When it comes to TV wedding shows always seem to do well with Don’t Tell the Bride being a big success on BBC3 for over five years while the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding franchise bought Channel 4 some of its best ratings in years. Now ITV is getting in on the act with The Wedding Shop a one-off documentary focusing on Leeds-based bridal shop Confetti and Lace and the women who come through the doors of the store to pick outfits for their big day.
Our two central characters are shop manager Marg and her assistant Jane who both work for shop manager Abby and appear to have a fine working relationship. Both clearly love their job as they both enjoy getting to know the brides-to-be and think it’s an honour to be involved with a woman’s big day even if it is just helping them on with their dresses. This episode of The Wedding Shop features three brides the first of whom is Tammy a Londoner who moved to Leeds eight years ago to be with her soon-to-be husband Andy with the two later having a son Eddie. Tammy arrives at Confetti and Lace with her grandmother Betty as she wanted a female family member present during her wedding with Betty replacing the mother she hasn’t spoken to in five years. It appears as well as if Andy’s mother Lynn has become like a surrogate mother to Tammy and Marg comments on how she loves it when mothers-in-law are involved in the dress-buying process mainly because she herself only has a son. While Tammy doesn’t speak to her mother she has reunited with Chris the father who missed her growing up but has been quite close to her since she was a teenager. For me Chris was the best part of Tammy’s story as he was an aging punk rocker who refused to wear a full suit and tie instead coming in his grey jacket accompanied by a T-Shirt displaying the logo of his favourite heavy metal band. Chris’ ever-changing Mohican also seems to be a source of pride but means that he has to keep seeing Tammy’s mother as she is hairdresser. Though for the most part Chris keeps his emotions under check he does come across as endearing when he describes giving Tammy away as ‘the highlight of his life’ while he also gets quite emotional when seeing her in her dress for the first time describing it as ‘the bollocks’.
Next up was Jo who’d started life as a cocktail waitress until meeting and falling in love with self-made millionaire Darren who she later married. Nine years later Jo and Darren are renewing their vows and she hopes that her parents will attend the wedding this time having previously no-showed their daughter’s previous nuptials due to their religious beliefs. It later transpires that Jo was bought up as a Jehovah’s Witness but when she strayed from the religion her parents essentially disowned her and have had very little to do with her since then. However recently Jo has returned to the religion on a part-time basis attending various meetings in attempt to build bridges with her family and hopes that her reaching out to them will result in them attending her wedding. Darren though, who to me came across as just a little bit obnoxious, is happy about Jo taking their children to some of the meetings and is adamant that they won’t be raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses as he doesn’t seem to be a man who takes religion seriously at all. Meanwhile Jo’s trips to Confetti and Lace see her try on the ‘Rolls Royce of Wedding Dresses’ as well as discuss her plans to have the vow renewal ceremony at Harewood House with herself and Darren exchanging vows on the top of the house’s veranda. Jo is also conscious that her parents may not appreciate her having an audacious wedding so she promises to keep the bling to a minimum if they do decide to attend however if they no-show again then she reveals she’ll go all out to make the ceremony as lavish as possible. Ultimately though we never find out if Jo’s parents accepted her invitation to the event and to me this meant that her story was a little anticlimactic.
The final bride is Natasha who is marrying her teenage sweetheart Ches who she reunited with over Facebook after ten years of them being apart. It was revealed early on that Natasha and Ches were in a relationship in their late teens but went their separate ways with her being in another serious relationship and getting pregnant by her new man. However tragedy struck when her partner was killed in a car crash before their daughter Taylor-Leigh was born so thankfully she was able to rekindle things with Ches in order for her daughter to have a new father figure in her life Personally I thought Taylor-Leigh was absolutely adorable as she spoke candidly about whether or not she saw Ches as her new dad while later wrote down instructions about how her mother should wear her dress using own stock of sticky notes to do this. Later Jane and Marg got nervous when Natasha didn’t show up to collect her dress the day before the wedding and it was later revealed that Ches had decided at the last minute to postpone the ceremony so they could have a more traditional do. While I felt that this was the end for the pair I was proved wrong when Natasha and Ches actually had their big church ceremony with Marg getting the honour of helping Natasha put her dress on.
While The Wedding Shop was nothing more than a lightweight piece of television it was enjoyable nonetheless thanks mainly to Marg and Jane who were both delightful characters. Marg described herself as being incredibly nosy but at the same time seemed to be a calming influence and loved talking about how little her own wedding day cost when compared to the prices today’s brides have to pay. Jane meanwhile seemed like the more manic of the pair and talked about how she was married as she had ‘been there, done that and bought the dress’ but now appeared to enjoy living vicariously through the brides that came through the doors of Confetti and Lace. In fact I would’ve liked to have seen more of Marg and Jane mainly because I felt that the three separate wedding stories were too much for one 45 minute episode. Indeed the most intriguing story, that of long-time loves Natasha and Ches, was given the least amount of time while I was also annoyed that we never discovered whether or not Jo’s parents decided to attend her vow renewal ceremony.
Ultimately it appeared to me as if The Wedding Shop was almost a pilot episode to see if people would accept a full series of this programme and I think if the ratings are good then we could see more from Confetti and Lace on our TV screens in the near future. If it does return I would like to see the show focus on the staff members rather than the brides and maybe just feature one wedding per episode rather than three. If The Wedding Shop does return and these changes are made then I can see it being just as successful as the other wedding-related programmes as it has enough going for it to be another bride-centric hit.
What did you think of The Wedding Shop? Did you think it has the potential to get a full series? Leave Your Comments Below.