by Emily Heft
Rachel Burt, owner and lead planner at As You Wish Events, faced a new challenge as she took the reins planning her own nuptials. One of the hardest parts, she says, was choosing her wedding gown. Luckily, Rachel had help from the professional stylists from TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress.” She will appear in an episode airing tonight at 8 p.m.
Rachel met her fiancee Abel Garcia at the gym seven years ago. They’ve been together for six. In 2014, on Rachel’s birthday, Abel surprised her by leading her to the Bella Donna Chapel, a special location as the couple frequented the church’s services. Rachel was blindfolded, and her family was on-hand to assist Abel in popping the question. A row of Rachel’s male relatives handed her flowers and said snippets of a speech. When Rachel finally reached Abel, he got down on one knee at the altar, and she joyously accepted his proposal.
Rachel and Abel have enjoyed collaborating on the design for their dreamy yet nontraditional wedding, though he lets her handle the planning process. “I think he realizes this is what I do for a living, and I know all the right things to do,” said Rachel. “The music is really important to him, though, and he has helped select the menu.” Because the couple wanted their big day to reflect both of their styles, the two decided on the theme “Be a Part of our Art.” Abel, a local artist, will display his pieces during the reception cocktail hour.
The two will wed on June 17 at the W Hotel in Dallas. Rachel selected the venue because it is one of the only hotels in the city where she has not planned a wedding for a client. Plus, the W’s modern and fun vibe also matches her self-described “out-of-the-box style.”
We sat down with the wedding planner to get the scoop on her television debut.
How did you get the opportunity to be on “Say Yes to the Dress”? I applied! It’s a funny story. My friends and I were watching “The Bachelorette” and drinking red wine. One of my friends just said, you should apply to be on “Say Yes to the Dress.” And I said, no, there’s no way I’d get it! A couple of glasses of red wine later, she convinced me to do it. We started the application but quickly realized it’s intense, and took me about two hours to fill out. I [sent it in], and the next business day they called me, and we got to chat. They really liked my story as a luxury wedding planner out of Dallas figuring out what to do for my own wedding. We had a phone interview, then a Skype interview, and then they had me list out all the family and friends I would want to bring. Then they talked to all of them on the phone. Once all that was settled, and they decided who they wanted me to bring, we set a date, and went out there.
Why did you want to be on “Say Yes to the Dress”? I was really struggling with finding a dress. I have seen them all, because of all of my past clients and being in the wedding world. I have a very out-of-the-box style. I wanted to stand out and be different on my wedding day, and I was having a hard time finding a dress that encapsulated that here in town. I had probably tried on 50 dresses before I went on “Say Yes to the Dress.” It was perfect timing that they reached out to me.
What’s the process like on the show? I felt like I tried on a hundred dresses! I know I didn’t, but I was in and out of dresses all day. I tried somewhere around 15, I’d guess.
What were the stylists like? I worked with Randy Fenoli and Ellie Kirk. They were really excited because I told them that I’d try on any dress they had that other brides were scared to try on. They were really excited about getting me in all these crazy gowns. They weren’t pushy at all; they were so supportive and really great stylists who understood the style that I wanted. Sure, there were some I put on where I said, absolutely no, never. But there were a lot that I loved.
Did you bring your fiancé with you? I had my mom, my maid of honor (who is my best friend from high school), and one of my cousins, who is also a bridesmaid
Is he going to watch the episode with you? We are having a watch party tonight at The Joule, and he is coming, but I have headphones and a blindfold for him. Since he did that to me during his proposal, it’s a taste of his own medicine. So I’m going to have him put them on when the show comes on, but he’s allowed to party with us during the commercial breaks.
Could you give us a hint of what your dress looks like? We are having a contest [before we watch the episode] to see if anyone can guess what it’ll look like, so I can’t give too much away, but I can give you a teaser: it’s definitely not traditional!