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No More Drama!
Amalie Drury | Photo: Rick Aguilar Studios | December 7, 2012
A made-for-TV wedding goes off without a hitch.
Before a friend at her Greek Orthodox Church in L.A. set her up with the Midwestern orthopedic surgeon who would become her husband, reality TV star Jenni Pulos (of Bravo’s Flipping Out) had never been to Chicago. But when she did finally meet her soon-to-be city-in-law, Pulos loved what she saw so much that she decided only a ballroom with a view would do for their big fat Greek spring wedding.
“The Radisson Blu was everything I wanted,” Pulos says. “It reminded me of something you’d see in L.A.—modern and beautiful, with plenty of space for 350 of our nearest and dearest.” As local wedding planner Chad Jackson (once the in-house catering manager at the Radisson Blu) began to sort out the details over what he calls “roughly 800 text messages and 2am phone calls,” funny girl Pulos made it a point to torture her boss, Jeff Lewis, the pulls-no-punches interior designer whose life Flipping Out is based upon.
“He would threaten me, ‘If I have to hear about this wedding one more time!’ So of course I’d push it and talk about it even more,” says Pulos. In the end, though, Lewis helped her “edit and collect,” and he flew to Chicago for menu tastings and decor meetings that were all filmed for the show.
It was Pulos’ second wedding but Dr. Jonathan Nassos’ first, so they decided that smaller wasn’t necessarily better. “I didn’t want him to miss out,” says Pulos. “He was moving to L.A. for me, so it was important that the wedding be where his roots are, and with the people he cares about.”
A few big-name dress designers who heard the wedding would be featured on Flipping Out offered their services to Pulos, but in the end she tapped the New York-based designer Marc Bouwer, a friend who had once dressed her for an awards show. “When I saw his sketch, I cried,” Pulos says. “It was everything I’d dreamed about—that classic Grace Kelly thing.”
On the episodes of Flipping Out that highlight parts of the planning process, there are a few tense moments as Lewis berates Pulos for going overboard with her budget. In one scene, he turns on the snark and uses air quotes to refer to Jackson as Pulos’ “wedding planner.” (“He called me to apologize for that,” Jackson laughs.) But in actual, real-life reality, the day went off without a hitch.
“Jeff’s always looking for reasons to flip out, but he couldn’t really find any,” says Jackson, who admits to being nervous about having cameras in his face but otherwise felt things unfolded surprisingly smoothly. The only blooper? “We accidentally cut into the cardboard layer of the cake,” says Pulos.
Pulos and Nassos had their first dance to “Yes I Can” sung by Tommy Shaw of the band Styx, who originally wrote the song for his wife. (The Shaws’ home was recently remodeled on Flipping Out.) “It was so emotional, and one of those moments when I was like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening right now,’” says Pulos. “I’ll never forget it.”