A Groom's guide to a Wedding · General wedding musings

A Groom’s TV Guide – 16 weeks to go


Invitations, invitations everywhere! More to come on those in a few weeks, but while I frantically tie bits of string (or twine, if you prefer) around these little bundles of gorgeousness, The Boy has generously offered to take you through his “Top three” (I use the term loosely) of the many, many wedding shows I make him watch.

The Boy, over to you…


There were many things I was expecting about getting married. I anticipated the sudden need to wear jewellery; I was braced for conversations about ‘colour schemes’ and ‘favours’ [Ed: There’s no need to put them in quotation marks. They’re a thing. A proper thing.]… I was even prepared for everything to go drastically wrong (like, for instance, our venue cancelling our wedding).

What I did no foresee was the evil triptych of Don’t Tell The Bride, Say Yes To The Dress and Bridezillas.

Future grooms, these televisual experiences are in your future. You’ll have no choice but to embrace them. Here are my ‘top’ three:

3. Say Yes To The Dress

This is the most famous of the wedding dress shows. It takes place in an over-priced bridal boutique, and features family and friends watching their (often quite entitled) daughter/friend/sister try on dresses – whilst a smug wedding dress expert bestows his advice on them. They all give their opinions. Sometimes they disagree. Eventually they say ‘Yes to the dress’. Sounds boring? That’s because it is. [Ed: Don’t be mean about Randy. Randy Fenoli, and Monti & Lori from SYTTD Atlanta – that’s right, I’ve been secretly making you watch two versions –  are awesome, and I won’t hear a word against them.]

It is effectively wedding dress porn. The chance for brides-to-be to watch other brides-to-be try on pretty things. There’s nothing in this for the men. Of course, I cannot wait to see my beautiful future wife walk down the aisle in her carefully-selected gown. But I, and I am sure most other fellas, couldn’t care less about what over-emotional American drama queens wear on their big days.

Unfortunately, there are other shows like this to endure. Say Yes To The Dress: Bridesmaids is the same concept but involves multiple women getting demanding, aggressive and – sometimes – quite nasty over what frock they’re being told to wear.

And then there’s I Found The Gown, which is Don’t Tell The Bride set in the bridal boutique equivalent to TK Maxx.

The one piece of good news? Once your future wife has found her wedding finery, they tend to lose interest in the dress shows. They’ve found their gown, they’ve said yes to their dress. Thankfully.

2. Bridezillas

This is the most atrocious of all wedding shows. It’s where despicable excuses for humanity treat their friends like shit, their future husbands like nuisance fashion accessories and their families even worse… all while setting feminism back by about a decade (the word Bridezilla itself is actually incredibly sexist, but that’s a rant for a different day).

The worse thing about this show is that somehow these humourless ‘bridezillas’ tend to end up married and surrounded by friends and family. Cementing the idea that if you act like a twat, you’ll end up living happily ever after (except the one episode I watched where the ‘star’ of the show was abandoned by everyone and dumped by her husband straight after the ceremony. That was a good one. A victory for humankind).

There are two redeeming features that prevent the series from becoming the worst of all bridal shows. The first is the beautiful sarcasm of the narrator Mindy Burbano.

The second, and this is important, it makes you realise just how wonderfully calm and serene your partner is… even if you’re think they’re not. No matter how sad or angry your other half gets over a trivial matter (or what you perceive to be a trivial matter), at least she didn’t smash up your Xbox because you didn’t help with the wedding favours. Or pour water over one of her bridesmaids for oversleeping.

Bridezillas reminds you just how much worse it all could be.

1.    Don’t Tell The Bride

This is a rare treat of a wedding programme… it’s one which puts the groom in the central role. The idea is simple – the bloke must plan and organise the entire wedding, including the venue, the food, the music, the wedding dress and even the hen do. The bride can do nothing and know nothing whatsoever about what he is planning.

,It sounds fun, and it is. It teaches men just how stressful wedding planning is, and as it is a British show. it isn’t prone to the over-emotional hissy fits that define Bridezillas and Say Yes To The Dress.

But it is just as emotionally manipulative and – sometimes – mean spirited as the rest. Take for instance the fact that the groom is given £12,000 to spend on the wedding. It’s a decent amount for a moderate-sized wedding. You won’t afford a castle or a posh mansion, but you’ll put together a decent party.

Now, as the groom is forced to peruse venues that fit within that budget, the bride is, quite cruelly, shown an astonishingly beautiful location. She’s encouraged to say ‘this is just the wedding I want’ and ‘I hope he gets somewhere like this’. Except, if the groom were to book that venue, he’d need at least double his £12,000 budget. The show also takes the bride to a designer wedding dress shop to try on dresses there’s just no way the groom could afford (the wedding dress bit is impossible. I have no idea how any man could get that right).

There’s also the fact that there is simply no way these couples went on the show without at least discussing the wedding beforehand. I’ve lost count of the amount of episodes where the bride goes: ‘Oh, I hope it’s a traditional wedding and not one set in a wrestling ring’ and then it turns out it is in a wrestling ring, and she bloody loves it. If The Girl and I were to go on an episode, she’s already practiced her: ‘I hope there’s no Doctor Who’ and ‘It better be a modern wedding, I don’t want anything old-fashioned’.

The show is clearly built on a lie. I love the parts where the future brides say: ‘I hope he doesn’t ruin my dream day.’ Because if this really was their dream day, and you don’t want it screwed up, then… well… don’t go on Don’t Tell The Bride.

Now, there are of course a lot of selfish, stupid blokes on this show as well – kindly redressing the gender imbalance set about by Bridezillas. There’s the one that decided to get married in Vegas, despite the fact half the family couldn’t make it. There’s the one who went on an extended stag-do in Thailand because they apparently did cheap dresses. Or the one that spent more money on the best man’s suit than the bride’s dress (although that was more because the best man was a prat). Or the one that wanted to get married on a plane before parachuting out at it.

This show has the added benefit of being the opposite to Bridezillas. Just as Bridezillas shows the man just how low-maintenance their partner really is, Don’t Tell The Bride highlights just how sensitive and thoughtful you are.

But the bit I like the most about Don’t Tell The Bride is that, with a handful of exceptions, the programme tends to end with two people who really love each other starting their happy ever after. And that’s exactly what this is all about, right?

And with that, I am going to help my lovely fiancée, who has been spending the last two hours putting together our wedding invitations as I write indulgent words about TV programmes.

I’m nice like that.


Next week will be mostly about my volunteering day at Royal Trinity Hospice (if funky tights are your thing, check out their eBay shop), my trip to The Secret Vintage Fair, this sparkly poppy and, of course, wedding nonsense.



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