The wedding planner: Reality TV star visits McAllen, stresses prep for big day should be enjoyable

McALLEN — David Tutera learned quickly not to mess with Texas.

Years ago, the celebrity wedding planner and television personality filmed two episodes — one in Dallas and one in Fort Worth — of WE tv’s “My Fair Wedding.” It was then he realized Texans are proud of where they are from.

“You never take away the cowboy boots,” Tutera told The Monitor in an interview Friday at the Casa De Palmas Renaissance Hotel. “It is like taking away their lives. There are traditions that were meant to be.”

Tutera, however, warns that couples can go overboard with themes, adding that weddings can quickly become kitschy or more like birthday parties.

“I think there are fun ways to incorporate it and make a soft sell and not so focal,” Tutera said. “I remind the couple that (weddings) should be romantic, beautiful and soft. It doesn’t have to be so hard-lined.”

If you’ve seen his show, he wasn’t afraid to express his feelings over a client’s choices. But often times he treaded lightly.

“I’ll just never say, ‘Get rid of it,’” Tutera said. “I’m trying to softly say this might not be the way to go. If I say to someone that it is a terrible idea, they are going to want to do it. I have to go slowly and give them potentially better options.”

Tutera, who is also an author and bridal fashion designer, was in McAllen for an appearance to help celebrate The Valley Wedding Pages’ 15th anniversary and for a bridal fashion show by local designer Manuel Tiscareno at the McAllen Convention Center, where he offered advice and guidance to guests as they prep for their big days.

He stresses everyone should begin with a budget — and stick to it. When coordinating weddings, Tutera will let his clients know off the bat how big of a wedding they can afford.

“No one should go in debt over a wedding,” he said in his interview with The Monitor.

Just as important as the money, Tutera says, couples need to have fun. In his book, “The Big White Book of Weddings,” he writes that a task list should be treated as an exciting list of experiences.

The wedding planner said he recognizes that a list of things to do is necessary when planning events. Often times, however, planning a wedding begins to feel like a job, he said.

“People are so anal-compulsive about these lists and are so concerned about making mistakes,” Tutera said. “To be quite frank, the day of the wedding is meant to be fun, but leading up to it — as a couple — it should be one of the most exciting things that you ever do. When are you ever going to be tasting a cake or finding a venue or trying to find your first dance? That to me sounds like so much fun.”

Tutera also warns that big weddings are not for everyone, adding he is often surprised by couples who don’t realize how much work it takes. Many times the stress breaks people, both financially and emotionally, he said.

“It depends on how much you want to take on,” Tutera said. “If you can’t handle the quantity of stress and the detail you need to pay attention to, you should probably dial it back.”