Courtesy of TLC
Introducing our newest guilty pleasure: TLC's delicious new reality wedding show Brides of Beverly Hills is gather-your-girlfriends-and-break-out-the-bubbly good. (Check it out tonight at 10 and 10:30 pm.) Set in the Beverly Hills salon Renee Strauss for the Bride, the show focuses on Renee's quest to match her crazy-rich clientele with the gowns of their dreams. On hand to help: Kevin Lee, the faaaa-boo-lous wedding planner who inspired Martin Short's character in Father of the Bride. (You may also recognize him as Pandora Vanderpump-Todd's wedding planner on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.) Here, the bridal BFFs dish on what it's like to whip up weddings for the glitzy set.
BRIDES: How long have you two known each other?
Renee: Like 20 years. Years and years and years—years cubed!
BRIDES: What do you think distinguishes a Beverly Hills bride from other brides?
Kevin: They're so picky. Beverly Hills brides know what they want. That's why they hire someone like Renee. Renee is the best.
Renee: And Kevin! Who else could do the wedding and event planning? It's a wonderful mutual-admiration society.
Kevin: We're the two musketeers! [Editors' note: For proof, check out the videos below]
BRIDES: Who's the wildest bride you guys have worked on together?
Kevin: The porn stars.
Renee: Yeah, they're crazy.
BRIDES: Renee, you've dressed a lot of celebrities. Have any faves?
Renee: I loved Laura Linney. She was a class act and a fantastic person. Rosanne was great—cuckoo but very fun and respectful. Sarah Brightman's the only celebrity I've ever offered to give everything for free—if she would sing for me. She wouldn't, so she whipped out her credit card and paid.
BRIDES: How about you, Kevin?
Kevin: My favorite guy was Brad Pitt—he was really creative and edgy. So many celebs have no taste. But Brad Pitt had fantastic ideas [for his wedding with Jennifer Aniston]. I also loved working with Anthony Hopkins, Adam Sandler, and Christina Aguilera.
BRIDES: What's the biggest budget that you've handled?
Kevin: I did a wedding for like $12 million. Not so shabby.
BRIDES: Is it easier when the budget is so big?
Kevin: No, it's harder—$12 million sounds like a lot of money, but it's not. When you bring in Whitney Houston or Beyonce to perform and Jay Leno to emcee, that's a million or two right there.
BRIDES: If a celebrity bride wants to choose a dress that doesn't look that great, what do you do?
Renee: When Kelly Preston married John Travolta, she was young and followed my lead. Then she came back to me for a movie called Nothing to Lose, for which she needed to step out of a car in a wedding gown. She asked for my opinion, and when I gave it to her, she didn't like it. I also did a wardrobe for a wedding with Raquel Welch—she was tough, tough, tough, even though when I'd worked with her years before, she'd been very receptive. I learned over the years that when they're young and getting married for the first time, celebs are open to suggestions, but as they get further into their career, it's really hard to get them to listen.
BRIDES: Any advice for the brides out there?
Renee: If you're working with professionals, trust them. Decide really early on what the budget is, and decide how much you can maneuver within it. It can save a lot of headaches in the future.
Kevin: A wedding costs a lot of money, and it's a once-in-a-lifetime event. It shouldn't be so stressful—you should enjoy the moment.
Renee: Once-in-a-lifetime? In Beverly Hills we say, "Do it until you get it right."
BRIDES: So do both of you get a lot of repeat customers?
Renee: Oh, my God, yes. They're more loyal to us than to the people they're marrying.
—Yolanda Crous, senior articles editor