Booze budgets and fake ceremonies: The filming secrets of Don’t Tell The Bride

The grooms don’t always pick the theme


Don’t Tell The Bride has been on British TV for 13 years and in that time we’ve had a LOT of disastrous weddings. And now it’s been added to Netflix we can relive the horror of what happens when you give a man £12k and control over the entire wedding. Spoiler alert – it usually involves a bizarre theme, a terrible dress and a bride crying a minimum of four times per episode.

Throughout the 13-year-stint the show has been on BBC3, Sky and E4 and most likely the wedding never goes the way the bride plans. But often it also doesn’t go how the groom wants it to go either. A few of the couples have spilled secrets on what actually goes on behind the scenes of making Don’t Tell The Bride, and it definitely appears to be way more staged than we think.

From deactivating Facebook accounts to a budget for booze, the producers get heavily involved in the couples’ lives to create the iconic show. This is actually how the show is made and all the details you don’t get to see on TV:

The groom doesn’t necessarily choose the theme

Who could forget Adam and Rachel’s Neighbours inspired wedding? Mullet and all. Well turns out that wasn’t actually Adam’s idea of a dream wedding.

Adam told the Daily Express he had lots of other themed ideas that the producers said no to because they had already been done before and the Kylie and Jason wedding was his last idea.

He said: “I was more keen on the idea of Australia, I was born there and my dad was from there – he’s not with us anymore.

“I suggested about ten other things that had already been done: Bollywood, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory… I was like, ‘What can I do?’

“Throwing them ideas, it was kind of like every time I sent them ten ideas, they said, ‘What else?’ On my last attempt, I said, ‘We could dress as Kylie and Jason?’”

The ceremonies aren’t actually legal

During the weddings the couples promise to be with each other until “death do us part” however they ceremonies aren’t actually legally binding.

One of the couples who appeared on the show revealed as part of their contract they were told they had to go to a registry office or have another wedding after the show to make the marriage legal.

They said: “It was written into our contract that our ceremony would not be legally binding and so we should go to a register office later.

“That is what we did. But we had no follow up from anyone from the show after the filming, so we could easily have avoided it and had the party for free.

“It makes a bit of a mockery of the process that the bride and groom go through this huge ordeal for a ceremony which isn’t even legal.”

However a spokeswoman for E4 clarified that the couples have to sign a notice “for their legal ceremony in the presence of a production team member but before filming starts.”

Their phones are actually taken away and they deactivate their Facebooks

Ok so they really do have zero communication throughout the three weeks. One bride who appeared on the show said they were given Nokia brick phones and £10 credit.

They also have to deactivate their Facebook accounts and the producers will be checking. Rosa said: “They took away our phones as soon as we got split up, and were given a tiny Nokia pay as you go phone with about £10 credit.

“We had to deactivate our Facebook accounts, and they do check. When you temporarily deactivate Facebook, it reactivates after seven days, and I got a call from the producer telling me to deactivate it again.”

The producers sometimes make the groom look bad on purpose

Ok so usually the grooms manage to mess up completely by themselves but sometimes the producers do things to make them look even worse.

One bride Jenni said the producers got the bill handed to her on her hen-do which the groom had no idea about and was furious with.

She said: “For example, [my husband] was furious that I was handed the bill at my hen do, because he was told that the hens pay for themselves and wasn’t allowed to put money toward it – he 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.”

So maybe it’s not actually all their fault the men plan awful weddings?

If they break any rules they have to pay back all the money and EXTRA

The rules for filming are super strict according to bride Rosa, if they break any rules including communicating with each other or planning things in advance the couple has to pay the whole £12,000 back.

And if that’s not enough they then have to pay £3,000 per day as well for production costs.

The grooms don’t actually have the money and have to wait for approval for all purchases

This also explains why the grooms make some very questionable choices. The men never actually have any access to money and have to wait for producers to approve all purchase choices. Therefore it takes ages to get anything passed and they can’t focus on nice little details.

Jenni said she had found plans by her husband to include fireworks, invitations and festival wristbands for the wedding day but there was no time to include it all because of waiting for clearance from producers.

There’s a budget for alcohol that they can’t exceed

Now this is a reason to not do the show. Apparently as part of the rules they cannot spend more than £1,000 on alcohol. That’s for the hen and stag dos as well!

They can sometimes have hardly any notice after they apply for the show

The turn around time for the wedding is usually pretty quick, after the couples apply and are interviewed they could be filming three weeks later.

Jenni said: “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.”

So they technically could plan a wedding in that time and pretend not to, but seeing that they have to pay the money back it’s probably just worth letting your fiancé plan a inflatable course wedding.

Filming is sometimes 16 hours a day

The camera crew are literally there all the time, even when the groom is doing normal things like dropping his kid off to school or speaking to his mother in law, the crew are there to ensure no secrets are spilled.

The filming usually takes place every day for three weeks and will often be from 8am to 12pm.

Don’t Tell The Bride is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

Related stories recommended by this writer:

These 35 Don’t Tell The Bride memes won’t disappoint you like the groom does

These are the worst weddings in the history of Don’t Tell The Bride

These are the 19 most iconic and hilarious moments of The Chase