Jessica Mulroney’s inbox is overflowing. It’s been flooded with messages from brides and grooms unsure whether or not to cancel their weddings in light of the coronavirus pandemic. “They are so devastated and wanting help and information,” she says from her Toronto home where, like the rest of us, she is social-distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and therefore (also like the rest of us) still in her pyjamas at 9:30 a.m. on a Thursday.
Unlike the rest of us, Mulroney is in the middle of a (now-virtual) press junket promoting her new CTV show, I Do, Redo, in which she plans second weddings for couples whose ceremonies were ruined the first time around. She certainly has the nuptials know-how. The stylist and TV personality, who is also known for being one of Meghan Markle's besties, helped launched bridal behemoth Kleinfeld at Hudson’s Bay in 2014 and has worked with brides since. She even (as the rumour goes), helped unofficially plan a certain Markle's wedding to Prince Harry in 2018.
With coronavirus shutting down cities and towns across the world, I Do, Redo seems like it will be the ultimate feel-good escape. (Prepare to cry, Mulroney warns me.) “Each and every one of these couples have a story that really deserves to be shared and people will learn a lot of from them," she says.
Here, we asked Mulroney about her new show, whether couples should postpone their weddings, and how they can celebrate instead.
Many brides are struggling with whether or not to cancel their weddings. As Canada’s wedding guru, what’s your advice?
I’m not a doctor, however social distancing is really the only answer at this point. Unfortunately, weddings have to be postponed. It’s a very difficult thing to tell brides and grooms who’ve been planning this for months. It’s such an emotional and financial investment, but the party will happen. At some point. If there’s anything I learned from I Do, Redo, it's that these couples endured the most-difficult situations to have their weddings. The one thing they focused on was their love, and the fact that they found their one. I think if [couples] focus on that right now [it will help].
When the day comes, how can they celebrate instead?
Tequila is always a great answer — I’m kidding! I think having a romantic night with your fiancé alone talking about future plans, staying positive. It’s a very specific question to each couple, but maybe find something very special that means a lot to each other and make a night of it at home. Whether that’s ordering your fave food and eating by candlelight. Being connected. Having your bridesmaids and your family on FaceTime and doing something together, that’s probably the best way to feel like you’re still being celebrated.
Is there any etiquette for telling your guests you're postponing because of coronavirus?
I don’t think etiquette is necessarily something brides and grooms have to worry about at this point. I think the proper solution is guests being extremely forgiving that this is a difficult time for the couple and perhaps looking at ways that they can help them.
The couples on I Do, Redo went through difficult times as well — any standout?
Our first couple, Mark and Mia. When they were engaged, he was wrongfully imprisoned for 27 years and they had to get married in a prison washroom. She stood by him for 27 years knowing that he was innocent. She didn’t miss a week of visiting him with their three sons.
Should I keep Kleenex on hand when I watch?
You should have them right next to you all the time. You’ll see me cry like a fool the whole [series].
Finally, how are you handling social-distancing?
I’ve been travelling five days every week for the past five months and missing my family, so I am actually taking this as a bit of a gift, to be honest. Talk to me in a week and I might feel a bit... [Laughs.] But for now, I’m just really enjoying the fact that I have my children and husband around me. It was a rigorous schedule doing this show. It definitely tested me quite a bit, so the fact that I don’t have to get dressed and I don’t have to put makeup on, and I can just do this over the phone with you, it feels like a blessing.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
I Do, Redo airs Sunday nights at 7 p.m. EST on CTV.