Celebrity wedding planner dishes at an intimate dinner.

David Tutera is a wedding planner to the celebrities, radio hosttelevision host, and author, but more than anything, master of his own brand. He is currently immersed in 24 categories of products in retail development and boasts 29 years in the event planning business.

David gave a candid presentation last Saturday, May 30, at The Northern Lights Theater at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino about his career. Having the chance to dine with him before the presentation, along with a dozen other wedding planners/professionals, was inspiring and revealing.

I also learned a few very interesting tidbits about Tutera’s life and wedding planning tips. Behold:

  • He was in law school at Fordham University and didn’t want to burden his family with the cost of school, so he answered an ad in a Penny Saver for a singing telegram position. He did that for a year when he was 19 and ultimately bought the company when the opportunity arose, ultimately launching his entrepreneurial career.
  • According to Tutera, wedding clients with lots of money are not necessarily easier to work with than clients with little money. And just because clients are planning an event on a budget doesn’t mean they can’t make it feel fabulous. He recommends clients stick to their budgets and infuse as much personality into the event as possible.
  • David cautions against people who expect overnight success. Take baby steps, make mistakes, and learn from your mistakes, he says.
  • While presenting to large groups, Tutera admits that he will read a crowd within the first two minutes and then tailor his presentation for the audience. Knowing how to wing it is a crucial skill for all event planners when obstacles arise, he says.

Speaking of winging it, David told of a time when he arrived early at a church to check out the grandiose floral display one of his clients had ordered. When he walked into the church on 79th and Park Ave., he was stunned to find a bare chapel. He called the set-up crew, who had just finished setting up the flowers at a church on 89th and Park Ave., where a funeral was set to take place. Tutera went into overdrive with the crew to move the floral arrangements to the correct location conspicuously as the wedding party began to filter in. Disaster avoided.