Tune In, Take Note, Say “I Do”
By virtue of being “the bride” you are the star of the wedding day. It is all about you. Don’t worry, your fiancé knew that when he proposed. You are the one everyone is looking at. You are the one who is the princess of the day. You are the one getting all the attention.
Lots of pressure being in the spotlight? For some, yes. For others, there is no such thing as enough attention. So these brides turn to reality TV, to make sure it’s not just their wedding guests and Facebook friends who will get to see them shine, it’s viewers across America. And sometimes that “shine” ain’t so pretty.
TLC, The Learning Channel, seems to be responsible for the bulk of wedding and bridal reality shows. Interesting, because you learn a lot for sure, but often it’s about how NOT to act! The Style Network, Women’s Entertainment (or WE), and even Bravo have all gotten in on the wedding show action.
A WEDDING STORY (TLC)
This show started airing in 1996, long before the high-drama variety of shows became popular, and you can catch reruns from time to time. The 30 minute episodes are always sweet, lovely stories where we meet the couple, hear about how they met, fell in love, how the groom proposed. No big controversies here. We go through a little of the planning process with the couple, but mainly focus on the big day. Everyone is happy. If you’re into the fighting, tears, and obnoxious behavior from some of the newer shows, take a breather, tune in, and watch this classic to calm your nerves.
SAY YES TO THE DRESS (TLC)
The show that seemed to kick start the craze for TLC. Set at Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City, the show features brides-to-be, their moms, their bridesmaids, their mothers-in-law, and anyone else they can bring wedding gown shopping. It’s almost like a reality show about dresses, which is cool, with a little drama thrown in for good measure. The Kleinfeld sales staff knows what they’re doing, and between those associates and the folks doing alterations, the brides always end up looking stunning. This show was such a huge ratings success for TLC, it inspired the network to go bridal reality TV crazy, producing more and more wedding-based shows.
BADA BLING BRIDES (TLC)
This gem of a show features a bridal salon that caters to, how shall I say, stereotypical caricatures of Italian girls from New Jersey. It’s sort of like the producers plucked one character from each of the Jersey-type shows, put them in a blender, and made them clients of the salon. Oddly, this show is filmed in Ontario, Canada, NOT in New Jersey, at the Sposa Italia showroom. The husband and wife owners work with a motto of “the more bling, the better.” Call me judgemental, but the brides often end up looking like chandeliers, lampshades, or white Christmas trees. However, for most of these women, the look is exactly what they were going for, and they own it.
BRIDES OF BEVERLY HILLS (TLC)
If you’re thinking this is a show about rich, beautiful people being rich and, well, beautiful, you’re not too far off. The very high-end Renee Strauss Salon is the setting for a show about women, most with impeccable taste, spending tons of money on designer wedding gowns. The staff is friendly, helpful, and fun to watch as they navigate through rows and rows of tulle, satin, and lace, all in hopes of finding the perfect dress, or sometimes dresses, for the bride-to-be. Every now and then you’ll see a client who can be a bit, um, challenging, like the heiress who compared herself to Paris Hilton, wanted a hot pink wedding dress, and something similar and snazzy for the tiny dog she toted around in her tote. But the Renee Strauss crew never flinches, delivering just what you’d expect from a high-class Beverly Hills bridal salon.
FOUR WEDDINGS (TLC)
Take a reality show about wedding planning, add a slight dash of game show mentality, and you’re got Four Weddings. The show takes four brides, has them meet and compare weddings. We all know brides-to-be have a favorite subject—their wedding plans! The women on this show get to talk about them in detail with each other. That’s where the game show mentality comes in… you can tell there’s a teeny bit of competition over whose wedding will “be the best.” They get to find out first hand, too, as they attend each other’s ceremonies and receptions.
WHOSE WEDDING IS IT ANYWAY? (STYLE NETWORK)
Meet two affianced couples. Each is planning the wedding of their dreams. Each works with a wedding planner to make it all happen… destination weddings, over-the-top receptions, even small and intimate gatherings. We spend a lot of time with the wedding planners on this show, watching them work to get the couples requests granted, small, large, or seemingly impossible. We also go along for dress fittings and other detail appointments, with the planners guiding the couple along to make sure they stay true to what they want. Not tons of over-the-top drama, but you can get a lot of great tips from this show, including how to stay within budget, get what you want, and stay organized.
MY FAIR WEDDING WITH DAVID TUTERA (WOMEN’S ENTERTAINMENT, OR WE)
David Tutera divides his time running a business, helping brides plan their weddings, and mugging for the camera. His side gig—laughing all the way to the bank! Tutera has created a huge franchise for himself, creating fairytale-esque weddings for his clients. His attention to detail and consideration of the brides wants and needs is lots of fun to watch. Tutera’s staff works alongside him to make these wedding dreams reality on this reality show. And while the bride might want something so bad she can taste it, Tutera knows it’s his job to reign the girls in and keep it classy. He is endearing, professional, and fantastic at what he does. Just ask him.
AMAZING WEDDING CAKES (WE)
Eye candy. I mean cake. Eye cake. Beautiful, extravagant, edible works of art are featured in a show that makes you dream in sugar. Talented pastry chefs and bakers make wedding cakes weighing hundreds of pounds, covered in details that seem impossible to create. But they do it! Layers upon layers of fondant, gum paste, sugar and color are formed into intricate sculptures so gorgeous, you can’t believe anyone would cut into it. These cakes range from thousands of dollars to “Oh No You Didn’t” prices. After seeing how many hours and people power it takes to put them together, it’s best for you to watch and dream, and use these masterpieces to get smaller, more realistic ideas for your own wedding cake.
Hmmmmm, with this cryptic title, and the commercials with women screaming and carrying on when they don’t get their way, I have no idea what this one could be about. Duh! And what fun to watch! To the untrained eye, it appears the brides on this show are spoiled, selfish, manipulative princesses with a “my way or the highway” mentality. It is just so hard for them to spend Daddy’s money fast enough when others get in the way of their visions. But one might wonder, is the magic in the editing? One bride featured on the show alleges just that, filing a lawsuit saying the footage was edited in a such a way to make her look like a Bridezilla. Sorry, sweetheart! If you said it or did it and it got caught on camera, that is why the rest of America is seeing it. At least that’s why the lawsuit got thrown out.
TOP CHEF (BRAVO)
Ok, this one is a stretch. I admit it. But I think back to an episode where an engaged couple, clearly fans of the show, allowed two teams of competing chefs, or cheftestants, design their reception menu. Two reception menus. Let me sketch out the episode for you. The bride and groom meet with said cheftestants to talk about their food likes and dislikes. Then, a day later, just ONE DAY LATER when everyone shows up to the reception, there are two surprise menus. I’ve seen some laid back brides in my time. In fact my sister was so laid back in the planning she was like a guest at her own wedding. But can you imagine not doing any tastings, not selecting any menu items, and just showing up to YOUR OWN RECEPTION having no clue what was going to be served? I know, sounds like fun!