Have you ever wondered what it’s actually like to be at a Don’t Tell The Bride Wedding? How much does the bride really know? Who pays for it? And do the film crew get in the way…
All of these questions will be answered today folks… And I can vouch for the story too because I was at this wedding myself – as assistant photographer to Yvonne Lishman. When Yvonne told me she was shooting a DTTB wedding I thought it would be a great experience and it certainly was a very interesting day.
Many of you will have seen the TV show already – it aired in November 2013 on BBC3 and you can see some clips on the BBC3 Don’t Tell The Bride official page. You’ll recall the racetrack venue, the Harley Davidson escort, the safari themed reception marquee… And today you be able to hear from Luke the groom, Jess the Bride and Yvonne the photographer and you’ll find out how they each felt about being a part of the phenomenon that is Don’t Tell The Bride.
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Luke The Groom
One night I was watching BBC3s Don’t Tell The Bride with Jess and I said ‘it can’t be that hard, bet I could plan a wedding in three weeks easily.’ I said to Jess that if she would get married on TV I’d do it tomorrow. We never thought it would actually happen.
The BBC pays for it but you have literally no time to plan, it’s so last minute and options are limited especially in August. You have to stick within budget but with the money we were given and favours from friends I was able to organise all the things I wanted to for Jess and me.
I wanted it to be perfect for Jess.
I love riding my motorbike and both our parents are Harley Davidson riders and have known each other since before we were babies. It had to be at Donington. Where else? Jess loves old cars and my Godfather has an old vintage Humber that he let me have as Jess’s wedding car. We got two local Harley Davidson chapters to escort her. The sound on the track when they arrived was awesome.
The camera crew follow you everywhere but it didn’t bother me. I was pretty chilled out up until the stag do but the last week was hectic and stressful. On the actual day I was really apprehensive and nervous because there was still so much to do. We were decorating the marquee and doing our cravats at the last minute. One of the TV crew looked on the Internet so we could try to work out how to do our cravats!
It was overwhelming but a relief when it all came together. It was the best feeling ever when I saw the smile on Jess’s face when she arrived and then to find out that she loved it all. It just all went beyond my expectations. It was amazing. It all felt surreal until the programme was aired, it still doesn’t feel real even now. But the DVD we have from the BBC and our amazing photographs from Yvonne are awesome memories.
Jess The Bride
It wasn’t until the last week that I found things stressful. Family and friends didn’t know what was happening and I couldn’t tell them anything because I didn’t know anything! It was impossible for anyone to know how to plan. The night before the wedding was strained because the camera crew were there and I couldn’t spend it with my family alone and I’d always imagined the night before my wedding to be spent with family.
I felt a bit less stressed once I saw my dress, I loved it. Luke got it so right. It was incredible.
I didn’t feel nervous on the day because I was just so excited to see Luke. He’s the person who makes my life so much easier and it wouldn’t have mattered what he’d planned I just wanted to see him. On the morning I was driven to a pub so I thought ok so we’re getting married in a pub! But then all of these Harley Davidson’s arrived. I couldn’t believe they had all come out for us. It was overwhelming and humbling and amazing at the same time. My dad loved it too.
I loved seeing the effort Luke had put in to everything. It was so surprising to see how much someone knows and loves you when you put them in control like that.
I found the backlash on the Don’t Tell The Bride’s Facebook page a bit hard to take as some people were nasty about Luke but I had to tell myself the programme is heavily edited and three weeks becomes an hour and they don’t know Luke. All the people that matter to us love him and know that he’s kind and thoughtful.
I feel so proud of Luke, he made the best day ever for us.
Yvonne The Photographer
Being sworn to secrecy over the show was never an issue; I’m good at secrets but I thought it would feel odd not meeting the bride before the wedding, not having the chance for a pre-wedding portrait shoot, to deal directly with the groom exclusively but it didn’t. Luke was so full of Jess and his plans for the day in order to make it perfect for her that I felt like I’d been dealing with them both for forever and not just Luke for a matter of days.
It was great to be involved in the show and I feel privileged Luke picked me but I felt a little sad that one of the things that didn’t come over in the programme at all is just how kind and thoughtful Luke is. He has to be one of the loveliest, well-mannered, kindest, least selfish men I’ve ever met. The groom really does have only three weeks to plan everything and Luke put his heart in to making a wedding both he and Jess would love and remember but I felt the show conveyed him as jammy and self-centred! He’s neither. But then without crafty editing reality TV wouldn’t be so successful would it?
I’m pleased that I was there to help document forever all of the thought that went in to the day, and convey the genuine and selfless love Luke has for Jess. They both looked undeniably happy and in love. Soon enough I’d forgotten the Don’t Tell The Bride camera crew were there at all, it was simply a wonderful wedding.