Writing left handed

In Defense of the Wedding Reality Show (plus a whole lot of snark)

As most of you know, I love me a good wedding reality show. The dresses, the décor, the drama… they make folding laundry much more exciting.


(Note: I only allow myself to watching wedding reality shows when I’m folding laundry. And when I’m not feeling well. And on days that end with the letter “y” because there’s such a thing as self control.)

Anyway, the thing about wedding shows that PIC doesn’t get is that they’re educational. As such, when we sit down with the event planner at the end of our very first venue tour and she starts going on about chiavari chairs, my look is not one of “What the f*ck are chiavari chairs?”

(This is PIC’s look.)

My look is one of bemusement. I know all about chiavari chairs. Chiavari chairs, folding chairs, shabby chic chairs, Lucite chairs, chair covers, chair cover sashes, and so on.


And if this was, say, 2013 I’d be impressed. Chiavari chairs were all the rage back then.

But this is 2015.

Chiavari chairs are on their way out. Lucite chairs are on their way in. And don’t even get me started on the hideousness of chair covers. (“Why yes, I’d love to pay $7 a piece for an ill-fitted pillow case. Obviously you don’t realize you’re dealing with a pillow case genius, as demonstrated here, here and here.”)

Fortunately for us, my feelings on chiavari chairs are the same as my feelings on skinny jeans: initial suspicion followed by an eventual somewhat reluctant acceptance (and this acceptance generally occurs once the rest of the world has already moved on so I’m perfectly happy with chiavari chairs).

At any rate, I leave the appointment feeling very smug. I knew those countless hours in front of television would pay off eventually.

And so, for those of you looking to educate yourself (or looking for something to make you laugh when you should be doing your own “laundry folding”) here is my complete guide to wedding reality shows:

Say Yes to the Dress: this is the one where you watch people try on wedding dresses… for hours on end if you’re Netflix binging, and at the end of each episode, the bridal consultant asks, “Are you saying ‘yes’ to the dress?” and the bride says ‘yes’ and everyone starts crying. Unless they don’t select a dress, in which case the camera follows the guilty party out of the building and onto the street, lest they infect the other brides with their killjoy pragmatism.

Say Yes to the Dress, Atlanta: like the original, but battered and deep fried, southern style. My favorite part is when the bride is waffling and the token-gay-stylist says, “Let’s jack ‘er up!” Because you can never say no once you’re jacked up. (And if you’re wondering what “jacked up” means, don’t worry: I’ve used my anthropological skills to discover that at bridal salons in the south, “jacked up” refers to donning jewelry and a veil. Who knew?)

Say Yes to the Dress, Bridesmaids: this one has a new token-gay-stylist, and he even has a bit of a lisp so it’s the perfect storm of stereotypes. Speaking of which, is it just me or are all of the brides like 19 on the Say Yes Atlanta shows? I know, I know… shame on me.

My Fair Wedding with David Tutera: this one is especially great for making snarky comments, mainly because David himself makes most of them when he’s “called in” to “rescue” a bride from the grips of a décor disaster. His solution, inevitably, is to throw out everything she has already done and “move” the venue (most of the couples don’t even have venues) to some sort of “blank canvas” (i.e. warehouse), where he (i.e. his assistants) create a Moroccan caravan, a medieval fairytale, an underwater oasis or a 1950s diner as the circumstances dictate.

Randy to the Rescue: this one is kind of like Antiques Roadshow, except you don’t really learn anything of actual (or even historical) value. Randy (who got his start on Say Yes to the Dress) travels across the country and brides line up for their chance to win a bridal makeover, complete with the trademarked Bridal Blueprint, which includes “head to hem” instructions for them to take back to their stylists. I did tear up once while watching Randy to the Rescue but it was only because he deviated from his usual pick-someone-who-already-conforms-to-the-standard-conventions-of-beauty-and-make-them-even-more-standardly-conforming and selected a dwarf with a limp instead. (And no, I wasn’t actually trying to be snarky here; it was a cute story and she looked so happy after her makeover that you couldn’t help but get caught up.)

