We’ve got Kirsty of A Safe Mooring with us today, with her thoughts on a ridiculous American reality TV show…is there another kind? I really admire Kirsty’s writing, she has skill and wisdom and a wicked sense of humour and after reading anything written by her, I find myself thinking that she’d make an awesome ‘real-life’ friend. Anything can happen, yes?

The husband and I recently spent a weekend staying with my parents. Unlike us, they have an all-singing all-dancing satellite TV package, so at the first opportunity I grabbed the remote and began excitedly flicking through the channels. Unfortunately, I had forgotten the First Universal Law of Television: the more channels you have, the fewer the programmes that are actually worth watching. I had worked my way through the usual channels without success and desperation was setting in as I scrolled further and further downwards, edging dangerously close to the realm of Russian news channels and obscure sporting events, when a programme title caught my eye.

I should have known better. I knew I would regret it, I could tell from the title, but I couldn’t stop myself. I clicked ‘View’. And suddenly I found myself watching the most horrifying, rage-inducing programme I have ever seen. No, it wasn’t Louis Theroux with those vile people, or even Jordan’s latest nonsense. It was Bridalplasty.

For those of you who haven’t experienced this horrendousness, allow me to explain. Hosted by what I can only assume is a robot, Bridalplasty sees twelve brides compete against each other for the chance to win “The Perfect Wedding”. Each week, the women participate in increasingly ridiculous and demeaning challenges with the aim of winning another dream plastic surgery procedure from their “wish list” while so-called “experts” prey on their insecurities. When the “losing” bride is eliminated each week, Robo-Host sends them on their way with the immortal line, “Your wedding will still go on. It just won’t be perfect.”


If I learned anything from my wedding planning experience, it was this:

1. Your wedding will not be perfect.

2. Your wedding is not a competition.

As a highly competitive perfectionist, I struggled with both of these realisations and, honestly, sometimes I still do. I can’t pretend I didn’t love it when guests told me ours was the best wedding they’d ever been to (aw, shucks, I bet they say that to all the brides), or spend hours admiring our amazing wedding photos, or get a thrill out of seeing our wedding featured on Rock My Wedding.
But it certainly wasn’t “perfect”. I had to abandon several projects in the run-up to the wedding (chronological photo collages of our entire relationship? Personal handwritten welcome notes for all 140 guests? Yeah right). I didn’t get a facial, or a manicure, or a massage, or a spray tan. I was late to the church. I ripped my dress. There was a one-day-only, never-happened-before-or-since plague of greenflies on the beach, so that I ended up with little flies embedded all over my lace dress and in my veil (nice). I got stressed and started yelling at people to come and be in the formal photos. Our speeches overran by an hour and most people missed us cutting the cake. Instead of a romantic late-night stroll along the beach to our B&B; after the wedding, we had a not-so-romantic trek along the pavement with Fin’s stepbrother obliviously in tow. Et cetera.

Nor was it “better” than any other wedding. It was ours, and that made it special to us, but there is no Standard Scale of Wedding Perfection. There are no marks out of ten. Wedding planning is not (yet) an Olympic sport. It’s so easy to look at weddings on blogs or in magazines and see how intimidatinglybeautiful everything is, and become overwhelmed by the fear your wedding will simply not measure up. I will freely admit that I felt that way more than once during the planning. It was really only after the wedding was over that the cloud lifted, and I saw clearly for the first time that it is not the stationery, or the decorations, or the flowers, or the dresses, that make a wedding; it’s the people, the love, the FUN, and all the other warm gooey stuff that you can’t feel from a computer screen or the page of a magazine.

Best group shot EVER? I think so. Gorgeousness captured by the wonderful LillianandLeonard.

I want to grab hold of those Bridalplasty brides and tell them they do not need to be “perfect” to be beautiful. I want to show them that having a happy marriage has nothing to do with having a perfect wedding (just look at poor wee Cheryl Cole). I want to beg them to support and encourage their fellow brides, instead of stomping all over those brides’ dreams with the heavy jackboots of their own insecurities. I want to shout that the only thing that matters, the only thing worth fighting for, is that at the end of the day you will be married to the one that you love and who loves you.

(Although, as the inimitable Bowie Bride proved, even accidentally missing out the legally-married-bit isn’t *that* big a problem.)

So, for those you still navigating the stormy waters of wedding planning, here, for what they’re worth, are my thoughts from the other side.

