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How Low Can They Go?

Wedding reality shows, that is.

Last night I was watching an episode of Battle of the Wedding Designers over on TLC. For those of you lucky enough to be unfamiliar, this is a show where a couple gives an idea of how much money they have, how many guests they expect, and their general preferences for a wedding. Three wedding planners are then given said budget, size, and taste restraints. Each planner comes up with a plan for how to spend that money and presents said plan to the couple. The couple then pick one planner’s dream and hand over the bucks. The audience gets to see how it all turns out.

Fair enough.

Last night’s couple, Xenia and Ezra, had a serious budget crunch. Xenia lost her job right after Ezra proposed and hasn’t been able to find another yet. They’d managed to scrape up $5,000 and hoped to have a tropical themed wedding with 75 guests.

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Shhh… Don’t Tell

jpmayita
It’s not often that I find a bridal reality show that I actually find fun and intriguing. Yesterday, though, I spent an afternoon watching Don’t Tell the Bride on BBCAmerica, and I’m pleased to say it was head and shoulders above most bridal infotainment on television.

So what’s the deal with this one? It’s pretty simple. A lovestruck – but broke – couple is chosen by the show. This couple is handed a cool 12,000 pounds to plan their wedding. The catch? They must live apart during the process and not speak to one another, and the groom does all the planning. He has four weeks to organize everything from the venue to the order of service to the wedding gown and accessories… everything for the wedding. He is allowed help from one friend, usually the Best Man, and he is allowed to add any funds to the budget that he can scrape up out of his own savings or donations from either family.
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Getting the Perfect Wedding Gown 101

Choosing a wedding gown is an exciting process. Years of dreams coalesce into one shopping experience. At long last you see yourself in bridal finery. It’s a heady time. Unfortunately, it’s also a time when it’s easy to lose your head a bit.

Let’s face it, your wedding gown may well be the single most expensive piece of clothing you ever own, especially if you purchase it from a traditional salon.

Ultimately, no matter how well-meaning or sweet the people working there, the salon is there to make money. Of course there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s a Business. businesses need to make money in order to stay in business. The thing is that you still have to pay attention, listen to your gut, and know when to step back. After all, it’s in everyone’s best interests for you to have a good experience.

But you still need to do your end of the work.

So what do you need to do? Read on and see.
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WEdding Myths and Realities

You know, every twice in a while it’s a good thing to dust off the cultural assumptions, take a long, hard look at them, and then have a good laugh. I do this pretty much every sunday afternoon/evening while sitting down with WETV’s WE Go Bridal Sunday.

Why do I subject myself to so many hours of Bridezillas, Platinum Weddings, My Fair Wedding (though in truth I find it extremely difficult to stomach much of that one), and all the rest? Because they are rich in the unspoken mythos of weddings and marriage.

So what are some of the top wedding/marriage myths dished out? What’s the reality behind them? Take a look beyond the cut to see.

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Say Yes to the Dress? Or to Your Guests?

I don’t often watch Say Yes to the Dress. It’s not out of hatred, either. It’s more that I tend to forget it’s on at all. On it, women shop for wedding gowns at Kleinfeld Bridal in New York.

We watch the process as consultants work with brides – some of whom have flown in from all over the country – to find the right gown for the right woman. In general, it’s actually not bad. Yes, I think it’s a bit much for a woman who lives in Seattle and has just been laid off her job to fly all the way to New York for a wedding gown…but I can’t magically see into her bank account, either. And yes, that actually happened in an episode shown last night.

In fact, the episode was about women who fell in love with gowns well out of their price range. It happens. You see something gorgeous, try it on, fall in love, and then see what it will cost you. OUCH!

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Whose Decision?

The other day, my good friend and compatriot, Fabrisse, brought something hideous to my attention. It’s an upcoming reality show on the CW charmingly entitled ‘Hitched or Ditched.’

Yes, it’s more or less what you would expect: a couple is ‘nominated’ by a fiend…er, friend or relative. Said Nosy Parker has decided that the couple in question is taking too long to march to the altar and needs to be hurried up. The show then badgers the couple, I mean offers them an ultimatum: plan and carry out your dreams for a wedding in one week while subjecting yourself to a series of (most likely extremely humiliating) public personalized tests designed to ‘help’ the couple decide whether they are truly ready to marry. At the end of the week, in the midst of all the pomp and circumstance of their dream wedding, they must decide at the altar whether to marry in that instant, or go their separate ways forever.

Yeah. No pressure there.

Okay, I could barely tolerate this concept in theory if the demand for instant lifelong commitment came from one member of the couple. I would still consider the whole thing manipulative and skeevy in the extreme, but at least I could see some small excuse.

My biggest problem is with the fact that the couple is nominated (read: publicly shamed) into this circus by someone who isn’t one of them. There may be an issue involved that a third party isn’t aware of. After all, pretty much nobody around me and Mr. Twistie had any idea why we waited seven years to get married. There were reasons, and they were good ones, but we didn’t feel like sharing them with the world. I’ve even known couples who adore one another but have realized that sharing a roof and a checking account and a kitchen just isn’t for them.

The fact is, each couple is different. They have to take their relationship at the pace their priorities, circumstances, and needs dictate. It wasn’t anyone else’s decision when it was right for me and Mr. Twistie to marry; it was ours. We made that decision when we were good and ready. You should do the same.

Remember, you and your significant other are the ones having the relationship. You need to tailor it to you. And yes, that includes deciding for yourselves when (or whether) you’re ready to get married.

Keeping Your Nuptials Nice

Kirby sent a link to this video of a very… spirited wedding that is actually a promo for Wild Roses. While this thankfully isn’t a record of some real affair ruined by feuding families, it did get me to thinking. One does hope that most brides and grooms get to enjoy idyllic weddings, but the fact is that some ceremonies and receptions will be marred by squabbles, cattiness, yelling, and the occasional punch in the eye.

Once upon a time I might have asked myself just who uses a wedding as a forum to give new life to old tensions, but that was before I ended up connected via marriage to some people with large chips on their shoulders. The long and the short of it is that weddings can bring out the worst in people — even people who are otherwise sane and balanced. Common offenders include divorced parents, siblings on the outs, former lovers, and anyone who doesn’t quite approve of the union being consecrated.

So how can you prevent a matrimonial meltdown like the one above? The key is to diffuse whatever tensions can be diffused before the big day instead of worrying impotently about what might happen on the big day. Here are just some of the ways you can prevent major big day blowouts:

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