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It’s All Happening At the Zoo


When it comes time to pick your wedding/reception venue, we all know the choices, right? Church, hotel, charming country inn, someone’s backyard, the beach at Aruba, the local VFW hall… yeah, same old, same old. But have you ever considered your local zoo?

On a recent episode of Four Brides, one of the couples in the competition held their wedding and reception at the zoo. I was struck immediately by how charming a spot it was for celebrating. When guests arrived, they got to play at the zoo for a while before heading to the ceremony location. Once the couple had been pronounced legally spliced, the guests took a scenic tram ride to the reception area, where a giraffe peered over the wall into the festivities as if to request its own slice of wedding cake. All in all, it looked like a fun time. In fact, that’s the couple that won the honeymoon prize. I feel sure it was in significant part because of their fabulous location.
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Quickie Question: What Would Make it Worthwhile to You?


When I’m watching bridal reality shows, I often wonder what the brides profiled are getting out of the experience. Okay, on Four Weddings, you get an chance at winning a fabulous all-expenses-paid honeymoon to a romantic location you probably couldn’t have afforded, plus free food, liquor, and dancing at three other weddings. Oh, and you don’t automatically get your reputation trashed on national television. On My Fair Wedding With David Tutera, you do get portrayed as a tasteless person who can’t plan her way out of a paper bag… but you do get a wedding you could never have afforded otherwise.

So yes, there are shows where I can see the payoff. It might not strike me as worth the downside, but I can see where someone else would consider it a reasonable price to pay.

But Bridezillas? The first few seasons there was a note at the end of the show that the couples featured got something like a three night stay at a honeymoon resort. I know I heard a rumor somewhere along the line that the couples get videotapes of their weddings, but I’ve never seen anything official that either confirms or denies said rumor. And these days the final credits say nothing about that honeymoon, either.

So I have to ask myself… what are these women getting out of the experience other than a chance to appear on national television as an object of derision and ritual scapegoat? After all, the point of the show is to behave as horribly as humanly possible for the amusement of others and the whitewashing of lesser bridal naughtiness on the parts of other brides. And they don’t appear to even be getting a honeymoon out of it anymore! Not that the honeymoon would have made it worthwhile to me in the first place.

In fact, I can’t think of anything that show could give me that would make up for being a national object of horror and disdain. Frankly, I stand firmly with Iago on this one: “But he that filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him and makes me poor indeed.”

Okay, they aren’t filching anything. Women are lining up around city blocks for the chance to hurl their good names to the four winds and anyone with a basic cable package. I’m just not sure why.

But I’m going to ask here and now, what would be your price? Do you even have one? What do you think could tempt you to audition for Bridezillas?

STORIbook a Little Grimm


The bullets I take for you people.

Okay, okay, I admit it. I’ve always had a bit of a thing when it comes to Tori Spelling. Pretty much my favorite tacky pleasure (and I do have more than a couple) is watching Tori Spelling get gutted like a fish on Lifetime Movie channel. The best part is the impassioned speech at the end about how everyone – including the victim – is to blame in her death with one, lone exception: Kellie Martin who actually does the gutting. Love it!

So when I came to the conclusion that I could no longer put off checking out Tori & Dean: sTORIbook Weddings (Yes, they really do spell it with a lower case s, an i instead of a y, and her name all in caps. I did not make that up), I was prepared to spend the time longing for Kellie Martin to make an unscheduled appearance and not be guilty again… but maybe of slapping Tori in the face with a moldy mackerel rather than outright murder. What? I’m not a total monster! I’m not really in favor of murdering anyone at all.

All in all, it wasn’t quite that bad, though there were a couple moments when I had a lazy desire for a spork to consider using on myself.
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Five Tips to Keep On Budget

When it comes to your wedding, it’s easy to get a little carried away. So many things are expected, so many of us have dreamed about pretty things, so many businesses are lining up eagerly to sell us pretty things we had never even considered. And what’s the one thing each of those pretty things has in common? They cost money.

No matter how carefully we budget in advance, it can be easy to add a few dollars here, and indulge a little there until we suddenly discover that we will spend our first married year eating our choice of rice or beans every day, because we can’t even afford both at the same time.

But with a little extra care, we can avoid overspending. Here are a few ideas on how to keep the budget from blowing out of proportion.
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Redneck and Proud of It


Every twice in a while, a bridal reality show comes along behind my back. This was definitely the case with CMTs My Big Redneck Wedding. At least it makes a change from bridal weight-loss shows. Here’s what CMT has to say about the show:

CMT gives a whole new meaning to for better or for worse. After scouring the country to find the most down-home country couples, CMT documents their journey down the aisle, as outrageous and over the top as it might be. Each episode, hosted by Tom Arnold, will feature a different redneck wedding, each with its own rustic eccentricities, whether it is a four-legged best man, a romantic beer can canopy, a celebratory shotgun salute or a reception filled with mattress surfing and mud wrestling.

