Dozens of Bay Area brides did not glow so much about their own nuptials as they did about the opportunity to meet a television wedding planning host at San Leandro's Jo-Ann Frabrics and Crafts store weekend grand-opening celebration.
The brides-to-be plus their mothers, sisters and friends, began gathering as early as 9 a.m. for day two of the grand-opening celebration at the new store in the Greenhouse Marketplace shopping center on Saturday. Even a few grooms-to-be came along for the ride.
The wedding-planning idol, David Tutera, is host of “My Fair Wedding,” which debuts its fifth season Sept. 8 on WE TV.
Tutera’s unique stop in the East Bay to announce the opening of the new Jo-Ann store included a two-hour appearance at which he chatted in person with an estimated crowd of 150 and signed copies of his two books. Jo-Ann stores carry a line of wedding décor items designed by Tutera.
With approximately 22,000 square feet of retail space in the spot formerly occupied by Big Lots, at 699 Lewelling Blvd., the new Jo-Ann store made its "soft" opening July 27. The store was previously located in a smaller spot on Hesperian Boulevard in Hayward.
San Leandro resident, Lauren Kassab, who is planning her March, 2013, wedding at the , came to Saturday’s opening to meet Tutera.
“David is so sweet,” she said, while in line to meet the star. “I love his shows, especially the Snow White wedding.” Kassab hopes to model some of her decorations around ideas inspired by Tutera, with items from Tutera’s line sold at Jo-Ann fabrics.
Samantha Arceneaux traveled from Modesto.
Arceneaux, who was selected this year as a blogger for Tutera’s website, itsabrideslife.com, said she’s taken advice from Tutera and regularly provides wedding-planning advice of her own on the site. As the site’s “Miss 50’s bride” blogger, her wedding design and style themes focus on fashions and decorations inspired by the 1950s.
“But I think I’m more nervous now than I’m going to be on my wedding!” she said, approaching the table to meet Tutera, who put her at ease.
“The advice I can give you is that you have time, so plan it slowly,” said Tutera. “Take your time.”
Sophia Reyes and Jason Burks of Hayward are planning an August 2013 wedding.
“I entered the contest to win a wedding from David,” she said. “I searched online to find a David design for my gown.”
Because he is a wedding planner to the stars, who has fine-tuned the details for celebrity weddings and custom-designed many formal gowns, not everyone can afford a David Tutera wedding. But Tutera hopes to inspire every bride with his ideas.
“The reason the line at Jo-Ann is embraced by the consumers is that they can add their own personality,” he said. “And the whole trick to a wedding is that you have a wedding, no matter how big or small the budget is. You can add the personality, you can add the time, and you can really make it unexpected.”
He was thrilled with the San Leandro event.
“We had people come from as far away as San Diego!” he said, referring to a bride-to-be who traveled from Southern California to stay with her mother in Danville before meeting Tutera.
The best part, said Tutera, was interacting with brides and their families.
“You don’t want to be stuck behind the camera. You want to meet the people that watch you.”
New Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts Store Welcomed by Customers
Also on hand were Traci Wolff, Community Marketing Specialist for Jo-Ann Fabrics, who traveled from the company’s Ohio corporate offices, as well as local Jo-Ann District Team Leader, Rene Harper.
Store management is pleased with the community’s response to the new store. During Tutera’s two-hour grand-opening appearance, several hundred other crafters shopped, taking advantage of a grand-opening coupon offer. Shopping aisles and the fabric-cutting station were filled with eager make-it-yourselfers.
“The location of this new store was perfect for this event,” said Wolff, noting the local demographics and the center’s proximity to freeways and transportation.
Harper has been thrilled with the energy level surrounding the grand opening, and not just from fans of Tutera, but of sewing and crafting enthusiasts.
“The team was fabulous in putting together the opening,” she said. “We have had hundreds of customers in every day for the past three days.”
People like Tutera help brides plan weddings that look just as good as high-end affairs for pennies on the dollar, Harper said.
“It gives you an opportunity to have him do your wedding without him actually being there,” she said.