How Don’t Tell The Bride Works Behind The Scenes…
Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Don’t Tell the Bride makes for some seriously exciting viewing – especially for brides-to-be!
Wedding Ideas caught up with real bride Jenni, who starred in the 2015 series on BBC One, to get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to have your hubby plan the most important day of your life…
How did you meet?
Andrew and I met on the dance floor of a local nightclub. I was out with my friends and just wanted a good girls’ night out! He was there with his friends and they started dancing around us. At first I wouldn’t talk to him, and did the whole flicking my hair, turning the other way kind of thing, but he was persistent – bless him. Everywhere I turned I was faced with this lovely big smile. In the end, I refused to give him my number but agreed to take his.
Once we got talking we realised he had gone to school with some of my friends and suddenly he wasn’t a stranger. We sat and talked, but what really made me think twice was as we said goodbye, he turned around in front of all his mates, waved and shouted that it had been lovely to meet me!
So, tell us how Andrew proposed?!
The proposal was so unromantic, ha! I’m a qualified teacher, and I had been at work where my students had been questioning why I was still a ‘Miss’ and not a ‘Mrs’, and how it didn’t matter if you couldn’t afford a wedding, all that matters were the vows and being there for each other. At the time, we only had our little boy Theo, and they kept saying how he would love his parents to be married.
I went home that evening, and over dinner I mentioned how much the students had been going on at me, and Andrew just said, “Well, I suppose they are right – let’s go for it!”, and that was that!
Whose idea was it to apply to the show?
It was actually my idea to apply to Don’t Tell The Bride. I spoke to Andrew, who didn’t think we would get picked in a million years, but at the end of the day we said ‘what have we got to lose?’.
What did it feel like to be picked for the show?
Within a week, we got a phone call from the production company and it was all systems go! They told us from that point we were not allowed to discuss weddings with each other at all. We were suddenly asked to describe our dream wedding; we were thinking on our toes and throwing anything out there, but little did we know that we would be held to that very first idea.
I was so excited but it all happens so fast that you don’t really have time to think! The time between the first interview and starting filming was around three weeks. After the first week I had to move into mum’s house. We had to close down Facebook, hand over phones and any address books, phone numbers etc. We were given basic phones that had no wifi on them and we didn’t know each other’s temporary numbers!
How did you fit it around your day-to-day life?
Our little boy had to stay with Andrew during the week because we live close to his school. So Andrew juggle filming around school runs, bed times, and so on! Any handover between Andrew and my mum had to be done in front of the camera – just in case they were tempted to talk about the wedding. Even phone calls between mum and Andrew, or the bridesmaids had to be filmed from both sides! That is how strict it is!
What did you get up to while your groom-to-be was busy planning away?
I got three weeks of girls’ time, and had some really lovely days with my bridesmaids, mum and nan. I actually had two hen dos – the second was a vintage-style tea party at Woburn Coffee house, but wasn’t shown on the episode. My bridesmaids made me bunting, vintage lace covered jam jar tea lights, poems and pictures, and we had a Mr & Mrs quiz !
How do you think the groom found it all?
I know that Andrew found the whole process very stressful. He is a chef who has worked in lots of local wedding venues, but this experience and friendship with local people in the industry meant he was barred from using most of the local places. It made it really hard to find anywhere!
Andrew found that decision-making process was a million times harder with the pressure of a camera in your face. He was constantly being stopped and asked ‘how do you feel’, ‘what are you thinking’ and ‘what’s your next move’!
What would we be surprised to learn about being on DTTB?
Sometimes the producers deliberately make things difficult for the grooms! For example, Andrew was furious that I was handed the bill at my hen do! He was told that the hens pay for themselves and wasn’t allowed to put money toward it. Andrew was so upset when he found out it had been made to look like he had planned for me to be landed with that bill!
Also, the grooms have to wait for clearance before they can buy anything at all, because at no point do they actually have contact with the money. When I got home after the wedding, I found so many notes with all his great ideas on. Festival wristbands as invitations, fireworks, welly boots for all the guests, but he said you just can’t fit it all in because of the constant wait for clearance.
The best part of the day for you?
My favourite part of the day was the moment I stepped inside the big top tent. I had an aisle made out of sand with candle lanterns to light the way leading to a flower-covered archway. Andrew had arranged for me to walk in with our song, Better Together by Jack Johnson. It was such an overwhelmingly happy moment. I was in such awe that I didn’t know where to look! Everything was so personal and romantic.
What was your least favourite part of the day?
I would say that my least favourite part of the day was pulling up to the registry office. It had already been such a stressful morning for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there was no bridesmaid dress for our little girl, so my Auntie had to make a detour to Next on the way to me!
We also discovered that the photographer was non-existent which was such a shame. I really wanted the build up to the day captured – the fun of getting ready with mum, Violet-Rose and the girls. We were all too hectic getting ready to take any pictures on our phones!
About five minutes before I left the house I was told I hadn’t been bought any shoes – every girl knows the shoes are the most important part! Luckily, the wedding shop lent me a pair just in case, but it wasn’t really the same as they weren’t my style.
On the morning, I’d already had to smile through a lot of hiccups, but it did end as the perfect day!
So, do you think Andrew did a good job?
Andrew really took my mobility into consideration, making sure the plans he made revolved around what I could and couldn’t do.
I really loved Andrew’s dress choice for me! He made me feel like a million dollars which was so needed to bring back my confidence. Watching our episode back, he knew he had to make sure that I was comfy and could sit in my chair whilst wearing my dress. He picked the perfect mixture, and the delicate details on the dress were truly beautiful.