David Tutera: Dreaming Bigger

Photo by Maring Visuals

By Jennifer Florendo

Photo by Maring Visuals

From celebrity wedding planner to a celebrity himself, David Tutera is rapidly becoming any bride’s instant BFF. Tutera stars in WE tv’s “My Fair Wedding;” has created his own line of wedding gowns, David Tutera by Faviana; has written several books, including “The Big White Wedding Book” and “My Fair Wedding;” and has a line of wedding products that allows anyone to have a dose of the Tutera touch.

Between the TV show, now in its fourth season, the product launches and the books, David is no stranger to the limelight. Kind of ironic for a man who dislikes the color green in anything wedding related.

“I don’t hate green as a color in anything other than two things: fashion and lighting. When you light people in green, they look sick. It looks like Halloween. And I don’t like green in fashion for bridesmaid’s dresses, or in general. I just think it’s not a great color,” says Tutera, matter-of-factly.

“My Fair Wedding” is the show that puts Tutera on the doorstep of a bride just three weeks before her wedding and turns their reality into something most brides can only dream of. While most are open to changing practically everything for their wedding, some are a bit less enthusiastic.

Photo by Michael Segal Weddings

“Many are grateful because they know their direction has been skewed in so many ways and they look forward to it. There are some times where they may be standoffish when I change their dress. They’ve focused on it so much; they felt that they made a good decision. Then they embrace it and go from being excited to being so grateful to being blown away,” says Tutera.

If you watch “My Fair Wedding,” you know that he shares some soothing words with his brides before sending them down the aisle. He’s always felt connected to women and is one who can listen to a woman, understand them and learn about who they are. And that is a big responsibility for any man.

Photo by Michael Segal Weddings

“When the cameras go down and we aren’t filming, I am with those brides trying to sponge out every little bit of information about them, their family, their groom … And then I try to figure out how to make their wedding who they are. By the time I send them down the aisle, this sort of crazy relationship that I have with them, in less than three weeks, is so intense,” said Tutera.


Beautiful Bride recently sat down with Tutera to talk all things wedding. From finding out what kind of bride you are to how to budget, and more, what we learned is invaluable to anyone planning a wedding.

Beautiful Bride: When brides watch your show, they try to emulate what you do on TV. What advice would you give them to create something beautiful and astounding, but within their budget?

David Tutera: They have to accept their budget. I think that what happens now, more often than not, is that they aren’t understanding what a budget is. They know they have a little money, but they don’t know what to spend it on. I say it in the first chapter of my book that, so many girls who get engaged, they go online and start buying all this stuff. Unfortunately, $2,000 dollars later, which is a larger portion of a $10,000 budget, they just wasted $2,000. They need to dissect the puzzle of a wedding—the budget—and figure that business stuff out first.

Photo by Maring Visuals

They are very emotional and very excited about their wedding, but once they figure out what their budget is and how many guests they are going to have, they can look at this as a business plan and then never have to worry about it again. They forget that they have to find their vendors and figure out what their budget is per vendor. Do not sign any contracts until knowing what everything is, because if you spend $4,000 on flowers and $2,000 on stuff, you only have $4,000 left for all of the other things that you need to get accomplished.

BB: What do you say is the first thing brides need to do when planning? Most start with ordering the stuff online …

DT: That first thing they do is the last thing they should do. The first thing they need to do is money: budget and figuring out guest count. You can’t plan a wedding if you don’t know how many people you think you are going to have. Once they figure that out, they have to pick a venue, which includes the food or doesn’t include the food. Then they need to pick the things that are hypersensitive to time: photography and entertainment. Then everything else falls into place.

BB: When it comes to budget, do you feel that most brides go over their budget?

DT: In “The Big White Wedding Book,” there is a percentage breakdown of how to spend the money. They should cushion their budget, which they don’t, and that is where the drama hits. How are they going to tell their fiancé or parents that they need (more) money because they went over budget and forgot to get the cake? The excitement becomes drama that becomes a problem, when it’s no longer enjoyable.

