By Douglas Nivens, II, For The Baltimore Sun
10:49 AM EDT, June 19, 2013
I have a rather busy life. I go to work during the day, school at night, and spend my weekends doing all of my household chores, visiting friends, and studying for the next week. However, I’m not a lean, mean reading machine; I rely on DVR to keep up to date with television shows that I can’t see during the week.
Before my engagement, my DVR held episodes of Meet the Press, Real Time with Bill Maher, and Hardball with Chris Matthews.
Post engagement, I now record TLC’s Four Weddings, a reality competition show where four brides compete to see who has the better wedding. The brides attend each others’ weddings, where they share their observations and rate their overall experience as a guest, the food, venue and wedding dress. The bride with the most points wins a honeymoon.
I used to eschew these faux reality shows with unbelievable wedding productions and hyped-up drama. Yet, despite their banality, these shows are addictive. They give viewers a sense of community, entertainment and inspiration. Some brides are genuinely likeable; others invite judgment. As you watch each bride walk down the aisle and say her vows you can feel her excitement. The grooms, on the other hand, are like bit characters instead of the leading co-star. Nevertheless, you see the authenticity of their attraction and fidelity to one another.
Becoming happily married, though, is not enough to win. These competing brides check one another’s weddings against their fictional expectation of what a “perfect” wedding should be.
One may think these brides would empathize with each other. All have felt the stress and anxiety of planning a great event. All understand that there are some things that are just beyond their control. But, having four brides compliment each other for 60 minutes would make for a boring episode. You can always expect a snide remark to accompany each compliment. Somebody will not like someone’s theme because it’s was not the “traditional” wedding. And, more often than not, the “nicest” bride earns the most points whereas the most snarky ends last.
Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about a camera crew following my every move at the Marriott. I’m not inviting any competing brides (or grooms), and my definition of perfection is simple: a intimate, personalized ceremony, an awesome party of a reception and endearing photos to remind me of the blur that was my wedding day.
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