Kayla Kitts

Featured Blogger for HGTVersus

Aug 17

Ask the Producer: The Wedding Challenge

Loren With Dina Manzo

Genevieve Gorder, Tanika Ray, Dina Manzo, Producer Loren Ruch, Vern Yip

Each week, we go behind the scenes of the show with Design Star producer Loren Ruch. This week, Loren shares how they found the bride and groom for the wedding episode and the skill set a TV designer really needs.

How did you choose the couple featured in the wedding challenge?
We hired a casting director to look for real couples who were already engaged, but willing to let up-and-coming designers plan their whole wedding reception! Of course, HGTV was happy to pay for the reception so that was an incentive, but it was a leap of faith to truly they let our Design Stars do everything from soup to nuts – and in my opinion, it turned out absolutely beautifully!

Did they really have the reception immediately following the shoot? Did the crew have to clean anything up or make changes after time for the designers was called?
You better believe it was real! That was one long day on set. The designers finished at about 6:00pm. We had the crew move the tools and equipment out of the way, and then Dina and our Design Panel had to walk through all of the spaces and make their assessments on all of the spaces. After all that, Tanika needed to reveal the room to the bride and groom!! From there, the caterers quickly loaded up the tables and the reception took place! I’ll never forget seeing a bus-full of guests pull up around 9pm (or later) to par-tay…and all this took place on a Tuesday night!!!! That said, it was a rockin’ event and everyone had a blast.

Did any of the elements look more impressive in person?
I always love that question! In my opinion the enormous standing mirrors behind the bar were gorgeous in person, as was Mark’s skateboard wall mural. I also particularly liked Kevin’s ‘groom’s den’. It was Brady Bunch meets Mad Men in the best possible way!

Why are these designers asked to paint, hang electrical, tile, build furniture etc., when real designers don’t do that stuff?
I beg to differ. Although these may not be tasks that you see designers do in your day-to-day life, they are tasks that are required by the majority of our HGTV hosts! I have personally witnessed John Gidding build incredible pieces of furniture and Emily Henderson paint her own walls on Secrets From A Stylist – so we may be asking them to do unusual tasks for the real world, but they are very usual for the life of a TV-designer.

Note from Loren: Thanks for all of your great questions…keep ‘em coming! We only have four more episodes left this season!!

Have a question for Loren? Ask in the comments below — he may just answer you next week.

Posted at 10:24 am

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  • 129 Comments

129 Comments

  1. Hi Loren! My question is- do the judges get to see video or hear many details about how the designers acted during the challenge, apart from just touring the end result? It seems like when they bring the designers in for the elimination, they are aware of some of the dynamics and personality conflicts that went on throughout the challenge, which I would think may be important to know in order to figure out who to eliminate!

    Lauren on August 17, 2011 at 7:41 am
  2. I am soooo glad that Cathy is gone!!!! She didn't want to learn anything, she didn't listen to anything the experts were telling her, and she worked horribly with everyone else. It makes me think she wouldn't work well with a client either because "she knows what's best"!!!! She was really getting on my nerves and am sooo glad she's gone!!

    Diane on August 17, 2011 at 7:45 am
    • I totally agree with your evaluation of Cathy! Every week, she continued to aggravate me more and more. I would NOT want to hire her for any type of project. Did you see how she completely ignored the other designers this week when asked what type of flowers she wanted on the main table; but then again she had the nerve to act oblivious when asked about the situation. Good riddance!

      Cathy Platas on August 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm
      • Cathy consistently tap-danced on my last nerve!!! She was so headstrong which, as long as the design is good, can work. Unfortunately, her designs were cluttered, messy, and unfocused. Plus, she was simply a mean person. Glad she's gone.

        CJHayesPhD on August 17, 2011 at 5:17 pm
        • I, for one, will not miss seeing her unsettling facial expressions.

          nofan on August 17, 2011 at 7:30 pm
    • I am sad to see Cathy off the show. She added such intelligence, professionalism and clarity for the viewer. Her work has consistently been creative and well executed. It looks like the producers edited the segments and created a villain for ratings. The fact is she was very much a seasoned interior designer, who responded to the program of the client, rather than creating solutions that were nothing more than bad decoration as demonstrated some of the other contestants. On a good note, let us hope the producers at HG will recognize Cathy's talent for another show that seriously and entertainingly offers viewers good design with ease and wit, while not dumbing down the content. :|

      Joseph on August 18, 2011 at 4:21 am
    • I totally agree with this…I almost quit watching the show because of her and I love this show…however, I really don't think this season is as good as others and it has nothing to do with the contestants remaining.

      jt787 on August 18, 2011 at 6:43 am
    • I so agree. She had an attitude that she was better than the other.

      marie on August 18, 2011 at 9:42 am
    • I agree, she said on her "good-bye"that there was some kind of conspiracy, that the other degigners had it out for her, because she was soooo much more better than them,and she had been in 3 national magazines, and that the others were threatened by her…Give me a Break…she thought her poop didn't stink…she was sooooo full of herself, and didn't give the other designers a chance, with her I'm soooo much better than you attitude, you can kiss my feet! If she does…ever get a design show on tv…I for one will not watch it… and will do my best to boycott it!

      jackiekaya on August 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm
    • I agree, Diane, Cathy was horrible and thought she knew better…seemed like all she did was randomly shop and argue with everyone she was teamed up with.

