Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why I Love 'Don't Tell the Bride'

OK I admit it. I've become hooked on that British TV show Don't Tell the Bride. The premise is that a groom gets $20,000 to plan the wedding. The catch is that he has to plan the wedding in 30 days and he can't talk with the bride or get her input. And $20,000 doesn't go any further in merry old England than it does in the States.

Why do I love it so? Because I've learned something and confirmed another. 

First, almost all of the grooms hire the first venue they come across. Rookie mistake. Sometimes this takes up 50% or more of their budget! Those castles in England don't come cheap. But then the grooms are left with so little money, they can only cater a barbeque on the castle lawn (!), or go cap in hand to beg for additional funds from their parents. I suppose this is what makes for drama and humor. Often a level-headed friend will set it all to rights ("Are you crazy? You can't have a barbeque at a wedding!"). Or some considerate wedding professional will give good advice or a good deal to pull them out of the hole they've dug. 

For once, a reality show reflects reality. Couples feel pressured to hire or buy elements of their wedding as quickly as they find them for fear they'll never find anything else that suits them. Don't do it! Do some research to see what prices are realistic IN EVERY CATEGORY in the city where your wedding will take place so you can set priorities and make good choices. Otherwise, will this really be the wedding of your dreams? Spending a little more time on research and setting priorities up front will save a lot of heartache later.

After making that initial mistake, the grooms go on to make an even bigger one. They ALWAYS pick a dress that their brides HATE. After many tears (hers) and gnashing of teeth (his),  the groom manages to scrape up enough money to buy a second dress even though he couldn't get any money back for the first dress. He has made his bride happy about the one thing that mattered most to her. Then the bride is able to give the groom the one thing that matters most to him - appreciation for his efforts, no matter how things turned out. The bride maintains a regal bearing and a bemused look as she surveys the rest of the groom's odd decisions.

That brings me to what has been confirmed. 

What it really comes down to is understanding what is important to each key participant - bride, groom, parents - before going on the first site visit. Then, it's a balancing act to make sure everyone is happy, while sticking to the budget. The extent to which the bride and groom understand, communicate and respect each other's wishes and feelings, and those of their families, gives a clue about how the rest of their married life will go.

It won't be long now before they come up with the American version. I can't wait.

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