A peek behind the scenes of an Offbeat Bride on a wedding reality show

June 20 | Guest post by StaceOdyssey

We've talked about reality TV before: Why you shouldn't watch them and what they're getting wrong. This time Tribesmaid StaceOdyssey is sharing what it's like to be an Offbeat Bride on a reality show.

To see Tribesmaid StaceOdyssey's full makeover, you'll have to tune in to TLC's ? to the Rescue.
To see Tribesmaid StaceOdessy's full makeover, you'll have to tune in to TLC's Randy to the Rescue.
As a connoisseur of reality TV, I have watched my fair share of wedding reality shows, even before I got engaged. "Say Yes to the Dress" has been one of my favorites, so I naturally signed up to be on a spin-off called "Randy to the Rescue" when I heard they were calling for brides in San Francisco.

After a couple of phone interviews and emails, I ended up being one of four brides that they would feature on the show. This show does not offer to give away free wedding dresses, so if I found a dress I'd still have to pay for it. To me, that wasn't a great deal because the dresses they feature on the show are in the range of around $2000 – $10,000. I still buy most of my regular wardrobe from thrift stores, so spending a couple thousand bucks on a dress that I'll wear for one day didn't feel right for me. However, the show gives a full wedding makeover to the featured brides so I thought that would be fun.

So, for the show, we did two shoots two days in a row, in one of the large banquet halls of a San Francisco hotel. My first day of shooting was a bummer.

I was supposed to be there at 3:45pm the first day. But then they changed their mind and told me that they wanted me there right away, so I got there as soon as I could. I did not get paid to be on the show so I had to work in the morning and it was off-putting to have to cut out early from work and rush to go there. But these things happen with TV shows.

I ended up waiting in their holding area until even AFTER my original call time. When they finally called me in things got rolling. The instructions for the show were for me to show up without makeup. I followed the rules and despite me asking several times they never put any makeup on me. So I had to go on a national TV without any makeup. Not even mascara! I felt really deceived, but it is a makeover show so I understand now that they want the makeover to be as dramatic as possible. I wish they would have just been honest with me about that.

One of my specifications when I got cast was that I wanted a silver wedding dress. I made that very clear from day one. The first day of shooting when I told the host, Randy, about my desire to have a silver wedding dress, he said, "Um…. do we even have any silver dresses?" I was told by the production staff that there would be some silver dresses for me to try on so I felt like they'd misled me again.

For a second I was concerned they were going to try to make me try on all fluffy white princess dresses — that would have been a serious waste of time. But Randy came through and found one silver dress, a gold dress, and a couple of white dresses with silver embellishments.

My entourage (my parents and my husband) and I all loved the gold dress. It's beautiful; it's a subtle gold color with silver embellishments and it looks really great on me. Early on, I told the production staff that my budget was $2000, but at $2145 this dress was only slightly over my budget.

While I definitely felt some pressure to get the dress — and I ultimately did — I actually don't have any regrets. Turns out, I needed the pressure. Because we can afford it — I just don't like spending money.

Ultimately, Randy, the host, really came through. And, I must say, Randy is the real deal. He was genuinely concerned with finding me a great dress that wasn't way over my budget. He was kind and spent time talking to me and my family off camera. He obviously loves his job and he is genuine.

I got my dress and my makeover and I loved it. Overall I am glad I did the show, but I do not want to do any other reality shows again.

The second day of shooting was much more fun — that was the day I got my wedding makeover. Surprisingly, they did not try to mainstream my hair or makeup and actually gave me exactly what I wanted. The best — and most surprising — part about it was that the staff were all excited to do something new.

They were tired of the TV brides who all want a white princess dress, beach curls with a low bun, and natural make-up. One of the camera women kept telling me, "We did a steampunk bride last year and it was so cool. I wish we could film more brides with theme weddings, or like a goth wedding or something." Even the makeup artist and the hair stylist were excited to do something new.

I have no idea why all wedding shows seem to primarily feature mainstream "traditional" weddings. I was actually shocked to find out that wedding shows are actually interested in featuring more offbeat weddings, but the supply isn't necessarily there. So there need to be more Offbeat Brides to step up and represent on TV!

I got my dress and my makeover and I loved it. Overall I am glad I did the show but I do not want to do any other reality shows again.

So watch for me on the only reality TV show I'll ever do: TLC's "Randy to the Rescue!" The episode is set to air on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 9pm Pacific Time. I'll be the roller derby lady with the atompunk wedding theme in the Bay Area.

We know you've probably been seeing the wedding show casting calls… So have any of you tried out to be on a show? Would you ever do reality TV?