      Gale on August 19, 2011 at 1:08 pm
  3. Hi Loren.
    I am considering to try out for Design Star and have a question for you. If I am selected to compete, will I have any communication with my family? If not, could you explain why?
    Thanks in advance.

    ANNABELLE on August 17, 2011 at 7:46 am
  4. Hello Loren! I am curious to know how Cathy was able to be a design star contestant in the first place since I am to understand that she is already affiliated with HGTV in Canada!

    Margaret on August 17, 2011 at 8:02 am
  5. Did the couple find out–before the episode aired–which elements the judges loved and which they didn't? Did they have any say about what they liked and didn't like? (Or were they just too excited about having their wedding reception that such things were completely irrelevant? Come to think of it, I hope they didn't get pressed for what they didn't care for–who wants to think about that on their wedding day?)

    Both of the elements you mentioned looked pretty good on screen. I've seen a few people here not digging Mark's skateboard wall, but I think it was the needed, finishing touch on that wall–it wasn't done without a point. Hope the groom liked being represented! (I'm always confused about why weddings don't take the groom more into account. It's his wedding day, too, after all!)

    BuffaloBarbara on August 17, 2011 at 8:57 am
    • I DO AGREE THAT THE GROOM SHOULD HAVE BEEN REPRESETNED….IT SIMPLY SEEMS TO ME THAT THE DESIGN DID NOT BLEND PROPERLY. WITH THE VICTORIAN THEME THAT WAS DESIRED. KARL SAID THAT AND HE WAS CORRECT….HOWEVER, HE AND MARK LEFT TO DO OTHER ERRANDS AND NEVER HELPED PICK OUT WHAT THEY WERE CHOSEN TO DO…IT COULD HAVE BEEN ESCEPTIONAL IF THEY HAD ALL WORKED TOGETHER ON IT. ALL THE DESIGNERS WERE STRESSED OUT…PROBABLY BECAUSE OF CATHY AND THE TERRIBLE VIBE SHE GIVES OFF?

      danny on August 20, 2011 at 2:52 pm
  6. I love HGTV (except I am getting a little tired of all the House Hunters) – I especially love "Design Star" but the wedding reception episode was horrible. Having been a wedding coordinator at a high end Country Inn for five years and coordinating over 350 weddings during that time – I have never seen a uglier more garish room. And what about the chairs – they are an integral part of the decor. I thought the bride and groom mentioned "Victorian" and I did not see anything "Victorian" in the room. Everything about the room, tables, flowers, was horrible. I think you could have had three separte rooms with two designers each and maybe they could have produced a beautiful room. I would never do this kind of episode again.

    Linda on August 17, 2011 at 10:34 am
    • I agree with the house hunter shows…way to much…I think in todays economy we are more interested in learning how to improve our own home and HGTV seems to have veered away from the days we all learned something new!

      jt787 on August 18, 2011 at 6:38 am
      • Could not agree more. I'm not going to be out shopping for a home in Italy, not to mention at home, any time soon. Let's get back to real life.

        njg on August 18, 2011 at 7:10 am
    • I too was disappointed with the final reception presentation. I have been a wedding coordinator for small budget weddings for over 10 years and have turned out more with less. Granted there is usually more time and a third day might allow some time for planning and evaluation. I would like for this challenge to be done again, but maybe have two teams with a selected "Wedding coordinator/planner" to hype the competition, spur the imagination and keep the requested elements of the bride and groom to the forefront.

      Mz. B in KC on August 18, 2011 at 3:07 pm
    • I didn't think it was "horrible". I actually liked the flowers and the groom's room, and Mark's skateboard contribution. I think it was pretty much the only thing the groom mentioned specifically. So good on you, Mark. I think the fact that the wedding was free for the bride and groom meant EVERYTHING to them and that they would have been so psyched about just that…and being on TV….that they just didn't care about the rest. I do agree about the non-Victorian aspect, and probably that it is TOO important of a day to be so rushed. People spend a year or more planning their wedding. Plus, they had to have it on a Tuesday. Yuck. But then again…if they were happy with it, that's all that really matters. But if you do this again H.G., please have more time between the end of the judges walk-through, and the reception itself…just in case the room doesn't get done. All in all…I LOVE the show. I've seen every episode. But I do miss Clive.

