Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Stylist gives scoop on Boston's 'Hitched or Ditched'

For celebrity wedding stylist Chad Michael Peters, the saying “for better or for worse” has new meaning after he was summoned to transform the Fairmont Copley Plaza into a stylish wedding venue for the made-in-Boston episode of the CW’s “Hitched or Ditched” reality show airing 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 2.

Peters helped orchestrate the ceremony for Jesse, a 30-year-old mortgage banker and Anissa, a 22-year-old systems analyst. After four years of courting, the couple is given “the ultimatum of a lifetime” and has a week to discover whether they should get married or go their separate ways.

“It was very high stress and I was working close with the producers day after day planning this over-the-top celebrity wedding,” he says, phoning from his home in Fairhaven. “It was, in essence, a very expensive art project. I started out as the floral stylist and really moved in, with my skill set, to give some valuable insight with regard to style and certainly thinking about weddings as fashion.”

The floral designer’s dilemma? He couldn’t consult with the couple until three days before the elaborate wedding ceremony.

“I heard what the bride and groom liked, but there was never any direct consultation,” Peters recalls. “Early on, I hadn’t met them at all and I wanted to put my passion into it. But, it was extremely important for me that if it was going to be somebody’s wedding that it needed to have this customized, personalized touch. It couldn’t be this blank thing or you wouldn’t get the emotion they wanted for TV.”

Following a couple on the verge of tying the knot, crews were in town filming last February at The Saint located at 90 Exeter St., up and down Commonwealth Avenue near Boston University and ultimately, at the Fairmont Copley Plaza.

When Peters finally consulted with the couple, he says the groom, Jesse, initially responded negatively.

“I met with them on a Saturday and the wedding was on a Tuesday and he was being so tough,” Peters remembers. “My designs were so beautiful and he said they looked like an Easter egg. I had a party planner moment and I was like, ‘this is your wedding. Are you going to mock your wedding on national TV?’ Jesse came to me after the production and apologized and said it was that moment when I won him over.”

However, winning over the bride and groom wasn’t the only hurdle thrown at Peters. After a disastrous accident involving a boom which knocked over his original arrangements releasing over 250 gallons of water, Peters then received a call from the network asking for a sexier design that would appeal to CW’s younger, “90210”-geared demographic.

“When we got the production call from the network saying ‘step it up and make it a fashion show,’ we really wanted to take it to the next level,” he recalls. “In the end, the director and the producers, all of whom have worked on ‘The Bachelor’ and are all big league, were effusively over the top. People at the ceremony said they could feel the passion in the room.”

The 37-year-old stylist adds, “It was exactly what you want Hollywood and Boston to be. There were parts of the design that I really pounded the table. And in the end, the pounding on the table was the difference between mediocrity and a brilliant TV show.”

CW has titled the Boston-set episode “A Cheater In Beantown,” alluding to potential issues regarding trust and infidelity with the couple. But will Anissa and Jesse ultimately tie the knot?

“I was there in the room while the whole thing went on, but I’m not going to tell you what happened,” Peters teases. “I will say that I was caught up in the moment, with tears in my eyes and was left breathless when the bride walked into the room.”

But, did they get hitched? “Well, you have to tune in to find out if she got married.”

Click here for the lowdown on Peters and here for the latest on CW's "Hitched or Ditched."--Photos courtesy The CW/Clare Folger and Person + Killian Photography.

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