Back in the early 2000s a young man from Burlington left his hometown to become a student at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte (UNCC) where he looked forward to pursuing a degree in public relations. What he left with was a B.A. in Mass Communications, the man of his dreams and soon, a whole new career.
That student was Lance Devereux, and now he’s the owner of Designs by Devereux, LLC, a competitor on VH1’s “My Celebrity Dream Wedding” television show and an entrepreneurial force to be reckoned with. A newlywed himself, Lance married Antonio Farrington (in May 2021), his best friend from college and together their life has been a whirlwind of the types of things dream weddings are made of. The two recently had a home built in Charlotte, where Devereux grew up, but now have are maintaining an additional residence in Atlanta where the VH1 show is filmed.
How did you get into the wedding planning business?
Honestly, initially I didn’t have much interest in the industry, but my parents were both wedding planners in Burlington, so it’s something I was exposed to and familiar with but not something that I saw myself doing. Then, while in college (almost 10 years ago) I was doing interior décor. A [straight female] client I’d done some interior décor for (a fellow UNCC student) asked me to do her wedding.
Who planned your wedding?
Dextor Rodgers of 19Eleven. He’s a dear friend and we co-designed my wedding.
Is there any difference in planning a heterosexual couple’s wedding, compared to an LGBTQ wedding?
No, the planning process is the same. I approach celebrating love the same, no matter who it is. All clients – whether LGBTQ, straight or whatever it may be – have different things they may want to include in their weddings. Being a member of the LGBTQ community myself, I do try to pay special attention to details for LGBTQ couples. Particularly with LGBTQ couples, I try to make sure that both individuals have a say in the process. Sometimes with a male/female couple there’s this expectation of tradition where only the bride has the say. I want to make sure that both parties are equally represented and free to contribute to the process.
How did you end up on “My Celebrity Dream Wedding”
I received a phone call from a casting agent who was referred to me by another local planner. This wasn’t the first of these types of calls I had received but nothing much ever came from it, so I didn’t want to get my hopes up. The interview process took about six months, while they narrowed down over 300 applicants to 10. They then flew me to L.A., which is when I thought, [rather] I knew, this is real! The next step was being flown to Atlanta to shoot the pilot, which aired on TV months later as a Valentine’s Day special.
What’s it like competing and appearing on “My Celebrity Dream Wedding”
It’s amazing, it’s lots of fun. I’m used to working for myself, so having the opportunity to work with two other amazing entrepreneurs and planners who are also used to being the boss, has been humbling, fun and good. It’s an experience that gives me the opportunity to really be my full self. People who know me, know I’m full of energy and like to have fun. I’m able to be that person on the show. People love it, couples love it.
What surprised you the most about participating on the show?
The budget. I knew that we were doing this for deserving couples who wanted huge celebrity styled weddings, but when you hear you have to bring some sense of a million-dollar event for someone with a $15000 budget [that’s challenging and surprising].
Outside of the show, what types of budgets are Designs by Devereux, LLC clients working with?
Through my journey as wedding planner and designer I’ve had the opportunity to work with all kinds of couples with all kinds of budgets. At this point in the journey, we’re working with a clientele that has access to a wedding budget of $75,000 or above. One of the things I’ve loved most about being on My Celebrity Dream Wedding is the opportunity to work with clients who are deserving of a dream wedding they’re not in a position to make happen.
Any tips for those planning a wedding on a tight budget?
Sometimes people feel like they have to follow traditions, when they don’t – like wedding favors. I’d suggest you take that money and put it into the day’s experience. The memory of that will last longer than something [like a wedding favor] that may be lost or thrown away. So, focus on memorable moments instead. You don’t have to spread décor throughout an entire space. A few conversation pieces will make it memorable; like a cake display, a backdrop or elevating the feel of the table your family is seated at.
What’s the most extravagant wedding you’ve ever planned to date?
NFL Arizona Cardinals D.J. Humphries’ wedding. His wife is from Charlotte and he’s also from North Carolina. The budget was well over $200,000 and it was held at the Ballantyne Resort. They spared no expense on details. There were specialty linens, luxurious florals, a five-star meal and an all-in experience for their guests.
What’s your dream wedding? Who are you just dying to plan for?
<Without a moment’s hesitation> It would be my ultimate dream to plan for Obamas. They are my dream client. But another event outside of weddings I’d love to do is Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball. I’m manifesting that, that will happen one day and I will have my hands on it.
Has the pandemic impacted wedding planning?
Yes. The pandemic has definitely impacted wedding planning. There was a period of about a year when our industry came to a halt. There were closures, restrictions and people were afraid to celebrate. But now, people are ready to celebrate, party and live. However, celebrations have become smaller and more intimate. People are starting to realize intimate celebrations [micro-weddings and events] can be great if not greater. No one is happy about COVID, but one byproduct I am happy about is that we’ve found a way to maintain and adjust.
What does the future hold for Lance Devereux? Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Hmmmmm, that’s such a loaded question. Personally, 10 years from now I hope to be achieving, beyond my wildest dreams. Ten years ago, I would have never imagined being where I am now, so I look forward to the ride. Someone recently asked me during Thanksgiving what I’m most thankful for this year. I said, I’m most thankful for the view…of what’s coming next. I can see a little piece of it but imagine it’s going to be even wilder than the glimpse I have now.
What’s down time like – if you ever have any? Do you have a go-to for chill time?
I love good food and I love good laughs with my husband, family and friends. I love to have at home moments with people I love. My husband, family and friends love to come together for homebody moments. It’s the piece of completion that I need to get through the rest of life. I also love to travel. It doesn’t always happen as often as I like, but we still like to get away when we can.
Now that you also have an additional residence in Atlanta, where is home?
Charlotte. Charlotte raised me. It’s where I really became my true self. When I embraced that, doors really started to open for me. In the moment it may not always feel like the easiest thing to do, but when you take that step, you’ll realize the fullness of what life truly has to offer.