Prime Time

Q & A with Melissa Barrad, star of The Wedding Planner

Prime Time

Melissa BarradFOR MORE THAN FIVE YEARS, Melissa Barrad has been making wedding dreams a reality as owner of I Do ...Weddings! She secured mariachi musicians and a petting zoo for one wedding in La Jolla; at another, she had to scramble to replace an absentee limo 40 minutes before the ceremony; and she was even ordained for a day in order to officiate a clients’ wedding. Now, Melissa can add “television star” to her résumé. She recently starred in two episodes of The Wedding Planner, a documentary-style program on We Network.

So what’s it like to have cameramen follow you around while you’re planning the biggest day in someone else’s life? We asked Melissa that and more…

How did you become one of the show’s featured wedding planners? The producers found my Web site and contacted me. They asked me to provide a demo, so my husband helped me create one that really showed my personality. I showed them my emergency kit and the personalized license plate on my car—it says “WEDGURU.” Most wedding planners tend to park in illegal places, so it’s saved me from getting ticketed quite a number of times.

What’s in your emergency kit? The question should be, “What’s not in my kit?” I always tell my brides to try to stump me. For instance, just two weeks ago my bride forgot her veil. She had just bought a house so it was a chaotic time. She used a veil from my emergency kit. Of course, I also carry extra makeup, little fans in case the day is hot, and blister block so the bride can wear strappy shoes to the reception. I even carry Happy Meal toys and other things I use for bribery to get the little ones to walk down the aisle. And cigarettes—it sounds crazy, but I get asked for them all the time, and usually by nonsmokers.

What’s one of your rules as a wedding planner? Put everything in writing. I also make sure there is an open line of communication. When my clients say, “I really don’t like that idea,” that means we are communicating well.

What wedding details would you like to see more of? For favors, I always suggest edible and drinkable, but my personal favorites are donations to charities. So many couples now are looking for a way to give back and be a bit more green. Weddings are so expensive that donations are things you can hold on to even if it is just a small amount.

Being a florist, you must also pay special attention to arrangements at weddings. What are you seeing in flower trends? Tons of succulents are being used. They are so hardy, which is great. I’m also seeing more romantic flowers come into play, such as peonies and orchids. Orchids really complement a huge variety of wedding styles. They are simple to incorporate into the entire day.

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