The couple shown above, Chris and Jennifer Rodriguez, chose the Redneck Yacht Club for their venue, sent out beer bottle invitations, and were married (well, they’d actually already had a civil wedding beforehand) under an arch of mufflers. The bride and groom both wore camouflage, and their ring bearer was a remote-controlled Chevy truck.

Hey, whatever floats their boats, right? That’s what we say here at Manolo for the Brides. We believe in freedom of expression and defining fun for yourselves, after all.

There is, however, one thing that gives me pause about the experience the Rodriguez’s had. Here’s the thing as reported in the Herald Tribune:

Once they were chosen for “Redneck Wedding,” they began making arrangements with a reality show producer. Things did not go smoothly.

“We kept butting heads,” Jennifer says.

Negotiations continued right up to New Year’s Day with a new producer.

“They started to get you drunk before I even got there,” Chris says. “And when I got there, they gave me a bottle of Hennessy.”

Seriously, folks, if you have to get your reality show participants drunk to get them to agree to your plans, chances are you’re exploiting them rather than making their dreams come true.

That said, as much as I’m not a redneck kind of gal at all… I have to admit the idea of playing horseshoes with toilet seats is oddly appealing to me.

I just hope that other couples don’t need to be sloshed to find the producers’ ideas happy-making.

Play Nice, Brides!


As some of you may have noticed, I take the bullet of the bridal reality show beat around here. There are shows I actually quite enjoy, and others that make me want to spork my own eyes out watching them. One of the ones I’ve always kind of enjoyed is TLC’s Four Weddings.

What I’ve always enjoyed was the fact that while each bride wants to win the free honeymoon and thinks her wedding must be the best, whichever groom steps out of the car at the end of the show, the other three brides have usually been happy for the winner. The sour grapes have always been at a minimum.

This season, though, I’ve been seeing a lot more nastiness to the competition. In one episode, the other three brides all humphed that they couldn’t believe that the winner won… and not one of them took into consideration that they are the ones who voted for her wedding.

I’m also seeing more cattiness in the comments throughout the show. Last year the brides seemed a lot more willing to accept that other people have different ideas of what makes a good wedding. This season, the negativity starts with the introductions. If one bride says in her opening statement that she hates outdoor weddings, the next bride is sure to be holding her shindig out of doors. If one dislikes buffets, that’s how the next one intends to feed her guests. Neither will be persuaded that the other’s approach isn’t anathema by actually attending the wedding, either.

TLC, one of the things I’ve loved about this show is the fact that people with very different tastes and backgrounds have been generally supportive of one another, and sometimes had their eyes opened to a cool alternative approach they wouldn’t have thought they would like. Now the negativity is starting to get to me. If I want to see Brides Behaving Badly, I’ll subject myself to a marathon of Bridezillas. If I want to buy into the cultural myth that women are biologically incapable of being supportive of one another, I’ll watch The Women on an endless loop.

I want to see varying possibilities of wedding planning. I want to see people appreciating the hard work and imagination of others, even if they aren’t wild about the final effect. I want a kinder, gentler bridal show… you know, like this one used to be.

I Hadn’t Really Thought About It That Way

via Cristiano Ronaldo (WARNING: Many images NSFW… or the faint of heart about boobies and other ladybits)

So. I was watching Four Weddings the other night (Fridays, 10:00, 9:00 Central on TLC) and was quite intrigued with one couple: Rachel and Brad. They were actors who put together a rather gloriously OTT wedding. There were bagpipes and air horns at least one acrobat, and handfasting done with sparkly ribbons, and the groom vowing never to smoke another cigarette. In fact, Mr. Twistie and I both agreed it was one we wished we could have gone to… and when Mr. Twistie gets as enthusiastic about a wedding as to want to be there, well, you know it’s a party.

Anyway, one of the less than conventional decisions that Rachel and Brad made was to have their wedding rings tattooed on rather than going the more common route of buying metal bands. Fair enough. Not my thing, but then needles wig me out on an epic level. Mr. Twistie, too. We would happily live in a universe where needles never, ever, ever get inserted into human flesh. But it wasn’t our decision to make. It was Brad and Rachel’s decision, and they chose to have ink on their hands.

In the opening interview, Rachel talked about how much more practical this is because you can’t accidently lose your ring. After all, a marriage is supposed to last a lifetime. She called it ‘more functional.’

Okay. Of course I know a lot more couples who have gotten divorced than have lost their wedding rings, but I can see where she’s coming from and have no beef with her reasoning or her reasons. It’s her finger. She gets to determine whether it bears a ring, a tattoo, or nothing at all.

When I started getting it as a cool thing was during the ceremony. The happy couple was asked to explain their choice to their guests. So what did Brad say?

It’s a blood oath, and the only tattoo that will ever adorn my body.

Dayum! Now that’s the sound of a committed groom!

How could Rachel top that? One simple declarative sentence:

You’re in my flesh forever.

Will Rachel and Brad live happily ever after? Will they always be happy with their decision to opt for ink over gold? Those are questions I cannot answer. All I know is they’re going in expecting forever and refusing to be anyone but themselves.

And you know what? I think that gives them at least two and a half legs up on people who don’t enter marriage precisely that way.

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