For several seasons Tori Spelling and hubby Dean McDermott have been documenting their lives in front of the cameras for their popular Oxygen reality show "Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood" but tonight they launch a spin-off of that series called "Tori & Dean: sTORIbook Weddings." In this new series, the couple takes on the tough job of planning weddings for a variety of couples all seeking unique and interesting themes to their nuptials. For example, tonight's premiere finds the couple helping pug-lovers Samantha and Steven plan the perfect wedding with a "Pug Chic" twist without it becoming a disaster. When our Jim Halterman talked with new wedding planners Tori & Dean recently, he found a courageous twosome ready for any challenge as they shared how the concept got off the ground, the variety of themes they take on in the show and also their mutual love of Twitter.
Jim Halterman: We've seen you two run an Inn, have a family and manage your busy careers. How did the wedding planning angle come about?
Tori Spelling: 'sTORIbook Weddings' is just a spin-off and a completely different show. We love planning parties, weddings and I've done it for my friends and I actually thought about being a party planner and I thought 'Why not do it on TV?' We partnered with Oxygen again and we found eight lucky couples and planned their dream weddings. I think a lot of people thought our show was going away but we're shooting 'Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood' right now.
JH: Dean, what are you taking from the experience of helping people plan weddings?
Dean McDermott: I get a chance to help design the weddings and be creative and I find more and more grooms are getting wedding-savvy and wanting to be involved. I kind of watch out for the grooms and make sure they're taken care of. I usually try to build something to personalize the wedding, too. We had a bride who was having an 'Arabian Nights' wedding and wanted a flying carpet so I built a flying carpet for her. I like to build stuff so it fulfills that handyman in me.
JH: What's more difficult - the actual planning of the wedding or dealing with the personalities of the brides/grooms and their families?
TS: Planning the wedding! It can be so stressful because it's the biggest day in someone's life and you don't want to spoil it; you want to make it perfect. We're really under the gun so it's a lot of stress.
JH: How do you sway people away from a bad idea without offending them?
TS: I feel like if it's a bad idea or a wrong direction taste-wise I try to take their direction and vision and give them options on how to take that vision and make it into something chic. I'm usually pretty good at turning it around and saying 'That's a great idea but what if we did this with that idea...' and they go 'Oh! Great!'
JH: Would you ever say NO to some of the crazier requests or are you ready to tackle anything?
TS: That's the fun part is tackling something you think you can't do or don't want to do.
DM: I don't think she would be up for an underwater wedding or a wedding incorporating motorcycles.
TS: [Laughs.] I would do it if I had to but a lot of the visions for the weddings weren't typically my taste but I love a challenge so I love trying to take something I don't think I can make chic but then making it chic.
JH: The first episode has the 'Pug Wedding" but what are some of the other wedding themes we see in this first season?
TS: We have an Indian wedding, Arabian Nights wedding, Marie Antoinette, shabby chic, Hollywood Nightclub wedding and Dean's favorite is the punk wedding... we've pretty much run the gamut. Every one is very different.
JH: Weddings are so emotional and from what I've seen you each get a little caught up, too. Do you form that close of a bond with the brides and grooms?
TS: Definitely. I always cry at the ceremony because I feel like we're a part of their lives and we've been through so much with them. Once we meet our couple, we spend every single day with them and becomes more than a job. We become family with them and they become friends. They're like little babies that have to leave the nest so when they get married it's like 'Aww, they did it!"
JH: How much time do you actually spend with the couples?
TS: We actually do it pretty quick especially since a lot of weddings take a year to plan. From start to finish, we take about a month with each couple and we spend 4-5 days a week with them. Of course, we have back-to-back shows so we have overlapping couples because we have to get our other show filmed, too. We're usually back and forth between our couples.
JH: If people watch the show and want you to plan your wedding, how do they find you!
TS: [Laughs.] Tweet me! I'm always on Twitter!
JH: How has social media effected your lives? You're both on Twitter quite a bit!
DM: It's amazing! It drives viewers to our show. We also get some great ideas from people.
TS: I love it and also have made a lot of friends. I'm on there all the time looking at what people are saying and you get to know people. It's a real community and I love it.
JH: What is it about Oxygen that makes it such a perfect home for your shows?
TS: I think it's the perfect audience. It's all the demographics that we reach out to. There are women and men and it's family oriented so I think it's great for our brand.
DM: It's very relatable.
TS: They're so easy to work with and it's become like a family business.
JH: What are we going to see on the new season of 'Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood?'
TS: We just started filming and since it's reality we never really know what direction it's going to go in but it always finds its place. We're filming our businesses, we just opened a new store and that's a big storyline this season and also just juggling our careers and the kids.
"Tori & Dean: sTORIbook Weddings" premieres tonight on Oxygen at 10:00/9:00c.