David Tutera could be considered a bride's dream come true. Although he doesn't appear with the click of a heel and simply wave a magic wand, he is known to pull off dream weddings, which can be seen on his show My Fair Wedding With David Tutera, now in its fifth season.
In an interview before an appearance with a Q&A session at Water Tower Place's In Fashion Lounge (as part of the Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival), Tutera spoke with Windy City Times about his successful career as a celebrity wedding and entertainment expert, the on-screen drama he handles and how he pulls of the fairy-tale wedding.
Windy City Times: When did your interest in weddings begin?
David Tutera: My second job I ever did, when I was 19, was a wedding. So it really began in the beginning of my career. I worked on a wedding and knew nothing about weddings. Who knows anything at 19?! And I asked my grandfather to teach me about the floral businesswhich we sat and actually learned how to make the centerpieces togetherand I realized I just loved it. And I've been doing weddings ever since. I've been doing other celebrations also.
WCT: Where do your inspirations come from?
David Tutera: I live my life where I'm just sort of so aware of everything around me. So my inspiration comes from the things I dofrom travel, to movies, to theater, to just looking at a restaurant dÃ©cor or window treatment and I always sort of tuck it in my head and put it away and it sort of pops back out when it needs to. It does it automatically when I think it fits for the right person. It's like my Rolodex in my brain. I'm a very visual person, super-visual.
WCT: Do you have a signature detail or style?
David Tutera: No, I don't. It's funny; I realized when I was younger if I created a look that was consistent all the time, people would know it was my work, and as great as that might sound, it could very well become stale because I get bored very quickly.
WCT: Is that where your show comes inwhen you have to adapt to people's styles and edit?
David Tutera: Yes. I'm a chameleon and that's the way I am with my clients as well. They deliver the information to me and I just come out and make it happen.
The trick to being successful is to listen to what they want and, as you say, "edit" what they think they want and sort of not tell them what's wrong or right. You know when you go to a navigation system and it gives the shortest [or] fastest direction? You pick a different direction and you bring them to that best place without thinking their ideas are not good.
WCT: Seems like it's more than just an artistic basis.
David Tutera: I am a wedding planner by trade, a therapist because I have to be, mediator because I must be, a best friend because they need me to be and a referee because I have to be.
WCT: You've probably come across all challenges. Is there something that has particularly stood out in your career?
David Tutera: A lot of girls nowadays think they want something, but they can't express what it is. So, sometimes, for me, it's frustrating to pull out of them "What do you want?"; lots of times many of them don't know and they make things up. So, it's through that process of short time on the show that you learn really fast what it is they are trying to achieve. For me, it's the frustration of lack of knowledge. I feel like that lack of information is because it's just not clear in the industry for girls.
WCT: The show goes through the process past picking out the dress. Do you find watching a show like yours helps future brides?
David Tutera: I do, and we're doing that this season. It is not just about the dress; it's not just about the cake. Those are the iconic two things and I always say the dress and the cake [are] like the two bookends. There's all this stuff in the middle that seems to be not dealt with, and television doesn't do it. I'm proud of the show for what it does, and I think it's helped guide brides and grooms and families down a clear journey.
WCT: What can viewers expect to see in My Fair Wedding: Unveiled?
David Tutera: Well, the unveiled this year, you're going to see more reality. In the past, there's been a format. This season there's no format, and you're seeing some raw emotions with true drama and conflict. We deal with issues that are really thrown at me on camera that I'm unaware of, so it's a real show. It's not so buttoned-up and so pretty, meaning it's not so buttoned-up that everything's just a fairy tale. You get the fairy-tale, gorgeous dream wedding at the end, but the drama in the middle is real drama that I have to deal with. It's unveiled. We are pulling back the curtain!
WCT: How do you deal with bridezillas and groomzillas?
David Tutera: You take a deep breath and you let them go for what they need to go for, meaning you just let them spew out their venom and you step back. You realize that you're here to do a job: to produce a beautiful wedding. You don't always have to love them or like them, but you have to love your job and give them what they want.
WCT: What was it like planning your own dream wedding?
David Tutera: Not easy. I have a different respect for brides. It's hard to make decisions that are personal for yourself and easy to make for other people, so it was challenging for me, but I had 130 guests in Vermont and it was a weekend celebration of four parties. It was fabulous, but hard to do.
"My Fair Wedding With David Tutera: Unveiled" will premiere Saturday, Sept. 8, at 9 p.m. ET on WE tv. My Fair Wedding: Revealed will air mid-season. See www.wetv.com/shows/my-fair-wedding for more on the show and www.davidtutera.com to learn more about Tutera.