David Tutera is a party planner to the stars (JLo, Elton John and the Rolling Stones, to drop a few names) — and to the everyday woman. Since 2008, Tutera has been the ultimate fairy godfather to hopeless brides around the country. On his WE tv series My Fair Wedding, Tutera has turned average weddings from drab to fab in just a few weeks' time.
On Saturday, Tutera will bring his creative eye to Disney's Fairy Tale Wedding Bridal Showcase, where he will touch on the latest wedding trends and designs. Participants can also snack on food and drinks prepared by Disney chefs, sample wedding cakes and meet one on one with a Disney Weddings rep.
Tutera spoke to me by phone from Los Angeles. Here he is with some quick tips, funny anecdotes and insight on his couture collection wedding designs for Disney.
You worked alongside your grandfather, who was a florist, and that inspired you to open your own gift shop, but what launched you into fame?
I think people always love to have a really strong answer to that, but there was no moment that catapulted me into it. It was a process of time. I took baby steps as my business grew. I learned from so many mistakes. Then in the mid '90s, I branched out to doing big events in New York City, and then in the beginning of 2000 I wrote my first book. At the time, I wasn't aware of myself building a brand, and it's a brand that continues to get bigger.
What's the worst incident that's happened before a wedding and how did you fix it?
Oh sure, I can remember my first very big, exciting wedding in New York City at the Pierre Hotel. It was really exciting for me because it was an entrance into the society life in New York. The party was about to start, the ballroom doors were to open soon for the wedding celebration, and one of the tables' centerpieces was a candelabra. One of the candles fell out, fell onto the table, and the entire centerpiece and linens were engulfed in flames.
I remember this story because my immediate reaction was — instead of panicking — I ran to the table, put the fire out, got the centerpiece off the table, ripped the linens off, reset the table, pulled flowers from the bar, put them on the table. And then the doors opened and there was this pretty cloud of smoke in the room and it was done and no one ever knew about it but me!
Had a little drama, but my philosophy always is that you need to react and not overreact, and you need to take care of things without undertaking care of things. I've always kept that philosophy up until today.
We know Brangelina (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) will eventually tie the knot. How would you dress her?
I would not put her in a wedding dress. I would put her in something that's very sexy and long . . . with a slit off to the side that's probably a little higher than most brides would wear. I see her wearing color — either copper or even more of an . . . orange or a coral color. I see her wearing a sweetheart neckline, a very low, low, low back.
What's the best part about a couture Disney wedding with David Tutera?
It gives the personality of the bride and groom and it gives them a touch of me. It gives them what I've been doing for so long and what I've been able to execute for clients all over the world, and now it's able to happen at Disney.
What would you say to a bride who's always dreamed of a fairy tale wedding, but has a courthouse budget?
You can always add magic. It's just a matter of the little things you do. The sparkle on the bouquet, the fairy dust in the flowers, the element of sparkle that you've got in your dress or in your accessories. The magic and the fairy tale doesn't mean it has to be big.
What are your go-to ways to cut costs?
The guest count is important. People want to have a lot of guests, but the reality is the abundance of guests is what really creates a staggering cost in the budget. So, limit your guest list. Pick the people that are most important to you. That's the first thing. (Also) you don't have to have a full open bar. Keep the bar to maybe just wine and sparkling water. It'll save you a significant amount of money. Keep the flowers simple and not grand. Do a DJ and not a band. Have a dessert display and not a cake. There's ways to still have a unique wedding without having to spend so much money.
Email invitations: classy or trashy?
That's trashy! Sorry!
Sabrina Rocco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8862.