VH1′s ‘My Celebrity Dream Wedding’ features three Atlanta wedding planners

VH1's 'My Dream Celebrity Wedding" features Atlanta wedding planners Courtney Ajinça, Lance Devereux and Tori Williams. VH1

Credit: VH1

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VH1's 'My Dream Celebrity Wedding" features Atlanta wedding planners Courtney Ajinça, Lance Devereux and Tori Williams. VH1

Credit: VH1

Credit: VH1

Three high-end Atlanta wedding planners are now getting the spotlight in a new VH1 show “My Celebrity Dream Wedding,” which debuted two episodes Jan. 3. (They can be watched on demand on VH1.com.)

Courtney Ajinça, Lance Devereux and Tori Williams normally work with couples with budgets well in excess of $100,000. But on this show, the couples are middle-class types who can’t afford to hire wedding planners.

“I don’t throw weddings,” Tori said in the intro of the first episode that aired Jan. 3. “I throw experiences.” She has designed weddings for former Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, movie and TV producer Will Packer and Olympic gold medalist Tommy Smith.

Courtney has done events for Cynthia Bailey and LeBron James while Lance is known for his extravagant designs.

During each episode, the planners meet with the couple and design plans based on the budget. The couple then picks out their favorite one. The other two planners then work as assistants for the winning planner.

“The clients are everyday people,” Tori said in a Zoom interview this week with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “They have great stories and have had rough things happen in their lives. It just makes us work harder to make sure we pull this off.”

In the first episode that aired Monday, Ken, the groom and branch manager, and Kia, a patient care coordinator, want their wedding to be like that of reality stars NeNe and Gregg Leakes’ crystal-infused second wedding. According to the show, their wedding was rumored to cost $1.8 million.

Kia told the planners how she has a very painful polycystic ovary syndrome so she connected with Gregg, who recently died of cancer.

The couple budgeted $50,000 for the wedding but after the venue, DJ and dress, they only had $25,000 for the rest. (Of course, the TV show pays for the expertise of the wedding planners, which isn’t incorporated into the budget.)

Kia chose Tori’s design.

Tori, who held Kia’s wedding at her venue in Tucker, incorporated Lance’s white flower-infused prayer bench and Courtney’s birthstone bouquet design. She also dumped an idea Kia didn’t like (a champagne wall) and used the money to buy her designer shoes she wanted. She also added a monogrammed dance floor, similar to what NeNe Leakes had at her wedding.

Despite some snafus before the wedding, including a flood at Tori’s venue, the wedding itself went off without a hitch and on budget.

“This is the dream wedding I wanted to give my wife,” Ken said. “It’s priceless.”

In other episodes, the planners have to replicate elements from the weddings of Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade, Chance the Rapper and Kirsten Corley and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The show’s pilot was shot before the pandemic, which delayed production 16 months. They are shooting 20 episodes and production is still ongoing. Lance noted that supply-chain issues, COVID-19 protocols and rising costs have all made meeting budgets even more challenging.

Courtney noted that one way to reduce costs is to drop the guest count, which many couples were happy to do.

The show is a goldmine for the planners, who get to showcase their work, which could lead to more referrals.

“This is a passion for me,” Tori said. “This is not just a job. This is impactful and it’s something they will remember the rest of their lives.”

The collaborations have made all three planners better at their jobs. “We’ve rubbed off on each other,” Lance said.


WHERE TO WATCH

“My Celebrity Dream Wedding,” 9 p.m. Mondays, VH1 and on VH1.com

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