hotel suite, champagne and lasagna. I know you’re thinking, “Gino, why did you give Sade ‘carbs’ before her wedding day??” OK, comfort food ALWAYS hits the spot and by the way did you see her rocking bod?

It was a gorgeous New York day; just enough of a breeze to turn a photographer on, cue the music and here comes the bride! There’s something very magical that happens two hundred times a year for me. The groom is in place, the guests are all standing and the bride is just about ready to take that first step and from that point on everything happens in slow motion, pure emotion. It’s a life changer. So whether it’s in a penthouse or on a beach… wherever you have your wedding, savor that moment because I promise you it will last a lifetime.

I love getting to know my couples and really getting into the nitty gritty of how they met, how they proposed and the special things they share. Melissa and Jerry are my borough couple.

He’s from Queens, she’s from Brooklyn and they decided they wanted an outdoor themed wedding in NYC…now that’s a CHALLENGE! It broke my heart that a year ago they had to cancel their wedding two weeks before the date because Melissa’s father passed away. I lost my father too and immediately felt a connection to her. My first priority was to incorporate Melissa’s father into the service …I didn’t know how but I was hell bent on making it happen. So I started brainstorming with the girls about possible locations and how to personalize their wedding. THEY ARE not the couple you find on top of the cake, THEY ARE hip and cool and slightly edgy. They like vintage cars and steel structures (well New York has a lot of that) hmm…OK!

Well we were so excited; we FINALLY nailed her wedding location. In NYC you practically need a permit to go to the bathroom, and trust me I’m a New Yorker; it can be a lot of red tape getting the perfect location legally locked down. Melissa and Jerry were going to be married with the most beautiful view of all of New York City. Then we got the e-mail about the sink hole… helloooo?! I’m a wedding planner I didn’t even know what a sink hole was and I still don’t but someday I’ll Google it. All I’m thinking about now is plan B. BTW, seriously I had no idea there was a pebble beach in Brooklyn, and I used to be a NYC tour guide. At the end of the day it wasn’t THEIR first choice and it wasn’t their second choice, but it ended up being the PERFECT location for Melissa and Jerry’s wedding. More importantly we got to pay tribute to her father, and I have to admit part of me was thinking about my dad when we let those balloons go. It was a very emotional moment for everyone.

Congratulations, Melissa and Jerry!

Lisa and Ross, what can I say, I LOVE THIS BRIDE! Even though it was her 4th wedding she acted like it was her 1st …good for her! Whether it was selecting her wedding dress, location or flowers, she never made a decision that she didn’t change later. When she finally settled on the right dress (I still loved mine Lisa!!!) the right flowers and a flawless hairstyle, she got it all right. Here’s a new Gino rule: if you are a guest at a wedding, don’t RSVP on Facebook as most brides are too busy to check their page! So when the day finally arrived, Lisa had a big surprise, there were 25 more guests, ugh! I seriously thought that the fire Marshall was going to shut us down, and I think I lost 5lbs worrying about it. This was a wedding with a lot of beautiful moments. I think one of the most touching was when Lisa asked her son Anthony to walk her down the aisle. She might have been married before but Anthony loves and believes in his mom and so do I. Lisa and Ross’s wedding vows were very real, they spoke from their hearts and I don’t think you got to see but everyone got really emotional … even the waiter cried! To me what really makes a wedding intimate is when you can stand there in front of the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with and all of their guests including that fire Marshall and speak from the heart!

I know Lisa finally found her soul mate; I could feel it …couldn’t you?

Hi Everybody I’m Gino Filippone and I’m so excited to be making couples’ wedding dreams come true on Marry Me in NYC on WE tv. As a NYC wedding planner I have now done over a thousand weddings. I don’t think one of my brides could come up with a request that would surprise me… well, at least that’s what I thought before we started shooting the show. Part of the reason I got into this business is that everybody has a romantic idea of what the perfect wedding is, and I love trying to make their dream come true.

Because we plan so many weddings a year I hired Marisa to help me to make sure every couple was getting the attention they needed. But even with Marisa we were shorthanded so she suggested I hire her sister Sandra, little did I know they were identical twins and for the first week I had no idea which one I was talking to. Luckily Sandy agreed to get highlights!