      Deb on August 19, 2011 at 6:42 am
    • I DID LIKE THE ARRANGEMENT OF THOSE FABRIC HANGING LIGHTS IN MENS' LOUNGE AREA…VERY NICE DESIGN…NOT VICTORIAN BUT IT WAS ECCLECTIC ENOUGH TO GIVE A NICE LOOK….MARK'S SKATEBORAD WALL HANGING DID BLEND WITH THE VERTICALITY OF THEM EVEN THOUGH IT SEEMED NOT NECESSARY; THE FUNITURE WAS FAR TOO CONTEMPORARY EVEN THOUGH THE GROOM ASKED FOR SEATING IN THE AREA…..THERE WAS NO AGREEMENT ON WHAT TO PCIK OUT BECAUSE MARK AND KARL LEFT…..NOT A GOOD IDEA ON A TEAM PROJECT!!!!!!

      danny on August 20, 2011 at 7:29 am
  7. I agree with several of the previous comments. The wedding reception was a waste. See Linda's comments. I couldn't wait for Cathy to go! She was so full of herself and always blaming any mis-steps her "teammate" (as if she ever considered anyone else's ideas worthy!) There will be a lot less tension now that she's gone. She's also the reason some other people went home earlier. Good riddance!

    Christine G on August 17, 2011 at 10:57 am
    • As presented by the producers, Cathy's credentials are real. As a practicing interior designer, I know what it is like to mobilize a team to create a finished space, on budget, on schedule. Blaming her is irresponsible. Cathy is a pro.

      Laurence on August 18, 2011 at 4:25 am
      • Then as a "pro" she should have had some Victorian elements. Not one single thing she did had any wow! If we pay no attention to the buzz about her superiority complex, she still showed great weaknesses in every single episode. It seems what she had was a degree, then enough money (or other peoples money" to just be a pro shopper. I've seen better rooms at Art Van!

        kate on August 18, 2011 at 6:43 am
      • SHE DID NOT SHOW AN OUNCE OF PROFESSIONALISM, CONCERN, OR INTERGRITY…..HER CHOICES WERE OK BUT ALL THAT CHEAP STAGING BUSINESS RUINED HER….LET ALONE THAT HAUGHTY, MEAN ATTITUDE. SORRY, I PITY HER CLIENTS…IF SHE ACTUALLY AHS MANY OF THEM

        danny on August 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm
  8. Wow… Cathy's gone…. I have a hard time understanding her "design" expertise and her professionalism in the business. After 20 plus years in the business….. good taste…. well appointed words and just plain " goodness" go along way in the design field. I think that she had way more speaking engagements than design experience. I hope in the future that Design wins over speaking….. Cathy gets an "F" for professionalism….. her exit speech speaks for itself.

    Lori on August 17, 2011 at 11:58 am
    • YES, WHO COULD ACTUALLY PAY FOR HER "EXPERTISE'? OH, I FORGOT, THOSE GLOBAL PEOPLE!

      danny on August 18, 2011 at 4:21 pm
    • YES, CATHY WAS MORE THAN A PEST…..DRAMA QUEEN, DIVA, KNOW-NOTHING…..SO FUNNY TO SEE THAT SAD TABLE AND CHAIR SHE CAME UP WITH AFTER ALL THE BRAGGING ABOUT HER GLOBAL, FABULOUSNESS…..TOOK LONG ENOUGH TO GET RID OF HER, DIDN'T IT??????

      danny on August 20, 2011 at 7:33 am
  9. How many of you think Cathy is Omarosa's kid sister (or big sister). I have HATED her from week 1. Reading these posts I'm really excited to hear she is gone. I'm watching the DVR now.

    Cheryl on August 17, 2011 at 12:20 pm
    • This is the only episode that is protected on my DVR. I want to watch her get the boot over and over. She was so mean.

      donna brown on August 18, 2011 at 4:26 am
    • Hate is a strong word for someone for whom you donot know. Besides what has Cathy done to you personally? You are watching an edited show.

      lov4design on August 19, 2011 at 10:50 am
      • Now now. Only true haters can recognize another hater. They don't have to do anything personally to be hated. LOL!

        guest on August 19, 2011 at 11:29 am
  10. So glad Cathy is gone. Thought the wedding reception idea was terrible. It was not connected,it didn't flow.
    At least I hope the couple had a free reception. I wouldn't have paid for that. Have any of the designers been to a wedding where the centerpieces ruin theconversation at the table. They were way to tall. I like Mark and Kelli,but so far none have shown the star power of other years

    jo ann s on August 17, 2011 at 3:42 pm

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