AMBERmag.com: Do you feel that way about design work?
DV: Yes, absolutely because doing design work, there is only so much detail you can reveal with the client in advance. You can share a lot in advance, but there is something about the creative process that is organic and when it starts coming together. I have a great team of people and I believe in diversity and having a lot of different perspectives and when that super gumbo starts to come together, it's amazing.
AMBERmag.com: What made you decide to do a show about second weddings?
DV: I love "I Do Over" so much. It’s about second chances and it’s for people whose weddings were disasters. And I knock on their doors and 5 days later they have a wedding that is bigger and more fabulous. And as women, we carry so much on our shoulders and have so much responsibility and so much stress in our lives and on top of that we dream of our wedding being perfect. So for that to turn into a disaster, it’s devastating and I want women to walk away from this show believing and having hope again. Because life does sometimes throw us a bad blow, but if you believe and have faith that miracles do happen and good things happen to good people, Diann Valentine might just knock on your door.
AMBERmag.com: Is it a completely new vision or enhancing what they already have?
DV: The difference is my clients are already a part of a lavish lifestyle so they get it. But our brides on the show, they are so humble and they have such meek spirits. When I tell them to dream, they’re like Wow, Okay, maybe filet mignon at the wedding. And I’m like that’s the dream? So it’s interesting that they don’t even know how to dream bigger. So they do share what they like and their dislikes and I tend to just listen. And if I listen and listen well, it’s always what the woman says but what she doesn’t say. The heart never lies and it’s always there.
AMBERmag.com: Which event did you learn from the most, in your career or on "I Do Over"?
DV: I did Sean Stockman’s wedding who was in Boyz II Men. After much contemplation, we decided on having this fish tank as a dancefloor. But I was so underpriced for that fish tank dance floor in Toledo, OH! The bar room was on the second floor of the hotel. They made us bring in a structual engineer, I had a $2 million dollar insurance policy, they made me get a $5 million insurance policy and my insurance got cancelled after that wedding and it probably cost me a $30k loss. It wasn’t their [the client's] fault that I misquoted it; it was my fault, but it was a good lesson. I got a little redemption because a few years later when Jennifer Lopez was set to marry Ben Affleck, some magazine ran the pictures of what the reception was supposed to look like, and low and behold, Jennifer had a fish tank pool dance floor. And I was like girl, I did that 5 years ago, you are so late. That felt good that I was ahead of the curve; but it was a costly curve.
AMBERmag.com: Where there any mistakes that made you rethink ever following this dream?
DV: My philosophy is that I absolutely live with no regrets, ever! Primarily because every decision that I make in my life, I’m very thoughtful about. I pray and I seek guidance and I really felt that it was the best decision at that time. Now there may be decisions that I have grown from that only simply made me better,absolutely. But I don’t believe in regrets because the words of the great poet, Mr. West, everything made me who I am.
AMBERmag.com: How do you keep yourself from not getting into a rut?
DV: I don’t study any of my peers, I don’t go to trade shows, I don’t read trade magazines. And I know Preston Davis and David Tuterra, and I respect them tremendously. But I know that whatever I do, it has to come from here (points to heart), it has to come from my heart and my own instinctual inspiration. So I look to other areas: car shows, electronics, fashion, walks in the parks, I mean sitting in a park and taking it all in. I have a job in Dallas later on this year for Bishop TD Jakes and his wife. She said she wants to do something private in their home. And I wanted to do something a little left, chic, modern. And as fate would have it, I decided I was going to fashion week in Paris and I was so inspired and I came back so full of creativity. The French, they live well. A glass of champagne is a big deal and when I do get in those ruts, I travel. I try to experience other cultures. I honestly think we take for granted that we are the end-all-be-all and we become arrogant as a culture. But you don’t know any better until you go to some little village in Paris and see these artists who created these things without tools with no instructions—just with their hands and the power of God guiding them.