No eating bugs. No “you’re fired.” This is a different side of renowned
television producer Mark Burnett, the man behind Survivor and The
Apprentice. In TNT’s new reality series Wedding Day, nuptial planner to
the stars Diann Valentine bursts into the lives of deserving couples and
sets up their dream weddings, all in under a week and completely by
surprise. June, of course, is the perfect month to kick off a wedding
show–nearly 300,000 couples will wed in June, contributing to the
massive $72 billion wedding industry. Valentine talked with Fast Company’s Zachary Wilson to explain her new
show, how it’s just a small piece of her growing empire, and just why
we’re all so obsessed with weddings.
Fast Company: Tell me about Wedding Day.
Diann Valentine: It’s all about making dream weddings come true. We go around the
country and in four days we come in and super size it. There are so
many reality shows on TV that are all about creating drama and
fighting, but that was not the show I wanted to be a part of. This is
inspiring, uplifting, positive, not just pissing off a bride off.
Instead, I get to come in and be a hero. It’s amazing.
FC: Why do you think people are so obsessed with weddings?
DV: The wedding day is the most important day in the life of a woman.
When you fall in love, and when you find someone who is willing to
pledge their life to yours forever–even if you don’t stay together
forever, you pledge that on that day–it is one of the most amazing
gifts you can ever receive. Two people come together, but also two
families come together, and through the planning and parties, you see
all the love and memories that are created on that one day. These are
memories that will be with that couple for the rest of their lives.
FC: And how do you fit into that?
DV: Every time they think of their wedding, they will always think
about me and how I somehow helped their dreams come true. I have
produced weddings all over the world for a lot of rich and famous
people and for big, big budgets. It was so refreshing to do what I do
for celebrities for these amazing couples who have such amazing
stories. You want to reach out and hug them. This is one of the most
fulfilling expeiences of my career.
FC: Does a project like this put your usual work on the back burner?
DV: Oh no, I am definitely continuing with my business. My goals are
more focused on building a brand. I think very differently when it
comes to weddings and traditions and design, and instead of saying I
need to think outside the box, I’d say for me the box doesn’t exist for
me. I’m constantly recreating the rules every step of the way.
FC: So the television show is just a piece of the overall vision.
DV: TV wasn’t the end-all-be-all for me. It wasn’t the cherry on top. I
like to think of it as a checked box, just part of the journey. It’s a
very enjoyable part, but I built this brand from the ground up. I’ve
published a book and will continue the publishing efforts, now I have a
television show, I’m working on a furniture line, a line of bridal
gowns, entertaining products, and ultimately I want to have a full line
of home furnishings and accessories. It’s very important for me to stay
FC: Can you relate to the regular couples on the show, as opposed to your celebrity clients?
DV: Probably the reason I’m so emotionally moved with this is because
of my own struggles. At the young age of 20, I was a single mom in
college, and I was like, where do I go from here? What do I do? I built
my company from the ground up, so I know what it’s like when money is
tight, when you’re so exhausted but you can’t stop, so you just keep
going and you don’t even think about it.
FC: The show premieres today, but you’ve already filmed all 10 episodes of the first season. What’s next for Wedding Day?
DV: We are already casting for season two. It’s too early so it hasn’t
been picked up yet, but when you work with Mark Burnett, you almost
know you’re destined for success.
“Wedding Day” debuts tonight at 8 p.m. EST on TNT.
Tuesday, June 16
The Premiere of “Wedding Day” on TNT
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