Here Comes the Bride

Sunday, October 1, 2006

On Tuesday, the Style Network premieres its fifth season of "Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?" -- just one in a trove of television shows about the Big Day. Oxygen and TLC also offer takes. And WE has an entire programming block -- "Wild Wedding Night" -- devoted to documenting the joys, trials and loss of rationality that often come with this (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Why so many wedding shows? Because viewers like them, says Steve Cheskin, WE's senior vice president of programming. "Everybody is interested in them," he says. "If you're married or if you're not married, you still care about wedding shows, because you've either gone through it, you know people who are going through it or you're looking forward to going through it -- all of those combinations."

Wedding shows and their surplus of information -- sometimes helpful, sometimes bizarre -- can be downright alarming. To help brides- and grooms-to-be searching for a little guidance or some comic relief from the stress of planning the Event of a Lifetime, here's a rundown on nuptial programs -- some new shows, others living only via repeats -- on the tube.

-- Sarah Schmelling

Bride vs. Bride
WE, Times vary

Summary: Two bridal parties in full wedding attire battle through nuptial-themed games (Appetizer Obstacle Course, Toss the Bouquet) that often require diving into colored liquids to win cash and prizes. The ultimate goal is to find a ring inside a wedding cake the size of a compact car to win a honeymoon package. Interspersed throughout are mini-interviews with team members.

Typical quote: "He just always surprises me with romantic dinners. And he's romantic." -- Kristen, describing why fiance Ed is "the most romantic"

Bridal takeaways: Fake teriyaki sauce is easier to wash off silk organza than fake honey mustard dressing. . . . Ask your fiance to don a corset and pantyhose and risk never seeing him as "most romantic" again.

WE, Sundays, 10 p.m.

Summary: Cameras follow high-strung brides, like this one at right, as they wreak havoc on fiances, family members, clergy and random passersby in the days leading up to their weddings. Sobbing, plundering in SUVs and kicking furniture are par for the course. Three "Gayzilla" episodes will air this month.

Typical quote: "Will she become an over-spending, card-maxing, attention-grabbing, out-of-control BRIDEZILLA?" -- narrator Mindy Burbano Stearns

Bridal takeaways: If fake eyelashes go missing, perhaps it's not wise to castigate the family. . . . Just because your fiance wears a "Yes . . . You Look Fat" T-shirt doesn't mean he won't get his teeth whitened by a "celebrity" cosmetic dentist.

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