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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.
Bravotv.com: Tell us about Shelley cancelling on your wedding. What were you thinking when she got so upset? Were you happy she made it all work?
LD: It was hard to see Vanassa upset Shelley and put her in that situation. Vanassa originally told Shelley the walk and the speech were super early. That is why Shelley agreed to participate in my wedding. Shelley was a good friend to Vanassa when she originally told me that the walk was the same day and she was already committed to it, so when the timing of the walk occurring early and my wedding occurring late worked out it seemed like a great compromise. Then I believe Vanassa decided she wanted to manipulate Shelley and take her out of my wedding, and she found a way to change the timing of her speech from it’s original slot.
Vanassa has to manipulate, own and control all of her friends. She doesn’t want Shelley to have her own mind and make decisions for herself. Vanassa knew that Shelley was branching out to form stronger friendships with Lori-Ann, Susanna and I and couldn’t stand it that Shelley would be at my wedding for a whole day without her supervision. Maybe Shelley would start to see the difference between normal friends and controlling, manipulative ones? Vanassa treats Shelley like a child and uses a reward and punishment system of her friendship. Whatever the reason, Vanassa was going to find a way to stop Shelley from being at my wedding. Even when Shelley tries to address Vanassa and sort it out in Newport, what is Vanassa doing? Scrolling through her phone. Shelley has to ask her, "Can you please not look at your phone, I’m talking to you." Yes, that’s exactly how you treat a best friend. Vanassa then states, "I’ll have people there (at the walk) who love me, I’m good thanks." A true friend would have said to Shelley, "Well, you’re always there for me so if you need to do this, I support you, I don’t agree with your decision, but go for it." Hmmm. . .
It seems that no explanation is good enough for Shelley once Vanassa amps up the drama. I stated to Shelley in the kitchen in Newport, "I’m not mad." It was two days before the wedding and very inconsiderate for Shelley to pull out so close. It certainly wasn’t the worst thing in the world but I was feeling overwhelmed at that moment to get back home and make sure I got the plans back on track. The memories of people going through the receiving line at my original wedding saying to my Mom, "I’m sorry," came to mind. I stated in the kitchen that, "This is a new beginning for me." To hear Vanassa say, "And the Oscar goes to Lynne Diamante," really was like a getting hit in the face with a fish. What a sucker punch!
When Vanassa continues to later say, "What? Are you trying to out cancer me?" it is beyond my ability to adequately comprehend. My father passed from cancer, as well as several of his siblings, in fact, two of his sisters passed from breast cancer. Cancer is a terrible thing that destroys many families. Is that a joke to Vanassa? I am a skin cancer survivor and I am thankful it only required removal of the lesion. I did not let this define my life, instead I used it as a learning experience to grow and move on. I could never and would never use it as a manipulative weapon to gain sympathy and friends, that is not how a true survivor behaves. Cancer has harmed my family too many times and in too many different ways. I refuse to allow Vanassa to fling her drama out and say I deserve an Academy Award when she is truly the one who deserves several for her acting. . .and bad acting at that! Poking fun at my father’s death, which is the very reason for this renewal and making snarky comments about my own cancer experience is completely uncalled for and nasty. Vanassa also states, "I’m so over the wedding thing, who gets married 15 times?" Perhaps a more accurate statement from Vanassa could have been, "I’m so over Lynne’s Dad passing away from cancer and the fact that Lynne misses him." Just keeping it real.
Shelley states when I become very emotional about her cancelling, "I did not expect this reaction from Lynne by any stretch of the imagination, I was assuming she would be gracious and kind to me." I guess the fact that I thought so highly of her to read a beloved poem in my wedding wasn’'t gracious and kind? I have many long time and lovely girlfriends I could have chosen, but I chose Shelley for this honor. I wanted my renewal to be a fresh start and a new beginning, it was a blended mix of old and new, which is why I asked some of more recent friends to participate in the ceremony. I did not want this renewal to be a replica of my first wedding in any way. I thought carefully about who I wanted to be in my celebration and my real friends were all honored and in full support of their positions. Shelley is the only one who came into it with an attitude of having to placate me by agreeing. Her comments along the way were always sort of negative about the whole experience. Shelley states that, "After everything I’ve been through the past few days. . .I just hope it was worth it." She also states, "Well, I guess I can check off speaking at a Lebanese wedding with gargoyles hanging over my back, check!" I’m so saddened to hear that it was such a burden for Shelley to read my father’s favorite poem at a celebration of his life and my marriage. That is hurtful and disrespectful to my family and I. She also states that the gargoyles are, "A little creepy." Which is funny because the guests were all amused by the gargoyles and they generated some of the best photos!
Bravotv.com: What was your favorite part about the wedding?
LD: Overall, the cleansing and healing aspect of the whole day! It healed our hearts from mourning the sudden loss of my Dad in such close proximity to an event he was so happy about in 1998.
The absolute best part of the day, however, was when I walked out of the dressing area and my Mom got to feel the joy of seeing me in my dress without also feeling the pain and sorrow of grieving a death. I think my Mom says it best as we are both shedding tears of happiness, "Just go be happy." Then she adds, "I love you too much." I don’t think there could be anything better.
Bravotv.com: Was it everything you had hoped for?
LD: It was everything and beyond! My one regret after watching this episode is knowing that during such a happy time in my life, lies were being told about me by Leha in that same time frame. It is hard to hear her lying about that fact that I hired a private investigator. I NEVER HIRED A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR!
Let me just state, openly, and here: I never hired, employed or otherwise asked a private investigator in any way, shape or form to follow Leha or anyone in her family. None of my associates, colleagues, friends or family ever did such a thing. This simply did not happen! IT DID NOT HAPPEN! It is sad to see these false allegations mixed into an episode full of such personal joy because it is a flat out lie.