Wedding planner, interior designer, event expert --- Diann Valentine, star of WE tv's hit reality show I Do Over, has worn many hats. (Many of them no doubt very stylish.) As the host of I Do Over, Diann gives brides a second chance at their dream wedding.
While many weddings go off without a hitch, some are total disasters. That's where Diann comes in. With her crack team of experts, Diann plans the ultimate "do over" wedding, giving brides the perfect day they always envisioned. Fires, tsunamis, "Bridezillas" -- all no match for Diann's expert planning skills.
We spoke to Diann about "do over weddings," her favorite celebrity clients, bridal trends she's sick of and more. Check out GuySpeak's exclusive interview below, as well as some clips from the new season of I Do Over.
Are "do over" weddings becoming a hot trend?
I believe that "do-over" weddings are becoming a trend for two reasons. One, so many women have made tremendous mistakes planning their own weddings usually because they lacked the benefit of relying on a professional to guide them along the way. When disasters or disappointments happen at weddings it shatters the fairytale that every woman held onto for most of her life. Doing it over is a chance at redemption for her and her perfect dream day. And, two, many women succumb to the traditions and demands of their mothers while planning their weddings. Although the celebration may have been beautiful and executed to perfection, if it was not a true reflection of the bride's wants and desires it will never be seen as her perfect wedding. I've heard many conversations amongst women that want a "do-over" simply so that she can have the wedding that she truly wants and not the one that her mother bulldozed her into having.
Who are some of your favorite celebrity clients?
I have been blessed to work with so many famous couples and all of them still have a special place in my heart. If I had to choose a few of my favorites I would have to say actress Lela Rochon, Toni Braxton, Sharhonda and Shawn Stockman of NBC's The Sing-Off and Jennifer Williams of Basketball Wives.
Have any of your clients (celebrity or otherwise) had odd requests or interesting quirks?
The interesting thing about working with clients that are both wealthy as well as artists is they are not afraid to allow me to push the envelope. But even with my broad creative perspective, I've still had a few surprises such as a bride who insisted that we shut down a two-mile stretch of Peachtree Road in Atlanta and hire the Morehouse College marching band to lead the procession from her wedding to her reception. And then there was also the bride that went through great expense to have us apply a full graphic application over the entire private jet that she and her husband flew on to their honeymoon.
I cannot forget the couple whose guest list increased by over 150 guests two days before their destination wedding because the groom's proud grandmother decided to invite everyone from her neighborhood. Now that required sewers working around the clock to fabricate additional custom linens, chair covers, place card, floral centerpieces and multiple shipments on Delta Dash. And one of my all-time favorite moments was when my bride walked into her church during the rehearsal and for the first time noticed that the carpet in the sanctuary was teal green. We had less than 24 hours to locate and install over 15,000 square feet of white carpet throughout the entire sanctuary --- the pressure was on.
Any new design trends that you're excited by?
Colored wedding gowns are finally gaining momentum. For my entire career, I have been an advocate of brides wearing the color that makes them glow instead of simply defaulting to white. My clients often choose color and when media has been involved they always made headlines. I finally have a platform to encourage women to give themselves permission to embrace their best color choice on their wedding day. And this year at Bridal Market we saw that Vera Wang released an entire collection of black wedding gowns. Color is the new white!
Anything you're tired of?
The corny wedding traditions must go such as tossing of the bouquet and the throwing of the garter. They are contrived and always uncomfortable for the women and men involved in one way or another. (My Fair Wedding's David Tutera is also no fan of the garter.-- CG)
Any tips for choosing bridesmaids dresses?
The days of matching bridesmaid dresses are gone. Allow your bridesmaids to choose gown styles and colors that best complement their bodies and personal style. It is fashionably acceptable for women to embrace their own sense of style even if they are a member of your wedding party. And besides, didn't we stop dressing like our best friends in elementary school? (Want to read "Bridezilla" Porsha Holt-Martin's thoughts on bridesmaids dresses? Go here.)
Who are your influences, either in design or event planning?
My muse for many, many years has always been Tom Ford. His design sensibility and unapologetic stance on what he believes in is refreshing. He brings a sexy appeal and sensuality that is woven through all of his creative expressions and he does it on his own terms. My biggest aspiration is to leave the same mark on the wedding industry.
How involved should grooms be in wedding planning?
If a groom has a real genuine interest and concern about the planning of the wedding then he should absolutely take an active part. However, if he is indifferent about most decisions then realize that most brides want their grooms to listen and often simply agree with their direction. It is not often that they actually want to hear a contradicting opinion. Women dream their entire lives about planning their big day so give that to them while standing by her side in complete support.
You've encountered fires, fainting grooms and tsunamis. How do you keep your cool amid wedding disasters?
Disasters are devastating for brides and often their families. Most people do not work well under pressure and then collapse further into the dilemma. I know that women rely on me to create magic -- to fix any mishaps that may arise. I work best under pressure because I am a 'strategic quick thinker' and I instantly go into solutions mode. I never dwell on the problem or disaster but immediately shift and concentrate only on the possibilities of a positive outcome.
What can we look forward to on I Do Over?
I Do Over takes viewers on a journey of witnessing "real-life" second chances through some of the most distraught and devastated women blossoming into ecstatic princesses after realizing that they just experienced a new journey that they never dreamed possible. We will leave women with the hope that sometimes good things happen to good people.
Any spoilers you can share?
Let's just say that our disasters run the full spectrum of amusing to heart-breaking to shocking. How would you respond if your husband fainted during your wedding vows? Or what would be running through your mind if a fire broke out in the building where you were hosting your wedding reception? The dilemmas get intense but there's always something magical waiting on the other side of five days with Diann Valentine!
Check out new episodes of I Do Over Sundays at 10|9c on We TV.