New York City weddings can run can from A to Z, some of our favorite weddings have been the least expensive and usually that’s because a bride and groom have worked with us to personalize it. I love the moment when I see in a bride’s face that we have made her wedding perfect. We believe that a priceless New York wedding doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Planning for each bride and groom IS different, and we try and personalize it for both of them but at the end of the day there’s ALWAYS a difference of opinion and usually THAT’S when the mothers come in to play. No matter how heated it gets it’s our job is to make sure there’s a happy ending.

Hopefully you’ll watch #MMNYC as Marisa, Sandy and I juggle brides, grooms, mothers, locations, weather and the added element of a film crew. A wedding is a once in a lifetime experience and every week we want you to come along to watch as our couple’s dream weddings come true. After the episodes I’d love to hear your thoughts, opinions and ideas and hopefully you’ll want us to plan your New York Wedding.

It’s my birthday this week. Or, as I’ve been calling it ever since menopause, “that time of the year.” My birthday wish would be for it to pass without anyone knowing or caring – the same way my Edgar used to treat our anniversary. I’m even jealous of people who are born on the big holidays, like Christmas Day or when Victoria’s Secret has their semi-annual Bra Event, because holidays make people forget. I wish I’d been born on December 7, 1941, but I was already out of college by then. Everything reminds me of how old I am today; from being bumped by a younger comic, to plans for a “retrospective” of my career, which just means a filmed obituary. And when Life Alert asked me to star in their new TV ad, I said, “I’m crestfallen, and I can’t get up.” Anyway, I’m tired of this birthday funk, so I’m going to New York to see if Margie can cheer me up. She even said something about the two of us getting some “ink”, but I don’t need to see my name in the paper. They’ll be printing my obituary soon enough. Cheers!

It’s my Mom’s birthday this week and she’s a complete basket case. Really, what’s the big deal about turning seventy-eight? Honestly, I’ve just been so over all that age, number-obsessive stuff ever since I turned thirty-teen. The way I look at it, you celebrate birthdays because each one marks another year you’ve cheated death. Sure, I get some funny looks at the bakery when I order birthday cakes with “You’ve Cheated Death Again!” written on them in frosting, but that’s how I feel. Now everything she sees is making Mom feel old, even our pet turtle outgrowing his tank. That’s why I’m so glad she’s going to New York for a few days because if her best friend Margie can’t cheer her up, nothing will. Mom will do some stand-up, she and Margie will have lots of fun, and hopefully Mom will come back to Cooper and me in Los Angeles with something more cheerful on her mind than planning her own funeral. Because if she doesn’t, I may have to start planning mine.

After last week’s dramatic episode, Vince and Tamar continue to recover from his sudden hospitalization. Meanwhile, Trina is getting ready for her big show in New Orleans and Mamma Braxton has some exciting news!

While visiting Towanda at her new house, Evelyn confides to her daughter that, yes, Doc has proposed! Naturally, Evelyn accepted… in her own way. BFVQuotes: “I said, ‘Well, OK. It sounds good to me.’ He got the point!” While Towanda isn’t entirely sure that her mama is ready to tie the knot, an excited Evelyn assures her baby girl that Doc is a good guy. (After 10 years of being single?! I’d say she’s more than ready.)

In New York, Vince has come out of his coma and has been released from the hospital. Because he is having trouble walking and may have to deal with future complications, the couple must remain in NYC for the time being. When her family flies in to New York to check on Tamar and Vince, Tamar admits she was upset they weren’t there when he woke up from his coma. It was the most frightened she has ever been, and she felt completely alone for an entire month. The women defend themselves, because they do have their own lives and can’t always be around when something goes wrong. The ladies leave an upset Tamar to go shopping, except for Towanda, who sticks around. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m going to have to side with Tamar on this one.

As Trina packs for a show in New Orleans, she is bubbling over with excitement at performing her solo material for the first time ever, and during her birthday weekend! Naturally, her and Gabe get into an argument over her leaving him and the kids for a few days. He cheated, then she cheated, then he cheated. When are these two going to head to Splitsville for good… seriously? It’s painful to watch.

