By Nicole and Dwayne, Newark, New Jersey
Love is definitely a gamble. Our story begins July 3, 2006…that’s when I met my husband, Dwayne. Dwayne and I met at our neighborhood swimming pool. He had every intention to swim but once we exchanged pleasantries, it soon became a conversation that lasted for hours! When the pool was closing, he asked me out on a date and it was on that date that Dwayne told me he was going to marry me. It was a bit weird for a first date…but I was definitely intrigued by it.

Dwayne and I have tons of things in common but most of all; we love casinos, gambling and POKER! We both thought of ourselves as being lucky to have found our soul mates, so when we started planning our wedding, we came up with the perfect theme…”Lucky In Love.” It was a “Casino” themed wedding! Planning a wedding was super exciting but it was also extremely stressful. With money tight and resources scarce, we were stumped. I got tons of help from friends and family but I started to feel like this wedding was taking a turn for the worse.

Even though we had a venue and a plan for catering, we didn’t have any idea what we were going to do as far as decorations went. We found little things (a lot of little things) here and there but nothing that really pulled everything together. I had started to get discouraged…fast! 

When I found out that David was going to intervene and make some changes, I couldn’t have been more ecstatic. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much! I welcomed his help with open arms. I listened to everything and absorbed it like a sponge. He caught things that I totally missed and would have never picked up on. He paid such close attention to detail and picked my brain until my vision was his! I have absolutely no regrets at all. If I had to do it all over again, I would have it the exact same way! It was an absolute blessing and an honor to have David by my side!

My family and a few friends knew of my participation in the show. They were just as excited as I was! Although we knew that my wedding was going to be fabulous, we had no idea what to expect. On my wedding day, I felt like a celebrity. I had my hair and make-up done and even had a lady in waiting! Even with all of the primping and getting dolled up for my big day, nothing or no one could have prepared me for what was going to happen next. As if having David create my dream wedding wasn’t enough, he had also arranged for my biological father, who I recently became acquainted with, to come in from California to attend my wedding. It was such a beautiful surprise. What an emotional and moving day!

I was completely floored by what David revealed to us next. It was my vision! No, my vision to the 25th power! I knew he was extraordinary but seriously, this was beyond anything I’ve ever seen before in my life. Not only was our reception mind blowing but David also arranged an extra special ceremony for us. All of our guests held candles as they stood alongside the aisle. To see all of the illuminated faces of everyone I loved was a truly breathtaking. I took a second to take in that unbelievable moment and it was then again that I really and truly felt “Lucky in Love.”

I LOVE LOVE Nicole…or as I called her while filming this episode…Poker Bride. When I met Nicole when she opened the door the first day I feel in love with her as a person and a bride. However I was freaked out by her direction of her wedding. A poker them…really??? The good news is I had a lot to change and little to keep, or shall I say, a direction to take and a lot to revise. My goal always is to make sure I keep the personality and style of my bride and never make this about me but make it all about my girls. A poker them was shocking to me but it was because they both like to play poker. The issues at hand were many.

Nicole showed me the elements she had pulled together for her wedding. Plastic poker chips, over-sized playing cards, red plastic table cloths and the color scheme of black, red and white. The bridesmaids dresses were nothing to remember and trust me my bride and her sisters had personality that needed dresses to reflect just that.

My bride’s wedding gown was simply not one I wanted her to be in. Nicole deserved to be glamorous, she deserved to be stunning and chic. So what was I to do? I had a few choices. Gamble on the odds this was going to be a disaster…odds are I would have won, or embrace her idea go for it and make Nicole’s wedding her wedding of her dreams. 

All my brides on My Fair Wedding are beautiful girls who for reasons out of their control have headed down the wrong aisle toward their ceremony. Many have budget restraints and others have misguided ideas. I never and will never judge any of them, however, I will listen and learn from all of them what their real dreams are and how to make all of them come true starting this season with Nicole…my poker bride! So we are off to gamble on her wedding. The one thing Nicole did say to me when we met at first was she was LUCKY IN LOVE and that was enough to get my mind thinking.

My role as the wedding planner of all my brides its to bring magic to their big day, to transform them as misguided girls, transform not only the girls, and not only the direction of the wedding day, but provide them experiences that will last far beyond just the wedding but be part of them for a lifetime.

Nicole was filled with love. She accepted everyone and never judged anyone. She embraced love and life and I wanted to bring all that in return to her for her wedding. So our journey began. I have to admit it was challenging to find a way to make a poker theme wedding an elegant wedding for Nicole. So my revision for Nicole was to create the look and style of being in Monte Carlo in Europe to bring elegance, drama and sophistication. I kept her theme, I kept her color scheme and as the groom said I upgraded their wedding to something that was truly off the charts.

A great tip for any bride to keep in mind, is to use flowers in monochromatic colors – it creates more of a “Wow” factor with less flowers. Another wonderful way to add a romantic glow and romance is to use an abundance candles – everyone looks great in candlelight and it truly sets a romantic mood.

When the cameras were not filming one day I learned that she had never met her biological father and she had at one time hopes that perhaps he would attend her wedding day. She had not succeeded for many reasons. I knew then that I had another goal to achieve for her wedding. Not just the poker theme but to find her dad, fly him in and surprise Nicole and her sisters. So during the reveal of the bride to me in her new dress which was from my David Tutera by Faviana collection (she wore the Audrey dress and looked like a million bucks) I had her dad walk in and they met each other for the first time. This is exactly where this show creates moments that change my brides life forever.

Nicole was a gem to work with. She listened and learned she was open to new direction and was beyond grateful for all that was provided for her. In fact Nicole took the time to learn more about me and found out that I had lost a very close friend to cancer a few months ago. She looked into a foundation that I am part of Prevent Cancer Foundation in Washington D.C. and made a donation as a thank you to me and will be making a donation on her wedding anniversary every year in memory of my friend and in thanking me. This is truly a remarkable young lady.

I have continued to stay in touch with Nicole and do so with many of my brides and love that I get a chance to be part of their special day.

In the end I was LUCKY to meet Nicole!