  1. I was so relieved to read that you found support and encouragement cause that was the LAST thing I was expecting from this post! More Offbeat weddings on TV, please!

    ALSO I only just discovered that AtomPunk was a thing and now I know that I've been it all along. It's like coming home to roost in my fallout shelter.

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  2. I'll have to record the episode, I can't wait to see it!

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  3. I got my (Offbeat Lite) dress at Kleinfelds. I knew what I was getting myself in for but the dress I fell in love was only at Kleinfelds. My "consultant", who is a regular on Say Yes To The Dress, was nothing like the caring, empathetic person on TV. Don't get me wrong, she did her job but it felt like a burden for her to be there. And then Randy showed up. He is exactly like he appears on TV. He knows his stuff and is so warm. Anyway, the point of this comment is that Randy is awesome.

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    • Randy IS awesome. One of my friends tried on dresses at Kleinfelds…with absolutely no intention to buy that day. We were just having a fun, girly, get wedding inspiration day. The dresses she tried were nice, the consultant was professional. But then Randy swept in in all his glory to check in just as of the group spied a dress on another bride that we wanted our friend to try. Randy made it his mission to get her that dress! Minutes later he swept back in dress in hand. It was stunning. She didn't buy it, but it served as perfect inspiration what ended up being her wedding look. Thanks Randy!

      2 agree
  4. I am really glad you had a good experience, as that is not usually the norm. The way people are typically treated on reality shows are exactly why I left the industry.
    On a different note, I adore the color of the dress. Absolutely gorgeous.

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  5. The production crew and Randy were incredibly kind, patient, and supportive and I want to reiterate that I never felt like I had to buy the dress. I wrote about this right after the taping back in January and upon reading this now I kind of feel like my complaints are pretty nit-picky, but I still feel like I spent a lot of time on this for not getting paid to do it. However, I now realize how amazing it was to have a talented wedding stylist (Randy) help me find a dress.

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  6. not what I expected to read from the title… clearly I have some judgement about reality tv :-p but that's awesome and I'm glad you shared this tidbit that makes me rethink a little.

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  7. Cool, cool — can't wait to see this.
    Also am very pleased to hear that Randy is so genuine.

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  8. I hope that there is an update for this after the show airs tomorrow, for those of us that don't have access to the show. I'm thrilled to hear that Randy is as charming in real life as he looks to be on the show. Back when I had cable, I was obsessed with the show and really loved it when he'd show up. He seemed to care a lot about the brides.

    But seriously! Update us after the show airs! I want to see the whole dress!

    (Boy, I really said "show" a lot in this!)

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    • I'm not 100% positive on this but I think you can access the episode a day or two after it airs on TLC's website. Or maybe on Hulu/Youtube. Regardless, TLC should at least post pictures online I'd assume.

      I am overjoyed to hear that Randy is as amazing as I always thought he was. I was terrified to read this article because I thought my dreams were about to be shattered… I'm incredibly OffbeatLite and I've been hoping of meeting Randy for years ever since I saw him on TV, and I'm glad I can keep on hoping because it's not all a lie.

      2 agree
    • Hopefully we'll be able to link to it after the show airs. But either way, we'll definitely be posting some "after" photos.

      1 agrees
  9. I'm excited to see more! My Say Yes to the Dress crush was always that pink floral tight little number by Lazaro they showed multiple times on the show, but I just watch for entertainment because yikes, the prices. D: I'd love to see this new show because Randy always seemed like a sweetheart.

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  10. I watch Randy to the Rescue (guilty pleasure) and had noticed everyone looking make-upless when they arrive. (The cheetah print loving girl from last week in particular). Good to know that you really have to not wear make-up

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  11. I also applied to be on this show in the LA area but they did not call. I said I wanted a black dress but I guess they were too scared by that. I hope they will continue to feature offbeat brides and not only do one cool bride per season as wedding culture is definitely changing and those shows should reflect that!

    1 agrees
    • It was a little disappointing to see a giant ballroom filled wall-to-wall with dresses and pretty much all of them were white. I remember seeing one or two dark colored dresses but I don't think they were black. So maybe they just didn't have any black dresses and they knew they wouldn't be able to find a dress for you. I only had a few choices and luckily one of them worked out.

      It's crazy to me that so many brides want to get married in virginal white. How many people actually look good in white? I look like a ghost in white. I think the white dress thing is a self-perpetuating fashion problem – brides see it in the media and think that's what they're supposed to wear and then the media portrays brides in white wedding dresses because that's what women want.

