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Television | Manolo for the Brides - Part 4
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What If You Don’t Care?

If you listen to the popular mythology of wedding planning, every bride is exacting about every single detail of the wedding, no matter how small, no matter how insignificant to everyone else. Her most pressing problem is that nobody in the world cares so much about what she’s trying to do for them.

But if there’s one thing I know about popular mythology, it’s that it’s not everyone’s reality. In fact, it’s rarely anyone’s complete personal reality. Chances are there’s at least one aspect of planning your wedding that you honestly don’t care that much about.

Good and Bad Ideas Plus a Caution from Four Weddings

If there’s one wedding reality show I find myself really enjoying of late, it’s Four Weddings on TLC. For those unfamiliar, four brides getting married in the same area around the same time attend one anothers’ weddings and score them on the gown, the venue, the food, and the overall experience. The bride whose wedding gets the highest aggregate score wins a fabulous honeymoon to a surprise location, and the other three, well, they get to be on TV and attend three weddings without having to come up with a gift and being utterly free to snark or gush about whatever they please for the nation at large.

The two episodes I watched last night were particularly interesting to me, in that they included some really brilliant and some really, really questionable ideas. Take a look after the cut to see what I’m talking about.

Big Bliss? Moreso Than I’d Hoped

As you know, I subject myself to a wide range of bridal ‘entertainment’ on television in order to let you know the pitfalls and the few pleasant surprises that show up in the wonderful world of media. Last week I completely forgot to set my DVR for Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss. Well, this week I remembered just in time to catch the second of two episodes that aired.

I think part of my failure to plan for this was plain old fear.

Say Yes Goes Big

Fans of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress and/or its spinoff Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta, are about to get another dose of weekly bridal gown shopping reality in the form of another spinoff: Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss.

Yes, we’ll get the Kleinfeld’s drama as more bountifully built women experience it. Starting Oct. 1, you can tune in to TLC and see for yourself whether this turns out to be a sensitive portrait of gown shopping while large or whether it turns into another way of shaming and pathologizing women who wear sizes that carry double-digit tags.

Whichever the case, you can guarantee I’ll be checking out the drama and sharing my thoughts with all of you.

At Last I’ve Seen It All… But They Can’t Make Me Watch

I’ve never been a big fan of plastic surgery for purely cosmetic reasons. Then again, I’ve always figured it was a decision up to the person considering it. I don’t think less of someone for having had breast implants or a nose job or a tummy tuck. As I said, it’s a personal decision.

And while it’s not something I would recommend, I’m certainly not going to rain on the parade of a bride who decides that before the wedding is the time to have her chin or cheekbones enhanced.

But now E! has ordered a new bridal reality show. What does this have to do with plastic surgery? Everything, as it turns out.

You see, Bridalplasty (yes, you read that correctly, Bridalplasty is the name of this horror) is a competition. Each week, the brides will compete in a new challenge. The winner of said challenge will win – wait for it! – her choice of plastic surgery from the ‘wish list’ she has submitted. She goes straight in for surgery and the audience will see the results the following week in the next episode.

Think about it. The average competitive reality show has somewhere between twelve and sixteen players. On each of these shows, there are always several competitors who never win a single challenge. On each of these shows, one or two competitors seem to wind up winning at least three or four challenges each. That means that at least a couple of these women are going home looking very, very different than they did when they left.

Each week the competing brides will vote off one of their rivals until just one bride is left standing. Said last bride standing will win a dream wedding at which, of course, she will wear a veil with full blusher so that the audience can enjoy that voyeuristic moment when the groom gets his first chance to see what his bride now looks like. That’s right, he doesn’t get to see her until she stands at the altar in a brand new face.

All of this is, of course, in the name of seeing a ‘perfect bride.’ Because, you know, a woman who hasn’t been touched up by a surgeon can’t be perfect.

My advice? Ignore this show. It’s just trying to sell us all more on the idea that we’re not good enough as we are, that we are automatically better if we change ourselves quite possibly to the point of being unrecognizable.

Even if you do decide you want to change something about yourself before the wedding photos, you still want your nearest and dearest to know who you are when you walk down the aisle. Trust me, you’re good enough as is that someone asked you to marry him or her. You don’t need to change a thing to be good enough to deserve a pretty wedding or a happily ever after.

Don’t fall for the hype. Be you on your wedding day.

And this show? Let’s all agree not to watch it. We don’t need the toxic messages or the sensationalism.

Always a Bridesmaid’s Dress

“You can totally wear it again!”

How many times have bridesmaids been told precisely that as they cringe internally? I was told it about a dusty rose acetate taffeta (with matching polyester lace, no less!) high-necked, long-sleeved, full-skirted, tea length number once.

At least it was cheap. It never saw the light of day again. Then again, nothing in dusty rose ever would from my closet. It’s one of the few colors in the world that I detest and I look as though I’m in the final stages of terminal jaundice in it. I did, however, have better luck with the next two bridesmaids dresses I wore.

This week on Project Runway, Season 8, a group of women who were all told The Lie showed up to have their unfortunate polyester and acetate monstrosities turned into clothes they actually would want to wear again (but wouldn’t be able to after the runway show, because all designs on the show become the property of the show and are auctioned off at the end of the season).

Four Weddings, Dozens of Ideas

Working the bridal reality show beat, you’ll notice that there are very few that I recommend as helpful, or even particularly entertaining. That’s because I find that most bridal reality shows are a) unrealistic, b) determined to reinforce negative stereotypes of the process, c) shaming to couples with tight budgets, and d) big on the generic over the imaginative.

Sure, there are exceptions. Sometimes there’s an episode of Rich Bride, Poor Bride that has someone with their head on straight, and I do find Don’t Tell the Bride both endearing and fairly rational. Up to now, that’s been the list.

Well, I’ve finally found another one I think has some real value to real-life brides planning their own weddings. Oddly enough, it’s a reality contest show. Seriously? It is. It’s called Four Weddings, it’s on TLC, and it still takes a tidge of digging to get to the good stuff, but it’s in there.

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