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Get ready for real wedding advice from the runway courtesy of celebrity event planner David Tutera.

When it comes to pulling off the ultimate event, David Tutera is second to no one—yeah, Martha Stewart, I said it. Tutera, the grandson of a florist, has used his impeccable style and showmanship to become one of the most sought-after event planners to the stars, and he's been sharing his handiwork on reality television since 2008.

As of this weekend, you no longer have to be a celebrity, a member of the 1 percent or the kind of over-the-top person to survive a casting call to have a bit of Tutera's magic at your special day. Before his trip to Houston this weekend to guide and advise over all things wedding at Your Wedding Experience presented by David Tutera inside NRG Center, we caught up with Tutera over email during breaks from his busy filming schedule to get a little bit of advice and learn more about his latest project.

Houstonia: Can you tell me a little about Your Wedding Experience and how it is different from other wedding expos?

David Tutera: Your Wedding Experience presented by David Tutera is a one-of-a-kind live event, specifically tailored to engaged couples, offering endless wedding inspiration, reputable vendors and the best possible resources all under one roof! The difference between Your Wedding Experience and any other wedding “expo” is the “experience” and the quality of vendors. We’re not just having guests walk around and observe on the showroom floor, they’re able to interact, touch, feel, learn and experience everything from over 100 “David Tutera Approved” vendors that I’ve hand-selected to help them create and plan their dream wedding. Not to mention a few other highlights that put this event in a category of it’s own including, celebrity meet-and-greets, a Wedding Catwalk fashion show with celebrity models, amazing prize giveaways and so much more! 

What decisions do you recommend engaged couples make before attending: Style? Theme? Date? Or should they just come in with an open mind?

It’s always good to keep an open mind with any aspect of planning your wedding in general, and with that said, I’d recommend taking the time to visit each vendor and learn about what they offer—you never know what you may fall in love with, that you never expected to look twice at before.

Whether you’re recently engaged, in the very beginning stages or in the middle or end of your planning process, Your Wedding Experience caters to it all! No decisions have to be set before attending, if you haven’t begun planning you can simply attend to browse the trends, get inspired and see what elements that appeal to your wedding style. If you have set a date, you can book vendors on the spot with opportunities for special deals at the event. Attendees, whether bride, groom, family or friends will have an all-access pass to speak with myself, top vendors and industry professionals, as well as learn about the wedding planning process and see the biggest trends and fashions. Every guest will walk away feeling inspired from their ‘wedding experience’. 

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A floral tablescape by David Tutera

In wedding planning, what details do you think tend to get most overlooked, and why do they matter? Conversely, which details do brides worry about too much?

Couples often worry too much about pleasing everyone, which causes a lot of stress. This is a sensitive area in the wedding planning process, and as much as you want to respect the input, suggestions and wishes of everyone around you, it’s almost impossible to please every single person on the day of your wedding. You need to put yourselves first and do what is best for you as a couple. Everyone will still enjoy themselves on your wedding day, because in the end it’s all about celebrating your love—not fretting over what Aunt Millie wanted you to do.

Something that many couples can overlook is the importance of lighting! Whether you are pin spotting your cake or your table centerpieces or just nixing the centerpieces all together and using an abundance of pillar and votive candles, lighting sets the mood, compliments your décor, and creates a romantic ambiance. It’s a great investment, whether your centerpieces are over the top or low and lush, it transforms a room and makes all the difference in the world!

For us Texas girls, what are some ways you've helped brides incorporate some rustic or cowboy-chic elements into weddings without turning it into a hoedown? 

Rustic chic weddings have been a huge trend in weddings, whether you are from Texas or not. It’s a simple style that makes for beautiful whimsical décor, and it’s a look that can also be achieved without breaking the bank. I once had a southern bride who was a true cowgirl (even changed into her boots at the reception!) and her cowboy groom who tastefully accessorized his custom tailored suit with his cowboy hat. We incorporated leather fabric into their invitations and menus and also had leather coasters with their branded looking monogram to accompany their favors. The wooden barn tables were adorned with burlap and doily fabric table runners to bring in that elegant rustic charm topped with mismatched vessels filled with wild flowers and an abundance of candles along the table. Bales of hay adorned with floral and horseshoe rings for good luck were strategically placed around the venue and in the photo booth area.

Instant ways to add a rustic touch to your wedding is simply using a hint of burlap and/or lace in your décor, on your tables or wrapped around your bouquet, vases or candles. Large burlap roses are great mixed into your bouquet, groom’s boutonniere or centerpieces (find them in my Burlap & Lace craft line at JoAnn Fabric & Craft Stores). This adds a surprise element when your guests look up close. Mismatched mason jars, vases, milk bottles or jelly jars will add a gorgeous variety to your table décor—especially when filled with wildflowers. Adding simple bales of hay, like I did with my bride, and cover the tops in burlap and use a lounge furniture around your reception or as seating for your ceremony, embellish with items like flowers, horseshoes or spurs for a nod to the cowboy theme. 

What are some of your favorite trends that we can expect to see more of into 2016? 

Soft colors! When it comes to fashion, lighting and flowers, we’re saying goodbye to bright and bold and hello to soft and muted. Two years ago, weddings were all about the vibrant pinks, vivid oranges and bold purples. Now, we’re seeing more and more pastel colors that create a dreamy, romantic look. Another favorite trend of mine is hanging décor. Why should flowers just be limited to tables? Have floating rings of floral hang above tables for a chandelier look and add strands of crystals to drip down from the floral, to have your guests wide-eyed all night.

Can you give me a little preview of what you'll be highlighting in the runway show?

I will be hosting the over-the-top Wedding Catwalk fashion show on Sunday which will feature over 60 looks from Houston’s premier bridal salons including my very own wedding collection David Tutera for Mon Cheri. Former NFL player and the first male winner of America’s Next Top Model Keith Carlos will walk as a special guest model in the show while attendees watch in excitement and dance in their seats to the feel-good music. The centerpiece of the larger-than-life full production show includes a custom designed white diamond runway with glam pit VIP seating—it’s truly a must-see! We’ll also have other surprises in store at the show!

What’s one thing you want couples to come away from this experience with?

When I created this project, my vision was to design a live wedding event that stood in it’s own category outside of your average wedding ‘expo’; one that inspires couples by presenting tips, trends, interactive demonstrations and the best local vendors handpicked by wedding professionals like myself. I wanted to be personally involved in helping couples plan their wedding and that’s why I am here in Houston this weekend—to help couples get one step further in their wedding planning while also enjoying the process. If a couple can walk away from this event with more insight, knowledge, contacts, inspiration and excitement for their own wedding, then I’ve done my job!

For more information or to purchase tickets for this Sunday’s “Your Wedding Experience presented by David Tutera” in Houston, visit www.YourWeddingExperience.com.

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