Lessons you can learn from Don’t Tell The Bride on RTÉ

As the fourth season of RTE programme Don’t Tell The Bride, which is sponsored by DoneDeal, is on, we’ve put together some learnings from three of the couples’ experiences You have to admit, it’s compulsive viewing. For the majority of weddings you’ve been to, chances are it’s the bride that has organised everything. Reality TV series Don’t Tell The Bride, sponsored by DoneDeal, has us on tenterhooks as grooms take the wedding planning reins with three weeks and a fixed budget to plan a wedding without any input from their other half. The couples featured in the first three episodes of season four are: Eddie Kiely and Natasha Hosey from Waterford Alan Dunleavy and Trevor Moore in Dublin Cork couple Gerard O’Dea and Ciara Murphy So where do you start with putting a budget together? In order of importance, Eddie says there’s five things he has to organise: The dresses The venue The stag night The hen night Flowers His bride-to-be Natasha, asks how can there just be those things when many people plan their weddings for years. We’ve extended the list. Let us know what you think. 1) Bring on the romance A wedding day means many different things to different people. Make sure you talk about what you really want from yours. For Eddie it’s a nice hotel, according to his friends, while Natasha has always dreamed of a glamorous day. Alan thinks there shouldn’t be any difference between a straight and a gay wedding; Trevor’s initial research brings him down the party and more informal route. As Ciara sums it up: You have to consider the importance of romance and not just a party. 2) Be prepared for stress Gerard quips that as a paramedic he has training for high stress but there is no training for the stress involved in organising a wedding. Full-time student Alan finds managing the budget stressful having not seen a €50 note over the last few years, he says. And in Eddie’s experience there’s a lot of stress and nerves because things don’t fall into place easily when planning a wedding at such short notice on your own. 3) Bargain Niamh, a friend of Natasha’s says Eddie likes to get a good deal. And happy with the deal he gets he picks the first place he sees. This works out well for Eddie as he can then overspend on the dress because he got a good deal on the venue. Food is a concern for Alan as Trevor is a chef and so he does a deal with the hotel on price while retaining the quality of the menu. With a quote of €600 for the civil ceremony venue and a €400 available budget Gerard rings up saying he has €300 to spend. “Brass balls,” he says, getting it for €350. Both Gerard and Eddie ask for discounts on the wedding dresses – and get a few hundred euro off. 4) Theme or us? A running theme in Don’t Tell The Bride is that because they’re operating on a budget the grooms feel a theme will give the day that extra something. Hawaii theme As Eddie’s groomsman Paddy says – he doesn’t know why Eddie would make things difficult for himself with a themed wedding “when a standard wedding would be grand.” The beach theme that Eddie in Waterford opts for seems ridiculous at first considering viewers are aware of Natasha’s love of vintage and the historic style of the function room. However when we see the finished effect and him describing the beach scene to her as the fun area, it goes to show that maybe every wedding could do with a fun themed area complete with deckchairs. Gay pride theme For Trevor and Alan the theme is gay pride – and while this is all Alan’s doing, decking the place out with gay pride flags and incorporating the colours of the rainbow into the wedding, Trevor loves it on the day. Dirty Dancing theme Fair dues to him is all you can say when you see Gerard practicing his dance moves in the run up to the wedding day when he surprises Ciara with that famous dance from Dirty Dancing. This is the sort of thing that keeps the first dance fresh and fun. 5) Choosing common ground Getting the venue right is really vital – many couples have different priorities. In episode one Eddie’s friends say all he wants is a nice hotel. Natasha’s friends say the same: the venue is a big thing, she wants a fairytale white wedding. While she looks at a country estate, he opts for a city hotel. Natasha says she hopes he doesn’t jump into the first place he sees, that he thinks it through. While it all works out on the day, his love of a bargain is clear. Alan’s ideal wedding is a country wedding, 5-star plus, old-style traditional venue. Trevor’s research brings him to a large hotel in Dublin and a trendy bar with private function rooms On the other hand Ciara is adamant that she is not the princess/fairytale wedding type. 6) Always the bridesmaid… If picking bridesmaids isn’t difficult enough for brides, try getting a colour and style of dress to suit all the bridesmaids. That task becomes a million times harder with a lack of time and a lack of understanding from Don’t Tell The Bride grooms that this task takes time (especially on a limited budget). Eddie’s sister and sister-in-law-to-be have a disastrous day in Kilkenny, finding nothing. Eddie can pick the colour of dress he wants off the rail just not the type of dress the girls are willing to wear. So they have to go shopping themselves another day due to the logistics of it. When Gerard heads shopping with the bridesmaid, the first question we hear is: “Do you have a colour in mind?” Alan makes life easier, or is it more difficult by looking for seven different coloured dresses to go with his rainbow theme. Luck is on their side when they find a neutral coloured dress accessorised with colourful ribbons. 7) Get the stag and hen right A 10-minute drive around the local city in a time warp bus; dancing lessons; and shovelling shit did not go down well with Natasha, Trevor and Ciara. If you’re planning your own hen or stag make sure it’s on a par with your partner’s – or else you’ll feel hard done by. 8) The dress Unlike in real life, where the first glimpse most men see of a wedding dress is as their fiancée walks down the aisle, in Don’t Tell The Bride the men choose their partner’s ‘rigout‘. This lack of control really prompts honest discussion from their other halves about what they want to wear. The main worry for Natasha was the dress – the one she has in mind, she says, isn’t online or in shops. A fan of vintage styles, she is looking for something that shows off her personality and shows of their relationship: Something “elegant, classy, timeless, simple, not to fussy, not too plain.” Trevor makes it clear he’s never worn a dress so he won’t be wearing one for his wedding day. Still, style matters to him and his main concern is he wants a bought suit, not a hired suit and his dream suit is a tailored Louis Copeland one. “The dress is the killer,” says Ciara in Cork who is in love with lace until she tries on lace dresses. When Gerard has a wedding dress designed for her that has lace detail she’s not one bit happy. However, the day is saved when she falls in love with the dress and realises the significance of Gerard getting the dress specially made for her. Tip: Don’t think your ideal dress or suit is in the shops? Check DoneDeal’s wedding section for designers and worn once, never worn and vintage wedding wear for everybody in the wedding party. 9) Put thought into the little things Natasha’s father has memories of his wedding day and things he did for her mother who has since passed away. Remember you can get ideas from tradition. When Natasha’s bouquet arrives Eddie has images of her mother and grandmother attached, so they are with her walking down the aisle. Eddies mother advises him to look back at Natasha when the music starts and shake hands with her dad at the top of the aisle. 10) Transport It seems that each groom decided to have a bit of fun with the transport. And it’s very important to get the vehicle right. Trevor played a joke on Alan by sending a decoy taxi which Alan turned away, insisting he wasn’t going to go to his own wedding in a taxi. Seconds later a vintage car appeared followed by a classy limo for the bridesmaids. Eddie, keeping with the beach theme sent a VW surfer-style camper van in the Waterford colours of blue and white to pick up Natasha. Ger, a paramedic had Ciara collected in an old VW-style ambulance complete with flashing blue light. What part of planning a wedding do you find is the most difficult to agree on as a couple? Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below. #Wedding