Prior to the VIP Cocktail Party for the Tybee Wedding Chapel, I was able to take a moment to sit down with party planner extraordinaire, David Tutera of My Fair Wedding who was there to cut the ribbon (and the cake) for the grand opening. It was really wonderful to sit and pick his brain, hear his thoughts on this area and as well as how he uses his talents to translate his client’s passions and personalities in their events. David is extremely warm and talented– and so gracious with his thoughts and time.
: What is your name?
: Spell it.
: T-E-R-R-I-C-A. I like that!
: Thank you! Me too. It’s French for “fabulous”.
: I’m just kidding. I’m really excited to have a chance to talk with you!
: Well, thank you! It’s been fun.
: Tell me, David. What do you find most romantic about a Southern Wedding?
: Oh my gosh! How they embrace families and food. It is so serious, it’s not even funny.
: It’s not a game, is it?
: Not at all! I used to do a lot of work in Atlanta years ago, and I’ll never forget the first time I did a wedding down in Atlanta to meet the family. And I met them, the hospitality– the Southern hospitality, was so odd to me, that when I went back to New York and I’m like, “The people down here are so strange”. And then when I went back for another meeting, I was thinking “I like this!” Because it’s real.
: Well, see you had a totally different experience. I’m a Northern transplant, too. So it totally caught me off guard. My husband would be out mowing the lawn and people would ride by and honk the horn or wave. I remember thinking, “Oohhhhh no no no no no. Who is THAT waving at you?!” But the Southern hospitality is awesome.
It is. It’s very endearing. And the weddings– there are no walls, and there are no pretenses. I think, and I don’t live here, but what I’ve experienced with the weddings I do in the South, you get what you see.
: Absolutely. Absolutely. So with the return of glamour in weddings and events, how do you think that can be incorporated with a Southern wedding? You know, meshing the homespun with a little bit of the glam. Can it be done?
: I’ll give you a perfect example: here we are sitting in the Tybee Wedding Chapel. Someone just asked me earlier, “Can you embrace uniqueness to this space?” And I say, yes! You know what, just because you are in this space, you don’t have to have a Southern style wedding. Can you imagine a wedding with two long tables in here– done up in high glam?
: Oh, gosh that would be awesome. Estate tables…that would be fabulous!
: Yeah! But you wouldn’t expect that in here. And then if you came to that and left here, you’d think, “Oh my God”…
: “What just happened!?”
: That, to me, is what makes great celebrations.
: Well, I know you are all about “Dreaming Bigger”…
: Thank you…
: and brides going for the absolute best, and I really appreciate that. So if a bride had to splurge on one thing– what should it be?
: Well. It’s going to be one of three things…
: It’s gonna be either food, music or decor.
: Oh my gosh, yes!
: And since none of those things can happen all at once, so if we had to splurge on one of them…Just because I am a designer I would say decor. I’d have to say that–because that’s my roots. It would have to make sense to who you are and what the bride wishes for the most. You can always make the energy happen with music, and not spend a lot of money. That’s not necessarily true with decor.
: That’s true. Really create the experience. Now, I have to ask this– are you finding that you are drawing a lot from what you learned from your grandfather into what you do?
: I come from [pause]… You’re the first person to ask me these questions. I come from a very close family. My grandfather had no money. My parents had no money. I learned everything I could with the simplest of things. I’m grateful for that because it gave me such a strong ability to put up with people that have a lot of money. I don’t find myself of that class to fit in, I found myself comfortable enough to step into it to execute a wedding and then go back into the life that I am comfortable in. And it really make me appreciate the simple things.
: That is awesome. I think any client would really appreciate that… That you bring something different to the table.
: I’m not sure that clients knew that as much. It came more focused in my world when I began hosting “My Fair Wedding”. Because the brides on My Fair Wedding are really just like people I grew up with. And I thought, “Oh, full circle”. 25 years later, but…
: *Laughter* It happens! It happens! Ok. Another real talk moment. What wedding trend would you absolutely see die? I mean like right now..I’ll get the crime scene tape out of my truck…
: The.freaking.garter.belt! As far as I am concerned, it is dead.
: I don’t even see the point anymore.
: It’s not the time or place to do that in front of a bunch of people. So that’s what I’m hoping disappears.
: I know from the Grammys to the parties that you do for social clients…how do you bring out an event’s personality? How do you make it different?
: Listen. You listen. People can’t actually explain what they want. And you ask questions that are non-related to the ceremony or to the event. Like I would ask you– you told me you were from Baltimore, you told me a couple of things. From the sense of what I see– I would do something high glam and you probably like a little sparkle. I have a really great knack of getting to know someone fast and getting into their heads.
: Are you finding it’s more of what people “don’t” say, too– and you learn from that too?
: Or it’s what they say that they think that they’re understanding that they’re not. I like to ask a lot of important fact finding– just like you are with me. I do the same in return.
: Well, thank you so much for spending time with me, David!
: You are very, very, very, very welcome! Thanks, sweetie!
David was so gracious and warm! Everything that you see on TV– he truly is in real life! Be sure to check out his show, My Fair Wedding, on the We Channel each week and also get his MUST HAVE book for wedding planning, The Big White Book of Weddings: A How-to Guide for the Savvy, Stylish Bride
available in Hardcover and for the Kindle!