best wedding reality TV shows

A comprehensive rundown of the most chaotic wedding reality TV moments of all time

If my kids make me dress as a clown for my wedding I’m sending them back


Your wedding day is the happiest day of your life by all accounts. The day I’ve been watching on all the best wedding reality TV shows since I was a little girl. Are weddings an expensive industry built upon capitalist ideals and spending money to declare your love? Yes. But I love them and I love the chaotic and messy TV shows that revolve around the humble wedding.

Growing up in the 2010s meant that if you really wanted to, and I did, you could spend the whole day watching wedding themed shows on TV. There was always a rogue Freeview channel playing re-runs of Don’t Tell The Bride for the morning viewing session, Marrying Mum and Dad for your after school snack and an episode of Say Yes To The Dress for those evening shenanigans. This definitive ranking of the best wedding reality TV shows will have you shouting “I Do!” to re-watching all of these episodes. These are the most chaotic moments from wedding reality TV shows:

The Back to School wedding – Marrying Mum and Dad

This programme was a wild ride. I’m sorry but no amount of “all expenses paid for wedding and you get to be on telly” could delude me enough to let my snotty nose kids organise my entire wedding. You tell a child to make their own packed luncheon and they’re rocking up to the lunch hall with a Cheesestring, a Peperami and a crisp sandwich to their name. Delicious and nutritious but if we’re ordering lunch à la carte, this would not be my first choice. So imagine that same child planning a wedding. Question for the parents: Are you good? The answer is that they’re probably not and neither is their wedding. A highlight, or lowlight depending on your persuasion, is the Back to School wedding eleganza extravaganza.

The devil spawn protagonists in this episode decide to take revenge on their teacher by trading parents and bringing them back to school for their nuptials, with the kiddies dressed as the teachers and the ‘rents dressed as, you guessed it: School kids. The wedding outfits were Victorian style school uniform and my heart truly sank seeing the mum being walked up the aisle by her older father, donned in a Poundland looking, dry as a bone yellow pigtail wig. It’s giving early days RuPaul quick drag. If there were tears at the altar, they were surely not of the happy variety.

The devil spawn protagonists in this episode decide to take revenge on their teacher by trading parents and bringing them back to school for their nuptials, with the kiddies dressed as the teachers and the ‘rents dressed as, you guessed it: School kids. The wedding outfits were Victorian style school uniform and my heart truly sank seeing the mum being walked up the aisle by her older father, donned in a Poundland looking, dry as a bone yellow pigtail wig. It’s giving early days RuPaul quick drag. If there were tears at the altar, they were surely not of the happy variety.

There are so many chaotic moments from Don’t Tell The Bride that it’s hard to choose just one, it’s like choosing your favourite child. Having said that, my favourite child has to be Steve and Kayleigh’s Thorpe Park wedding. Poor thing. Firstly, it’s raining, which doesn’t help matters, especially when you’re in a theme park in darkest Staines-upon-Thames through no fault of your own, surrounded by buzzed up kids on their school inset day.

Secondly, the poor sod is blindfolded in the taxi on the way there, just to add some theatrics. Thirdly, she realises very soon where she is and her mood changes in a heartbeat. Poor Kayleigh has to get on the bloody Swarm ride. Her heel ends up breaking just as she breaks down and says she wants to go home.

You know what though, Steve seems to have pulled it off with the reception, complete with thrones and a plastic pony all set in the Thorpe Park conference hall. I also always enjoy seeing the chaos represented via the medium of the bride’s hair. She began the day with a tight up-do bun and ended up with a voluminous head of loose hair. It is indeed a metaphor, Hazel Grace.

The best thing about this episode is Kayleigh’s iconic quote: “Why are we at Thorpe Park on my wedding day?” It’s been part of my vocabulary since 2011 and has multi-purpose use for many an occasion. It wouldn’t be a round up of the best wedding reality TV shows without it.

Ines and Bronson’s wedding – Married At First Sight Australia

Ines is the chaos in this, Bronson is the receiver of chaos and Ines is the giver. To this day I still cannot believe that Ines is a real person. From her MAFSA stint, I felt like I was watching a one-woman stage show of Ines’ life. She is, in the most chaotic way possible, a caricature of herself. There was drama to the high heavens following these two, from affair scandals to a screaming match on a boat. But from the get go, Ines was a complete firecracker. If Ines was a Love Island bombshell, Tom from Love Island 2023 would be saying: “You’re trouble, you”. She is trouble. Before walking down the aisle and being asked how she felt, she deadpan replied: “Um, I feel like horny”. Ok, so she’s a realist.