Over lunch in NYC, Tamar tells Towanda that she longs to go home to LA, but she can’t until Vince’s health improves and he is cleared to fly. BFVQuotes: “Now that he’s out of the hospital, we’re in this apartment until he is able to fly back home… which could be weeks or even another month stuck here in miserable-ass New York City.” Tamar confesses that they have not one, but two apartments because she has accumulated so much stuff, thanks to an exorbitant amount of retail therapy. We’re talking furniture, clothes, shoes, handbags, even three flat-screen TVs. Towanda (bless her heart!) offers to help return a lot of this stuff while Tamar takes Vince to his doctor’s appointment. BFVQuotes: “I just got done being Toni Braxton’s assistant, and I am not about to be Tamar Braxton’s assistant. Hell no. But I am going to go ahead and help her with a few things, and then I am gonna take me a trip to a galaxy far, far away from this mess.”

At Tamar’s temporary apartment, Towanda compares the mess to an episode of Hoarders. (C’mon, Towanda. It’s not that bad!) When Tamar starts rambling, Towanda worries that her sister has officially gone over the edge. At this point, I’m kinda worried, too! BFVQuotes: “I’m just tryin’ to be a good wife, and I just don’t understand what’s goin’ on in my life right now. I just went to TJ Maxx and all these stores to buy, like, home goods sh*t, and, you know, and we don’t have a home!”

Meanwhile, on the way to NoLa, Trina expresses her anxiety at finally performing her original songs to a live audience. Once the band arrives to the wedding reception gig, Trina’s anxiety turns into full-on stage fright. Despite her fears, the pop songs are well received, and Trina even pulls out some Britney Spears-like dance moves! I’m impressed… what do y’all think? BFVQuotes: “I was up there on the stage, and the band was hot. The people were dancin’ like crazy. But 275 uncoordinated white people in the crowd… I think it just really threw me off. I feel like I could have done a better job.” Um, if this white girl had been dancing, it would have been a different story. Just sayin’.

After the show, a disappointed Trina and her band head to Bourbon Street for a boozylicious birthday celebration. Trina admits that she doesn’t get much support from her family and that her band is currently her only safety net. Boo hoo, Trina.

In NYC, the doctor is happy with Vince’s progress, but he still needs to wait two weeks to travel home to Los Angeles. It is revealed he has a genetic abnormality that makes him form clots more than other people, which is something he will need to live with for the rest of his life. When Tamar hears this, she inquires about having children. BFVQuotes: “Since he has a genetic situation going on, is there something we can do? Would it make the child at risk more if we have Popsicle babies?” The doctor also suggests that Tamar’s irrational behavior could be a symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and that she should talk to a therapist. (Um, calling Dr. Sherry!)

Over dinner in New York at Ben Benson’s Steakhouse, Evelyn gathers the girls (and brother Michael on speaker phone) to reveal her exciting news — she’s getting married to Doc! BFVQuotes: “I know it’s a shock for my kids for me to get remarried, but when the time is right, and the man is right, let’s go for it.”

Tamar later visits holistic psychotherapist Marcy Cole Ph.D and she leaves the appointment feeling much, much better.  BFVQuotes: “My family is always on my case that I think about myself too much. But now I’ve got medical orders that I need to focus on myself. I think this may be my favorite doctor’s visit ever.”

Your thoughts — is Evelyn really ready for marriage? What, if anything, makes someone ready for such a commitment? And what does Tamar need to do in order to deal with her PTSD? Comment!

Exciting news!  When you pledge to volunteer  24 hours for your favorite cause in 2010, you could win a trip to New York City!  You can Pledge 24 in 2010 on the WE Volunteer site by filling out a simple form with your name, contact information, and the name of the organization you’re pledging to give 24 hours of your time to in 2010.

By taking the pledge, you’ll be entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip for two to New York City to attend a red carpet movie premiere, and after party. You’ll stay two nights at a boutique hotel, have dinner at a trendy restaurant, and receive a $200 shopping spree at Saks Fifth Avenue.



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