      6 agree
      • I'm a huge fan of non-white dresses, and also look like a ghost in white (I've wanted a pink wedding dress for many years), but I'm going to get a white dress because my fiancé requested it. He's a pretty easygoing dude, and has absolutely no problems with anything else offbeat I throw at him, so since this was the one thing he specifically asked for (and he asked very sweetly!) I'm cool going with it. I think it'll take awhile to find a shade of white that doesn't leave me looking translucent or yellow (Simpsons skin, fun), but I'm up for the challenge. And I plan to have a crazy-big sash/bow on the back, so maybe I can work another colour in there!

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  12. Awww mannn! You're going to make me watch wedding reality TV and like it, aren't you? :P

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  13. If people are looking for a down to earth and diverse wedding reality show, I love Whose Wedding is it Anyway. I watch it on Netflix since I don't have cable, so I have no idea if it still comes on and what the network is. It features two weddings an episode from the planners perspectives so you get all kinds of couples and weddings of diverse backgrounds, family makeups, locations, budgets, priorities, and visions. I skip the super traditional and really high budget ones. I have seen quite a few offbeat weddings on that show, and budgets as low as $3000. And because its from the planners' perspective, there are often a lot of good behind-the-scenes planning and decorating and budgeting tips.

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  14. oh, i'm so glad to hear that randy is the real deal. i love him. lol. it would be sad if he was playing it up for TV and he was really a big fat jerk. haha

    i also want to say that, so far in my (limited) wedding planning experience, people have been really supportive and refreshed by what i've been doing. i wanted a blue dress. i looked high and low for one. (the biggest issue was that i wanted it to have a train…yeah. lol) i was looking at bridesmaid dresses online and found myself trying some on at the demetrios salon at macy's here in minneapolis, and the consultant was so excited to have a bride that wanted something different. she went back and dug out three dresses she had in mind for me (that i DIDN'T ask for, but were still barely within my budget) and one of them wound up be pretty much exactly what i was looking for. i hope my future experiences will be similar.

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  15. I'm really glad to read that you had such a positive experience. I guess when I read the title, I recalled the earlier articles featured on OBB as well as a number of times I did see offbeat/non-traditional brides featured on reality TV – and with the latter, I always got so angry at how they were basically looked down on for daring to deviate from the norm. But it's great that that wasn't your experience :-D And that's fantastic that so many of the people involved were so enthusiastic about doing things differently :-D
    I wish I can watch the episode but since I live in NZ, I cannot :(

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    • You can see some shows of "Say yes to the dress" on you tube. com now days, I go there when I miss a show because I often have to work the time the show appears on tv.

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  16. oh my goodness!!!!
    this is so coool
    and i'm hoping that the wedding i'm going to be a part of will be on "Say Yes to the Cure"….she is currently walking through another round of chemo…and the filming was pushed back to fall :( but wow, this is just super cool…..so imagine my yay when i see thisssss! eek!!! super super awesome – thanks for sharing your story!

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  17. This is so great reading this – can't wait to see it! I've been DVRing the show (had 3 on there) and literally just started watching them last night so what a surprise to read this today. Can't wait to see you on there – the dress sounds FAB! My daughter and son are both getting married next year (not to each other – we're not weird) so I'm all about weddings lately. So happy for you!

    1 agrees
  18. So excited to hear Randy is the real deal. But boo to the production team who told you they'd have what you wanted and then didn't. Yuck! Still… maybe you never would've loved that gold dress if you'd only tried on silver? Hope it was a decision you loved and never regretted.

    I'll totally have to watch… :)

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  19. I was on the short-lived reality show "Bling It On" featuring Sondra Celli (the woman who makes the dresses for "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding") and I had a very mixed experience. Filming was mostly a breeze. The production crew was fantastic and they never asked me to say or do anything that I didn't want to. They knew exactly what I wanted when I came in and the design process went well. I was a little frustrated that they kept calling me by my birth name and not what I asked to be called and what most of the world knows me by, but oh well.

    I did pay for my outfit at a discount, but I'm sad to say that if I knew what the quality would be like beforehand, I wouldn't have paid half that much. Sondra and her crew know nothing about how to build a corset despite me providing one as a reference. I've worn it a handful of times, it's unflattering (how do you make a corset unflattering?!), and it's literally falling apart.

    Lastly, Sondra felt the need (or was pressured by the production company) to imply that I was fat several times. She said "She's not small.", "Her back fat is going to hang over the side." and something about how if she makes it any tighter my flesh is going to spill out.

    Umm…really? Honestly, there was a tiny twinge of hurt, but mostly I just laughed because her calling me fat is ridiculous, rude, and her sewing skills are lackluster (irony?) Overall it was still a fun experience.