Things take a turn though when she struts down the aisle, shakes her groom, Bronson’s, hand and says: “Hi Bronson, can we get rid of your eyebrow ring please?” The cheek, the gall, the venom. It might be the Aussie accent but she gives me major Ja’mie Private School Girl vibes. The way she whips out her cue cards to read her vows is major business meeting vibes, before demanding: “When do I get my ring?”. I’ve never seen a more deadpan girlie in my 21 years on God’s green Earth. She then proceeds to bang on and on about his stripper past and it all just feels awkward.

The light up dress – My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

Not only do the bridesmaids look like they should be laid on a tray and cooked at 180 degrees in their tin foil looking mini dresses, but the bride truly is this ice queen themed wedding’s main course. Bride Annie has only gone and got herself a custom made, light-up wedding dress and light-up snowflake crown. Fitted with over 45 metres of electrical wiring, the dressmaker brought a gem embezzled fire extinguisher with her. Her dress was literally a health and safety hazard and gave a whole new meaning to “sparks” on your wedding day. Obsessed. Fire safety has never looked so sexy. Fibre optic realness and one of the best wedding reality TV shows of all time.

The vintage vs Christmas wedding – Battle of the Brides

Stop, because the premise for this programme is a true gift, like Four Weddings but with a twist. Two brides, two themes, but the twist? They have to have every element of their wedding day the exact same. The camp theatrics of when both brides have to make “vows” to one another, confirming their commitment to the show’s premise, and to vow to go along with the winning theme for both weddings, whichever comes on top.

Laura, the vintage lover, and Beccy, the Christmas lover, ended up sharing a wedding merging both themes. There are bridesmaids in Santa-core dresses, but vintage style wedding dresses and entertainment, all completed with a Christmas dinner meal. It’s messy and slightly chaotic and you can tell Bride Beccy is fuming half the time, even at the harmonious end of the day when she calls it her “bloody dress” begrudgingly.

The groom’s ex-girlfriend sabotages the bride – Say Yes To The Dress USA

There’s always the catty mother-in-law and the beefy entourage but this episode sustained my wedding reality TV appetite for days. We’re talking one of every food group. The bride with a one grand budget who wants to buy a $5,000 dress, the Commedia dell’arte expressions from the shop assistants but best of all, the bride’s bestie is her groom’s ex-girlfriend. Every stunning dress that Bride Yasmine puts on, miss ex-girlfriend forgets putting in her two cents, but donates her whole Monzo account of opinions instead. It’s messy and awkward, it’s chaotic, it’s an academic piece on the politics of bringing the ex to the wedding dress shop.

Drunk brides – Bridezillas

The YouTube description literally says that Jen belongs in a straight jacket. It’s the pre-wedding jitter drinks gone a vodka-lime-soda too far. Drunk Jen is already steaming, but what I commend the most is that her breakdown is due to the lack of bartender. She demands her money back if he’s not there in the hour, but quickly remembers the sweet nectar of the devil’s drink and changes that clause to the next half an hour.

Her bouquet is more garden weed, she runs out into the car park barefoot and has a toddler-esque tantrum, but with more swearing than you can shake a stick at. Highlights are the people who shout “she’s wasted” outside their window. Oh, and the whole thing is sound tracked to Akon’s Smack That, which is nothing short of iconic.

Giannina, the runaway bride – Love Is Blind

Miss Giannina Milady (obsessed) Gibelli was born for the screen. Having provided chaos all throughout her and Damian’s rocky engagement, her wedding was never going to disappoint, and disappoint it didn’t. Giannina Milady was the runaway bride to end all runaway brides.

From the face crack of the century when Damian said he couldn’t marry her, her mum’s comedic dropping of the bouquet, to the running and running and running. Where was she running to? God knows. I don’t think she had a route in mind either but she knew it would make for delicious telly. Then her mum starts running after her, it’s all one big theatrical relay race. The highlight? When she stacks it in the mud. You know how much it hurt by how quickly she got up and acted like she was fine. It’s the classic “I’m fine!” manoeuvre with a too keen of a smile. Humbling and character building. This episode earned a place as one of the best wedding reality TV shows of all time.

Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth and to be like these brides when I grow up.

Featured image via Netflix, TLC and Channel 4

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