1. Forget about perfection. Our imperfections make us beautiful, and the same applies to our weddings, because ultimately they are nothing more nor less then a reflection of ourselves. Embrace the parts that matter to you and try to let the rest fall away (but don’t beat yourself up for caring about the aesthetics and the details, if that’s your thing – sometimes pretty things just make ushappy).

2. Try not to fixate on what people will think of your wedding, or compare yourself with other brides, or second-guess your choices. It’s not a competition, but even if it were, guess what? You already win! By the end of the day, you will (hopefully) be married and get to spend the rest of your lives together. Eyes on the prize.

3. Pay close attention to this one. This is vital. If you find yourself idly clicking through the channels on a rainy afternoon and you happen to come across (*gag*) Bridalplasty, whatever you do, do not, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, press View. Just keep on clickin’.

Double chin? Check. Icky heart-shaped confetti after I’d spent a small fortune on dried rose petals? Check. Pervy husband? Yup. But like Kirsty said, it’s not about perfection, people.
Categories: Body Image, Life Experience, Wedding Planning
11 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted April 12, 2011 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    a) Kirsty is super awesome in real life! I recommend making real life friends with her ASAP.
    b) Kirsty, as soon as you decide to abandon your awesome career to become Scotland's awesomest sane wedding planning guru, please sign me up for sponsorship, thank you.
    c) Oh America…

  2. Katie
    Posted April 12, 2011 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Your wedding looks pretty darn perfect to me. I love the way you have done your hair, with flower and veil. If I hadnt already bought my hair piece and veil, I would be copying you. I also love your table plan, and all of the little details.

    I couldnt agree more with everything you have just said, about forgetting about perfection. I found a programme called Four Weddings once, when channel hopping on parents sky box. I'm ashamed to admit I quite enjoyed it, although I found the idea of turning the wedding into a competition, with the brides making snide remarks about each other, repulsive.

    I'm such a hypocrite, I'd probably watch all of Bridalplasty, and then moan to my boyfriend and mum about how morally wrong the programme is.

  3. Posted April 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Great points, Kirsty – not that I'm surprised, coming from you. I'd heard about this programme but, not having Sky either, haven't seen any of it. But it sounds horrible – especially that line about not having a perfect wedding.
    There's enough pressure on women at the best of times without yet another TV programme telling us that if we don't look "perfect" then happiness and success will forever be elusive.

  4. Posted April 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Ahahahaha. Kirsty, your commentary on that last photo is priceless. Love it!

    And of course, yes, yes, yes to everything else!

  5. Posted April 12, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I agree! Everything you said Kirsty is so right. It is a shame that I only realised it during my wedding day. Being a competitive perfectionist myself, the thought of my wedding not being the best most perfect wedding ever in the history of the world took me a while to get my head round.

    Ad those programmes are awful but I am like Katie, I somehow always end up watching them.

  6. Esme
    Posted April 12, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I remember saying to my fiance when we first started this planning lark that whatever happened, our wedding would be perfect because it would be OUR wedding, but that also I wanted to do this, that, the other and a million other things… He looked at me with a look that said 'I'm not sure I believe that my dear'.

    So, 4 months to go, how do I feel? I feel like we've planned a wedding that is going to be very 'us' and really fun, but I have no idea how I'm going to react if something goes wrong on the day. I think I'll just try and remember Kirsty's wise words: 'You already win!'

    Great post, of course xx

  7. Posted April 12, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Thank you all so much for your lovely comments :) Funnily enough, for some reason today I decided to go back and look at Clare's first ever post, and it was about almost exactly this subject (minus the Bridalplasty bit). Just shows we are not alone in fighting against this idea of "wedding perfection" – if only the wedding industry would catch on…

    Zan – it is totally hilarious, but that was all Aisling!

  8. Posted April 12, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Oh also, just in case you think I am a total loser, it was Aisling who wrote the caption for the first photo too (although I do kind of agree with her)!

  9. Posted May 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Ive got the end of this show before and it is the most ridiculous thing ever; how on earth the tv networks thought it would be good I have no idea! The line at the end "It just won't be perfect" gives me shivers!

    The joys of having too many channels but nothing to watch on sky sometimes!

  10. Posted August 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    These photos are indeed priceless!

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  • By Any Other Photo {Kirsty and Fin} on February 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    [...] Other Photo {Kirsty and Fin} It’s no secret how much we LOVE Kirsty from A Safe Mooring. A lot. And even more, after reading her Any Other Photo submission. When [...]

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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