David Tutera lives in a dream — the world of dream weddings, that is. The gay wedding planner extraordinaire is back with a new season of his rags-to-riches reality show, My Fair Wedding: Unveiled, which premiers at 9 pm September 8 on WE tv.
The Advocate caught up with Tutera to hear what's new in the revamped series, find out if we'll see any LGBT couples this season, and wax poetic about marriage equality. Tutera has a personal — and professional — stake in the fight for marriage equality, as a man who married his husband in Vermont nine years ago and who makes his living producing gorgeous weddings for couples around the country.
What is going to be different about this season on My Fair Wedding: Unveiled?
It's really different. It's a less buttoned-up version of me. Every wedding still comes off with a beautiful finish, but the journey has a lot of bumps in the road. We decided to call the show Unveiled because we really are lifting the curtain and showing you inside my world.
You planned your own wedding to your husband, 9 years ago in Vermont. What was that like?
I highly don't recommend it. It's time for me to come out — no pun intended — as an expert in gay weddings. I need to be the voice of having 26 years of doing weddings for all these fabulous people… And it might be that a gay planner with a partner might actually be the person who can actually tell people what to do, and share with them my advice on how to plan a wedding for a gay couple.
So will we see and LGBT couples on the new season of My Fair Wedding: Unveiled?
My goal — and God help me if I don't hit it — [is that] we will have a gay couple, if not two, either by the end of this season… or by next season. I'm on a mission. And when I'm on a mission, let me tell you. I was able to get a black woman on the cover of a bridal magazine recently. I was on the cover [of Bridal Guide magazine] with her. That was a monumental moment in history, a black woman never being on the cover of a bridal magazine. So, I did that. Now my mission is to get a gay couple on the cover.
What are your thoughts on marriage equality and where we stand with that right now in the country?
Well, we're making very little strides, but at least we're making strides, so that's super important. For me, I have a very firm, strong opinion, that no one has any right, of course, to say to us who should and shouldn't get married. Those relationships I have personally seen … that are same-sex couples, ironically have some of the healthiest relationships I've ever seen.
And it's fascinating, because it always seems to get overlooked. We talk about the reasons why not to have these relationships, but we never talk about the reasons of why we should have them — why they are strong and powerful and important. Many straight couples should learn from the relationships that gay people have. Because they're very endearing, they're very strong, they're very positive… and I'm hoping that, as we [as a country] embrace same-sex marriages, that it gives us a little chance to learn from the things that we thought were wrong, that were actually very right.
Do you think perhaps the strength in those same-sex relationships comes from overcoming the adversity and discrimination, and from that daily fight just to be treated as close-to-equal?
I do think that comes, not as a couple. But I think that comes more importantly as individuals. I think when we get into relationships as gay people, we get into relationships knowing we spent so much of our life sort of trying to feel comfortable and accepted and included. When we find that perfect person in that relationship that means so much to us, we cherish it, we hold it stronger, we work harder, we don't bail like so many other couples…when things aren't so perfect.
If you could give three pieces of key advice to gay couples planning a wedding, what would they be?
One of them would be… interview your vendors. You need to feel comfortable with your vendors, not just in their talent but in their acceptance of your marriage. That's the most important thing.
The second thing is, you don't want to make a circus of your wedding. You don't want to make your wedding a party that's a party you'd have with friends for a separate occasion. You still have to instill values into the sanctity of marriage… I'm not saying you can't have a festive party, but you should have a party that has relevance to what you're celebrating.
And the last thing I would say is, you really have to sit down and talk about the etiquette. Such as — whose name goes first on the invitation? And the answer to that question is not who's paying for it, not who's fighting for it, but it's a very simple question: the alphabetical [order] of the person's last name is whose name goes first on the invitation. Which is an easy answer to a question that is a brutal question for couples.