    If you're interested, here's a pic of the outfit on my Steampunk character's facebook page: http://tinyurl.com/pho4nzh

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    • You are not fat! I think you look beautiful in that outfit!

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    • That was the only episode of that show I ever watched!

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    • You are not fat!! I remember seeing that show and thought the outfit looked great and could not get over how she did not "get" what you were trying to tell her about your theme for your outfit. Sorry that it was not sewed properly, maybe she rushed into making it and I am not defending her at all but the outfit coming out of there should have been made to stand long wear. Your picture of your outfit on facebook is stunning!!!

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    • Thanks everyone! Luckily I'm happy with my body otherwise I would have been a little traumatized by Sondra's comments. I do recommend going on reality tv if you have the opportunity, but make sure you go in with a thick skin.

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      • Please tell me where I can find it online. I HAVE to see it. And I agree…you are gorgeous. An enviable figure. They be trifling…

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    • Wow. Too bad the quality of the dress wasn't made to last. I think you look gorgeous, totally NOT fat, and OMG the sparkly corset top is so awesome.

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  20. I can't wait to watch!! I'm sure you will look perfect in your gold dress!

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  21. Oh yay, I'm so glad you had a (mostly) good experience. My wife and I were on Say Yes to the Dress, and it was AWWWWFFFFUUUULLLLL, so when I saw the headline I was worried your experience would be the same. Yay for you, and I'll totally watch when it airs!

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  22. Oh, this article was great! I made the mistake of watching say yes to the dress and then put off dress shopping for 6 months. Thankfully, I'm still a year and a half out from my wedding, and the first place I went to eventually figured out what I want in a dress. (It takes me a minute to get my vision into words.) It turned out that she finally managed to get the shape and idea of the dress I want articulated better than I could have ever managed and then I said, "If that were baby blue it'd be perfect." I'll probably want to buy my dress from this lady because she then told me not to buy a dress that day because there were still three trunk shows this summer and she could keep her eyes open for light blue dresses at market that would be good in a tea length style. Seriously, sometimes those in the wedding industry do get bored and get super excited with different. I had the second consultant tell me she wanted to see pictures of my wedding even if I didn't buy a dress from her.

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  23. Paragraph 5? yeah. That happened to me when I was on "Oprah". When I was invited to appear, an informational packet was waiting for me at the hotel from the production assistants. In it, they repeated over and over that guests were not to wear any make-up to the set. Now, I have an auto-immune disease called CREST and one of the symptoms is called telangiectasia. It's what the T in CREST stands for and is, essentially, red spots on the skin from broken blood vessels. I have them all over my face.

    To go make-up free was incredibly difficult for me emotionally, but I followed the rules. Like you, despite asking several times about make-up in the chaos backstage, nothing was happening. I tried to remain calm, but inside I was freaking out. About ten minutes before showtime a lady ran into the green room lugging what looked like a toolbox. There were four of us who were supposed to be on the show that day. One by one the make-up artist ran a brush of powder over our faces and added lip gloss. That's it. No foundation, no blush, no mascara, nothing else. I knew the red spots would light up like a Christmas tree under the lights and I was terrified of the humiliation I was sure was about to face me. By the time I was given a seat on-stage, I was completely overwhelmed, my brain twisted into projections of fear.

    Fortunately, my unease didn't show when the episode appeared. But, when I watched a couple weeks later from the safety of my office, that's all I saw: the spots. Friends say they didn't notice, but they say that about seeing me live, too. Bless them. I guess love hides such blemishes from people who care. But, for me, as I said, it was incredibly distracting and embarrassing. I haven't watched the episode since.

    My advice to anyone else who is ever invited to be on TV: Wear make-up to the set no matter what the TV folks tell you. They can always wipe it off, if they have to.

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    • Oh my gosh.. you were on Oprah?! OK, that is big time. Yeah, I learned my lesson about the makeup thing.

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  24. As nice as it is to hear that Randy is just as sweet as he is on TV when I read your article I got most excited when you said you'd be the "roller derby lady…" My whole team is probably going to watch just because. Derby love, congrats.

    BTW who do you play for?

    1 agrees
    • Yea, derby love! I skate for Bay Area Derby Girls. I'm on the Richmond Wrecking Belles. I'm pretty sure the show isn't going to mention this, but when they filmed I had just gotten back on my skates after having ankle surgery… caused by derby, of course.

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      • B.A.D. makes me swoon. I have such a crush on Demanda Riot and shiny gold helmets.

