Bravotv.com: Why was this wedding so important to you?
Lynne Diamante: Let me preface the answer to this question by giving a bit of background on my event. Our 15th wedding anniversary was a happy, milestone event that most couples like to celebrate. Whether it's a 15, 20 or 25 year celebration, many couples like to have a party for friends and relatives. Whether it’s a traditional anniversary party or an all out wedding vow renewal, I think it is wonderful to celebrate.
Our celebration was a bit different and deeply meaningful given the personal circumstances. My Dad passed away unexpectedly from cancer a few weeks before my actual wedding in 1998. He was so excited about my wedding, he planned almost all of the details, including selecting my gown, the menu, the cake, etc! He was a beautiful and kind man and a well known philanthropist in New England. His intentions to throw a beautiful event for me, his only daughter, were very pure and heartfelt. After his passing, I did not know what to do; however, the wedding plans were in place and I knew he wanted the wedding he had planned to go on as planned. It was a bittersweet day. My Dad actually fixed me up with my husband (Haha, yep a good old fashioned arranged marriage) and he was so right! I knew how much it meant to him that the actual event was perfect! After my Dad’s passing we considered cancelling the actual elaborate affair knowing how hard it would be for everyone, having a tiny ceremony just for us instead, but ultimately decided to go through with it because those were his wishes.
It was a bittersweet day for all involved. It really hit me as I shakily walked down the aisle with my brother and my soon to be father-in-law on either side that my Dad was not there for that defining moment of every girl’s life. My Mom was walked into church by my brother-in-law instead of being with my Dad. The father/daughter dance never happened and my Mom greeted guests on her own without her husband of nearly 45 years. My Dad’s death was still so new and so painful on the day of my wedding, I don’t know how we all put on brave faces and got through the day.
Hearing criticism of my 15th wedding vow renewal from Shelley and Vanassa is hard. Yes, my husband and I have had many "drive by" weddings in Las Vegas and other places. All silly attempts by me to try and get further away from the dark memory of my actual wedding being a "wedding and a funeral" mixed in the same time frame. We never had guests, a sit down dinner, a beautiful venue, a band, a full wedding party or anything similar to a real anniversary party at any of the other renewals. This renewal, for our 15 year wedding anniversary was our first real party of any sort with any real planning and official invitations as opposed to us ending up at the "Neon Chapel of Elvis Love" in Vegas as a spur of the moment funny thing to do while on a weekend getaway for other anniversaries. Unlike Vanassa’s nasty claim that I purposely planned my renewal the day of her walk, an affair this fun and elaborate takes months, if not years of planning to reserve the proper vendors, order dresses, favors, etc. No, Vanassa, this big, beautiful celebration of my father’s memory and my wonderful marriage was not purposely planned in 3 days to coincide with your walk.
Our first wedding was very traditional. It was classic and followed all the rules of etiquette. Our 15 year anniversary renewal was not meant to be traditional in any way! It was a celebration of life! It was a party in which our guests could escape to an enchanted fantasy garden for a few hours and live in the dream that all good things are possible: silver trees come to life, beautiful, colorful butterflies alight on the flowers, a wedding cake full of edible glitter and gargoyles to protect guests from any bad things that may come their way. This was meant to be a whimsical, silly and very cool way to celebrate life, to celebrate my Dad’s memory, to celebrate happiness. It is hurtful to see that some of my fellow cast members missed the point of the joy and eclectic feel of being in an enchanted garden. It was a theme, just like any other theme seen at charity events or parties. Some people have a vintage 20’s theme, some people have pulled off a masquerade theme, there are endless possibilities. It was unfair and cruel to be made fun of for my choice to celebrate dreams, life, and happiness in honor of my Dad and my 15 year anniversary.
To hear Vanassa say, "I don’t need this circus display of affection for my husband to prove to the world that we’re committed to one another," really stopped me in my tracks and made me rethink what type of a person says something like that. This renewal was more about being a party, letting go of the sadness of the original memory and having my mom and my whole family attain the freedom to move on from mourning the original day. It was a celebration of life in honor of the beautiful memory of an amazing Dad who wanted my wedding day to be truly happy, not what it turned out to be in 1998.