A TV show I’ve been watching for YEARS is “Don’t Tell the Bride“. It’s been running since 2007, and despite moving TV channels FOUR times BBC Three (2007–15); BBC One (2015); Sky 1 (2016); E4 (2017–) – it’s still going strong, and episodes are still being made. The thing is, despite having different couples for each episode Don’t Tell the Bride is VERY samey. If you’ve not watched it, the couple get a budget of £14,000 for their wedding. The whole wedding has to be organised within 3 weeks by JUST the Groom. The bride has no input whatsoever. This is done by making the couple live apart for the period of filming.

I believe they even get their mobile phones taken during the filming, and given ‘dumb phones’ to make calls to wedding suppliers etc. Rumour has it that the couples have to sign a contract agreeing to not contact each other, and if they do, the budget is withdrawn. From memory there has only been one occasion where this rule had to be broken because of a medical emergency.

After watching it so much, you can pretty much predict exactly how each episode will pan out. I’m not sure if it’s because they pick similar couples, or have a very tight narrative – perhaps both? Either way, these are the 15 things that happen in every episode of Don’t Tell The Bride.

It's all smiles at the start of Don't Tell the Bride
It’s all smiles at the start of Don’t Tell the Bride
1. The Groom will be declared ‘useless’, a ‘big kid’ or ‘unable to handle responsibility’ almost immediately.

Don’t Tell the Bride doesn’t like to portray the Groom in a positive light to start with. After a ‘dramatisation’ of how they first met, you’ll then see shots of them playing on an xBox with the Bride to Be cleaning around them. The Bride will declare she makes all the ‘big decisions’ in their relationship because husband to be ‘can’t be trusted’. Quite why you’d hand the wedding over to your ‘man-child’ to organise is confusing, perhaps the ‘free’ £14,000 helps? I’m often left wondering if the couples actually like each other.

Can't you just feel the love? No? Oh...
Can’t you just feel the love? No? Oh…
2. The ‘Big Idea’ will be ridiculous.

There is a scene in every episode where the Groom declares his big idea for the wedding day. It will probably be tenuously linked to a first date, where they got engaged, somewhere they went on holiday once – or sometimes all three, at once. What’s surprising is that none of the couples have seemingly EVER spoken about their ideas about for a wedding before filming. The idea is often so off the wall, it feels like it’s been thought out by a monkey hitting predictive text. You want a Thai themed farm wedding? Why the fuck not?!

3. The Bride’s family / friends will have no faith in the Groom.

We’ll then cut to the Bride with her family and friends, discussing most of the things covered in point 1. No one will say anything remotely positive about him.

4. The venue is revealed!

The Groom will get ‘the lads’ over to go and reccy potential venues. It will undoubtedly be a nearby cave, social club, field, beach, public convenience, or tent. It won’t be anywhere you’d conventionally think of holding a wedding, because, well – Don’t Tell the Bride. Meanwhile..

5. The Bride’s DREAM venue!

The production team will ferry the Bride and her entourage to an ACTUAL wedding venue. Generally somewhere likely to be completely out of the budget, unlikely to be available at short notice, or (in earlier series) a Church that the Bride once walked past as a child. They’ll coo at how perfect it is, how it has ‘contemporary, rustic, modern charm’ etc. They might even pretend to walk down the ‘aisle’, or stroke the crystal glasses set out. The camera will then cut to the Groom doing something stupid like putting down a two grand deposit on an unlit aircraft hanger in a field just outside of town.

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