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  25. Stace- I set to record this show after reading the article yesterday, but was too excited today and watched it live. You looked great without the make up. I LOVE how supportive your parents were/are. I wish my mom had said what yours said when it came to my wedding dress, and all I wanted was to cut the dress short. :)
    The dress and you were amazing! I think this is the first time a bridal show made me tear up. Hope we get to see more of the wedding!

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    • I'm totally glad it came through on the show how supportive my family is. In all honesty, my mom hated my goth look when I was younger but after awhile she realized I'm going to look however I want so she might as well just go with it. I think it's hard for moms to let go of their little girls and that includes dressing up said girls.

      1 agrees
  26. LOVE the gold dress on you! You look stunning! Congratulation!

    P.S. Brandon is so in love you he made me tear up a little :)

    2 agree
    • Thanks! I got a little teary eyed, too, from all the wonderful things Brandon said about me! He didn't tell me what he said in his interviews so I heard them when you heard them.

      1 agrees
  27. Just saw the episode- Stace looked AMAZING!
    Though I admittedly played Twitter police and responded to some rude comments, most of the nasty comments were over Sparkle's mother, which tells me that people are becoming more accepting of nontraditional weddings. I would REALLY like to see more Offbeat Brides on reality tv. I enjoy watching people with my same mindset on weddings and I think they're helping change attitudes!

    3 agree
  28. Does anyone have a link to watch the episode (or at least the parts with Stace?) for those of us without cable/that channel/out of the country/etc? I see there is a short clip on the TLC website but not the whole segment with her :( :( :(

    3 agree
  29. Just saw the episode! You look stunning! It was really cool to see an offbeat bride represented in a positive light on reality tv! Congratulations to you and your FH!

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    • The producers told me ahead of time that they want to make the brides and their entourage look good but I had to see it to believe it. The way we were portrayed is exactly how we are. Thanks!

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  30. You looked amazing! And what an awesome dress. Your fiance looked so sweet – he clearly loves you so much. Congratulations!

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  31. I just watched the show! You look absolutely amazing. And when your husband said "I see Stacey. I see what her inside is." just killed me. Look at me! Crying over here like I had just watched a Kleenex commercial or something…
    So, will we get to see your wedding on an OBB feature?

    1 agrees
    • I am planning on submitting my wedding to be on Offbeat Bride but I can't say if it will be on here. However, I will post a link to pictures here in the comments.

      1 agrees
  32. You look AMAZING! And it was so sweet to see all the love – Brandon and your family are awesome! I can't wait to hear more about your wedding! So much love, so much fun, and so much unique style :-) !

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  33. I just watched the episode- thanks for all of the behind-the-scenes info, btw! TV land is soooo interesting. First of all, you look stunning both with and without the makeup, and I LOVE how sweet and supportive your parents and FH are. Lucky you! Personally, I'm always a little surprised when other people seem shocked that my parents are okay with my off-beatness (even though I'm almost 40), especially when it comes to wedding planning. Oh, and of course the dress is beautiful and perfectly OB for you!! Congrats and have a wonderful wedding. Can't wait to see the pics.

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  34. I watched your episode! You looked so beautiful!

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  35. I saw that episode and loved you. The dress was awesome. Glad to know they did care and i agree with you. Finding what you want can be difficult. I want planning on going with white but due to finding a dress that had my personality (its white) I'm planning on dressing it up with black accessories to get the gothic look i want. would be nice though if more places had other options.

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    • I totally agree with you that there should be more availability of non-white wedding dresses. Your dress sounds like it will be cool!

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  36. I saw the show, you looked absolutely stunning! I loved the silver dress as well, but that gold dress was absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing your experience!!

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  37. As a groom I was approached at a wedding fair to be on a show called 'don't tell the bride'. The basic set up was 3 weeks and $20,000 to plan the wedding, the groom and his best man did all the planning, the bride hung out with her maid of honor and mum and looked at venues and dresses for what 'she would do' but the couple never communicated in that whole time. I couldn't say no quick enough! Not being equally involved in planning isn't worth $20k!

    1 agrees
    • I actually think that sounds awesome! I would love to see what my FH could plan if it was all on him. He and I have similar tastes though so I wouldn't be very worried.

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  38. I love wedding shows and have always wondered what they were like backstage. Thank you for sharing that. And I agree with everyone, you looked gorgeous.
    Did you recreate the same look for the actual wedding? I can't imagine doing anything to my hair/makeup on my own.

    0 agree
    • Thanks!

      My wedding isn't for another month but my plan is to recreate the look pretty closely. I am getting someone to do my hair and makeup because I would never be able to create that look on my own.

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