Photo by Michael Segal Weddings

BB: So that is your first piece of advice: Take a deep breath, then sit down and work out the budget?

DT: Yes! Most brides don’t even know what a budget is. Unfortunately, we always read the statistics that the national wedding budget has now dropped to $22,000. But they need to figure out what their budget is for where they live, and not go off those unrealistic numbers. They also need to figure out where those funds are coming from. And a lot of times, they don’t have a clue because they are planning the wedding, they haven’t thought about (the budget). It’s a learning experience that is typically a disaster. In-laws, parents, they love to grill the brides and grooms about “When are you going to get married? What’s your fantasy? What would you do?” The ring goes on the finger, and everyone becomes silent because nobody wants to participate in the communication about how much money they are going to put in. Unfortunately, it leaves the bride completely clueless. The groom doesn’t want to approach his parents, the bride doesn’t know how to approach hers and they don’t know how much they can afford. It becomes a big mystery question.

BB: How do you feel that social media is helping or hindering brides today?

DT: I think that social media, depending on how you deal with it, can be an issue for a bride. First of all, it opens up the door for them to ask many different people—acquaintances, strangers, and close friends—their opinions. Rule of thumb: Do not do that.

Social media? You can talk about your excitement for your wedding but I don’t think it’s the place to position “Should I pick cream or should I pick pink?” This isn’t an open forum; this is your wedding. Pick two people who are important to you and work with them. I do think that social media is exciting to share your wedding afterit’s happened.

Photo by Michael Segal Weddings

BB: What trends would be y our favorites?

DT:I don’t know that; I am a chameleon to my bride. If you come to me and say you are bohemian-eclectic, I would embrace it. If you said you are classic and traditional, I would embrace it. If you say that you are modern and sleek, I’d embrace that. It makes me more excited and more creative for my client. But the problem with that is girls don’t know who they are. That’s the very reason I created my brands, my fashion line and a jewelry line, is that it’s forcing my consumer, who can’t hire, me to figure out who they are as a bride. Not who they are as a girl or a woman, but who they are as a bride. Hopefully it will help put them into a mold so it would help them figure out how to talk to their vendors.

Photo by Michael Segal Weddings

BB: How do you help brides figure this out?

DT: At the end of each chapter, there is a questionnaire, “What would David do?” In each of those chapters, nonrelated specifically to wedding advice, it asks you questions about who you are and what you would do. It’ll help focus on what type of bride you are. And they are nonrelated to what’s your favorite flower, what’s your favorite color. I ask girls to go to their closet and what are the three items they pick out the most to wear? It might be something that is very traditional and classic, but it could be very bohemian-eclectic. You could be both girls, but what girl are you as a bride? Sometimes brides aren’t the girl they are as a woman during the day.

The big thing nowadays is that they come out of the box and say, “I want a different wedding.” They start the process off for two months going through every magazine and book and cutting out everything that is different and unique. Then wedding-planning mode kicks in and all of those ideas get scratched and thrown to the side and they go into safe mode. And they have another boring wedding on another Saturday night because they think that it’s safe. And it is. But, at the end of the day, they only see this as a one-time deal and better safe than sorry. I see it as better sorry with uniqueness than safe.

BB: What is something that you wish would go away?

Photo by Maring Visuals

DT: Oh a lot of things. You see, this is the problem—the trends. The throwing of the bouquet, the garter, I wish all of that would go away. But, I wish that they would find ways to mix up and change the timeline of their wedding. Maybe the first dance happens at cocktails. Maybe the cake cutting before the first course is served. Things that make people look up and say “oh I wasn’t expecting that to happen just now.” It doesn’t cost any money, it just sort of flip-flops the timeline as opposed to the same … it’s the same (thing) ceremony, cocktails, walk in the room, dance, sit down, dance, sit down, it’s boring. Boring.

BB: What is your personal trend prediction for 2011/2012 weddings?

DT: Red is my official forecast for the back end of 2011 and all of 2012 for weddings.

You heard it here: find out who you are and paint your wedding red.

For more information on David Tutera, please visit davidtutera.com and wetv.com/shows/my-fair-wedding.


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