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With Where to I Do? Tommy Smythe has designs on getting couples their perfect wedding venues

Tommy Smythe is a long-time interior designer and property expert.

Now, as host of a newly premiered television series called Where to I Do?, the well-known Canadian personality is putting his skills to use to help engaged couples find unique wedding venues.

“There are lots of shows about the whole wedding, the planning, the dress,” says Smythe. “There’s never been a show just about wedding venues.”

Every episode begins with Smythe meeting a couple and understanding their often-differing ideas for the perfect wedding.

Rave meets whimsical beach wedding? Not a problem for Smythe and his team, who research countless venues but end up showing the couple only three.

The big decision is revealed at the end of the episode, on the wedding day itself. “There’s no need to declare which location was chosen,” he says. “Everyone’s looking forward to seeing the wedding at the end, anyhow!”

Smythe was recently in Calgary on his way to Lake Louise, where he was on assignment for the Marilyn Denis show. Though Season One of Where to I Do? has already been shot — mostly in and around Toronto — and is airing now on Gusto, he’s on the lookout for venues to use in Season Two.

“I’m not officially here in a capacity to scout venues but I always have my eyes open,” he says. “Our goal is to be as inclusive as possible for every part of Canada, and locations in Alberta are absolutely top of mind.”

To shoot in Alberta, Smythe needs to find one key component: Alberta couples.

Read on to see what Smythe has to say about who they’re hoping to cast for the second season, how Where to I Do? is a breath of fresh TV air and what couples need to know to find their own special wedding venue.

Not a wedding planner

“What I bring to the table is two-fold. First, as an interior designer for 25 years, the major component of what I do for a living is getting to know people quickly, understanding what they need quickly, working with personalities, and often working with conflicting agendas. It’s that, combined with my love of architecture and travel — locations, buildings, space planning — all are part of my lexicon of skills.”

The second biggest decision

“The thing that I know most of all is that the second major decision that a couple makes after saying, ‘We’re actually getting married and going to have a wedding,’ is, ‘Where are we going to do it?’ You have to have an address on your invites. The wedding venue can determine your dates, the kind of food that you have, the kind of dress that you buy.”

What the world needs now

“It’s lovely to be a part of something that’s super happy. I don’t like TV that’s about trials and tribulations — where there’s a winner and people get voted off and there are judgements. There’s a lot of that in TV right now. I feel like people are ready for the pendulum to swing the other way and to enjoy something that’s happy and about love. Our show is just about people getting married. What could be nicer?”

Know thyself, find thy venue

“It’s really all about knowing yourself and what you want. It’s the same with interior design. If you don’t know what you like, we have nothing to talk about. Ask yourself, ‘Do I like the outdoors? Am I a downtown city glamour girl or am I a boho country Coachella chick?’ The more couples know about themselves, the more conversations they have with each other before they start looking at venues, the narrower the field will be and the easier it will be to make a choice.”

Hands off, kind of

“I do nothing after we find the venue. The only thing that we do is we put together a graphic of what their wedding might look like because a lot of people don’t have the ability to completely visualize what an empty space could look like for a wedding. We give suggestions and you’ll see couples using them but some that don’t. We have couples who spend $15,000 to $350,000. It’s possible to do both. This show is not about fantasy weddings. This is about individual couples and what their fantasy weddings would look like — within their means.”

#Feedback

“People are crazy about (the show). I actually am one of those people who looks at the message boards to see what people are saying because it matters to me — and it influences what you do next. So far, people love it, I think because it’s new and it’s happy.”

Casting call

“What we’re looking for is Canadian stories. People who are really cool, excited to get married and are open to talking about where they might do it — and people who might have a challenge because they don’t want a standard wedding. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get married at the Legion hall — I’ve been to amazing weddings at venues like that — but for a TV show you want some out-of-the-box, interesting places. It’s a huge trend among young people — you don’t see a lot of the usual suspects anymore.”

Where to I Do? airs on Gusto. For season two casting information, head here.

Michelle Magnan McIvor is a Calgary-based writer. A former health and wellness columnist with the Calgary Herald, she has written for publications such as Maclean’s, Canadian Business, Chatelaine, Flare, Avenue and Reader’s Digest. You can find Michelle on TwitterInstagram and, most days, drinking coffee somewhere in Mission. 

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