Married Away: this one combines two of my favorite things, wedding and travel! It focuses solely on destination weddings and I’ve watched every single episode I can get my hands on although I think destination weddings are kind of dumb on principle. (Unless, for example, the couple felt very strongly about supporting the local economy of some beautiful but as of yet “undiscovered” third world country, to such an extent that their financial contributions would offset their carbon footprint and even then it’s a stretch.)

Wedded to Perfection: this one was fun because all of the brides wanted super high ends wedding and you could sit there saying, “$500,000 for a wedding? What the f*ck is wrong with people???” It makes you feel very self-righteous and helps you to justify your own WIC desires…

*WIC= Wedding Industrial Complex

Bridezillas: my mom and I used to watch this one a lot when I was still living at home and my dad would come in and say, “Oh godddddd. What is with all the screaming? Is this that stupid wedding show?” I really wish there was a show called Bridezillas: The Horror Continues; it would feature the couple five years later. Because there is no way any of them have stood the test of time. And if they have, it’s probably only due to conjugal visits. (On another note, why would anyone even go on that show in the first place???)

Rich Bride, Poor Bride: this one’s from Canada, so they’re a bit more humane (socialized medicine, anyone?) As such, the first season wasn’t much fun, but as I work my way through the Hulu archives, I’m discovering that the brides get more zilla-ish as they progress. (Yes!!! In a recent episode, the bride smashed a hammer into a bathroom wall.) The cool this about this show is that the couples discuss how much they spent at the end of each episode and nine times out of ten, they’ve gone significantly over budget.

Rich Groom, Poor Groom: I honestly thought PIC might get into this one—the brides give up ALL control of the wedding in exchange for a $5,000 “budget boost” and the grooms plan everything!—but he was not amused. Which is, I suppose, just as well. He already knows more about ice sculptures than I’d like him to (that it is to say, he has become aware of their existence and now wants one) so I don’t want him getting any other crazy ideas.

And before we wrap up for today, I would like to inform you all that I compiled this list completely from memory.

As in I didn’t even have to look anything up.

I’m not sure if this is something to be proud of or… well, I’d rather not consider the alternative.

Anyway, did I miss any? Which are your favorites (or favorites to hate)?

10 Responses to “In Defense of the Wedding Reality Show (plus a whole lot of snark)”

  1. aeryn88

    I love My Fair Wedding with David Tutera, Say Yes to the Dress and Randy to the Rescue. Well this are the ones I can watch in Spain… But I’ve completely forbbiden to watch it when my bf is at home. So, as you I only watch it when I’m at home sick.

  2. Landlord No Longer

    Ice sculptures are soooooo overdone..sorry PIC! Maybe at the rehearsal dinner? 🙂 or in the guy garden?

    • Kat Richter

      I really just don’t understand the fascination. They are SO 1980s. Then again PIC’s list of potential first dance songs is all Def Leppard…

  3. Heather

    I’m remiss about this because I really don’t like the shows themselves, but there’s 4 weddings (the one where they each attend each other’s wedding in the hopes of winning a honeymoon). I know we all judge each others weddings, but I really hate watching the show because they’re so bitchy. Yeah, my choices aren’t yours, but they are me. So enough. But yeah, if you need another one to watch, try that one?

    • Kat Richter

      Ooh I totally forgot about 4 Weddings! I definitely watch that one too. But yeah, those women are bitchy with a capital B. The best is when they stand there going on and on about how nice each bride looks only to rip apart their receptions like 3 minutes later…

  4. evecatherine15

    I have never watched this type of reality TV show and never plan on doing so. I don’t need anymore guilty pleasures after America’s Next Top Model. You know that your mind deserves so much more than watching stupid people do stupid things, yet somehow you just can’t look away! -_-

    • Kat Richter

      Yeah, ANTM has never done it for me but I say stick with one addiction and one addiction only if you can; it’s a slippery slope!


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