Don’t Tell the Bride – Christmas in Wonderland

I’m going to start with a disclaimer. For the most part, this episode of Don’t Tell the Bride makes for extremely uncomfortable viewing. Mainly because it’s one of those episodes where the bride spends most of the three weeks in floods of tears. Also because he makes her mum cry. And pretty much bankrupts his whole family and his future in laws. OK bankrupts might be a bit dramatic, but it ain’t good!

So, for real this time *sob* for one last time – ladies and gentlemen, it can only be Don’t Tell the Bride.

So Alice and Juan met on a dating website. Here’s where the story gets confused. Alice was in London and was broke. She had £2 left in her wallet. So she went on a dating website?? I think you were looking for a bank, love! She then sent him an incredibly (a bit worryingly) forward message saying she was looking for pleasure or something.

Now that’s something to tell the grandkids… Moving on…

Alice is properly into her looks and her fashion. The fact that they’re telling us this means they’re setting us up for a truly shocking dress choice, I can feel it. She was on track for a fashion career in London until Juan wanted to move back to Brighton and Alice gave up her career to move with him and give up fashion…

OK I don’t know their personal circumstances but surely she could have a.) carried on and commuted to London b.) found a fashion house in very trendy Brighton or c.) set up on her own in Brighton… even if none of those were possible, why not work at a boutique? Surely going to work in a completely unrelated career is a bit drastic?

Anyway Alice’s three key words for a wedding are “classy, stylish and demure…” we’ll see.

Juan’s decided to go for an Alice in Wonderland themed wedding. Because her name is Alice. See? See what he did there? I’m thinking an awesome Mad Hatter’s Tea Party thing with vintage china, an epic cake and a bright colour scheme.

He’s not.

Time for Juan to leave – and it looks like he’s packed a skateboard… this does not bode well.

The best men arrive. Oh no, he wants a New York wedding! Now, if Don’t Tell the Bride history serves to teach us anything it’s that a last-minute overseas wedding on a £12k budget is totally unfeasible and ends in disaster. He also hasn’t actually read Alice in Wonderland – all he knows is “there’s a phat tea party”. Oh dear. I can hear Lewis Carroll turning in his grave…

Meanwhile, Alice is looking at a very traditional hotel. It’s all very plain, very safe… what she calls “understated”. The total opposite of a “phat tea party”.

So the New York idea… Juan has just blown £7000 on flights to New York. How’s that budget working out for you, Juan? I suppose with £5000 they can always get her a nice dress still… as long as they have the reception at Burger King! With most of their money gone, the boys fly out to New York.

Rather than, say, planning the wedding, the boys head to Time Square where they openly ogle a giant pair of breasts on a billboard. Classy. They then visit the Empire State building. So basically they’re enjoying a nice sightseeing trip.

Finally they decide to actually look at wedding venues and stumble across what appears to be a mini golf course-style castle with an outdoor wedding area in Central Park. In winter.

With only a few days left they decide that would be a great time to count their money. They have £2,500 for a reception venue, all the food, the dress… gormlessly staring into space they suddenly realise a wedding in expensive New York on peanuts might not be that great. The narrator calls them Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. More like Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber.

Finally Juan has his lightbulb moment “all I’ve done after a week and a half is plan sixteen holidays to New York.” They’d better be dream holidays, mate!

While Alice is browsing a high-end boutique for her perfect “demure Princess dress” (whatever that is) Juan is in Chinatown choosing her razzle dazzle number from a catalogue. Cool. I wonder if it’s one of those places where every so often the cops come and everyone has to hide in the back! I bought a bag from Chinatown once. It was from Guci. Yes I spelled that right. Fell apart after a day. But hey, intact wedding dresses are so last season.

Juan is trying to stick to his Alice in Wonderland theme for the dress. However, having never seen Alice in Wonderland, he’s having a bit of trouble. So he decides to play it safe. Just kidding! He goes for the most gaudy, tacky, Jordan-esque dress in the shop. The front is short and the back is long. There are plastic diamante flowers all over the see-through bodice. It was stored in a giant tub in the back of the shop. But don’t worry, he’s added some glittery butterflies for her hair. And he says she’s going to look “bang tidy”. How romantic.

Juan hires a blank canvas venue. Then basically gets the in house stylist to do everything. However he’s completely out of money – so he does what would have been a reasonable thing to do if he was planning an overseas wedding in a year’s time with everyone’s consent. He decides to go and beg everyone for money.

Now, if they’d all agreed to go to New York that would be perfectly OK. But with 2 days’ notice it’s not overly cool to spring a £500 bill on people! “They’ve got to cough up or they’re not coming. Effectively, they’re not only coming, but there’s no wedding if they don’t cough up.” Best man grunts in agreement.

He really does build them up before he drags them down though. “It’s in NEW YORK!!!” he shouts – but even the faux excitement doesn’t go down well with his very scary sister who can’t bring her kids. The father in law says he’s glad Juan doesn’t work for him. What a horrible thing to hear from your future in laws – but fair at this point!

He finally gets to the point and asks for £500 for the inconvenience of flying them abroad when they all have prior commitments. He then guilt trips them all and says “it’s just Alice’s wedding that [they’ll] ruin, basically” if they don’t pay. Wonderful.

Meanwhile he’s sent Alice to New York for her “hen party” – or so she thinks. While he’s busy shopping for props (a bird cage which he plans to fill with flowers – any idea how much that costs, mate?) Alice has landed in a wet and rainy New York. They’re unimpressed by New York and the whole overseas hen party thing until she finds out she’s getting married there. She seems temporarily appeased.

In a move that reeks of BBC meddling (don’t sue me – it’s just speculation!) Alice and co are booked into a grotty apartment in what looks like a proper ghetto. It doesn’t even have enough beds. Alice’s mum cries. It’s very uncomfortable. They get it sorted (after he guilt trips them again and says if they move hotels there won’t be a wedding) but making your future father in law ashamed and your future mother in law sob and clutch on to each other like someone’s died… good call Juan. Brilliant. She doesn’t even go to her own hen party. Tut tut tut. Naughty groom.

Oh dear – now she has to go and see the dress. “I hope something goes right today” says a bridesmaid. Well it won’t be the dress. Even the bridesmaids can’t pretend it’s remotely OK. “You can literally see my pubes” says Alice. Grim. Don’t worry he got her a wand to go with the dress! Maybe she can use it to magic herself a new one… well, she can’t magic one but she can choose another one from the catalogue Chinatown shop. She finds a less dismal dress and is happier.

I’ve just realised this is a great way to lower expectations – buy something so awful you couldn’t imagine anything worse, and then anything mediocre will look amazing in comparison. A clever ruse.

Finally it’s the morning of the wedding. The guests are freezing their bottoms off in Central Park while Alice is getting her hair done and complaining about Juan. As a final insult Juan gets her some ugly sparkly flats. Sigh. Then they have to get a cab to Central Park in heavy New York traffic while the guests huddle together for warmth like a bunch of murderous penguins. Finally at the park entrance she gets some proper transport, a nice coat and some £700 Jimmy Choos. Who did Juan rip off to be able to afford those then?

Finally Alice is happy. She’s still crying though. Bish bash bosh they’re married. She likes it. He takes her to the reception venue. It’s obviously been styled professionally but nonetheless she’s bought it and seems to be impressed.

All’s well that ends well.

So that’s it for Don’t Tell the Bride – for real! Read all the reviews from this series right HERE and have a wonderful Christmas break!

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