What is it Like to Be on Reality TV?
Um, so… I was on a reality TV show about wedding dress shopping. And our wedding was, too. It was really fun! Here are answers to frequent questions.
Q: WHAT? Which reality TV show?
A: The show is “I Found the Gown” on TLC, and we are in Season 1, Episode 6: “Bargain Hunting Brides.” (You can watch it there on TLC by logging into your cable provider, or on Amazon at this affiliate link for $2… or just read the summary here).
There are three brides featured in the episode and I’m the third, so if you want to get right to our drama, fast forward right past the halfway point. You’ll seem me soon walking into the store in a blue dress.
Q: How did you end up on “I Found the Gown”???
A: I randomly bought my wedding dress at the store featured on the show (Vows), little knowing that at my dress fitting, the seamstress would bark, “You wanna be on TV, honey?”
When I nodded with joyful surprise, she declared, “Ok, no fitting now. You come back next week. I will tell TLC they have another bride for the show.”
Q: When and how did TLC film you?
A: I was filmed on two separate days: the dress fitting at the store, and our actual wedding (yes, Colin wore a microphone during our ceremony), for a total of at least three hours of footage. All of that filming was condensed into ten minutes of a 30-minute episode! You have to respect TLC’s editing skills, eh?
Q: What was it like to be filmed for reality TV?
A: I loved it! It was dramatic, fun, and funny, and the production team was extremely nice. (I guess they have to be to get participants to be comfortable and open up on camera.) And… this is one of those things that I’ve always secretly wanted to do, especially since I’m a closet reality TV fan. Of course, not all reality TV experiences are so pleasant, but this turned out to be a pretty kind-hearted show.
During the filming session in the store the month before the wedding, I wore a little of my own makeup (even though I don’t really know how to apply it), but the producers kept dusting me with powder to make my face less shiny!
I chatted for a while on camera about wide-ranging subjects (traveling the world, my ill-fitting brassiere, whether I trusted my seamstress to finish on time, whether I trust ANYBODY ever, etc.). The interviewer did a brilliant job of asking questions that led me to dramatic statements. It was suspenseful wondering which of these “drama points” would be chosen for the final show!
Q: Was it weird to have your WEDDING filmed by a reality TV cameraman?
A: Weddings are such massive events, and I put so much obsessive effort into planning ours that it seemed almost fitting that there was a national TV cameraman there.
Moreover, even though I am considered a “frugal bride” by TLC standards, we did put substantial funds into our wedding, so it was a nice feeling to know that people all over America (and beyond!) would see the results, too! Our wedding guests were GREAT sports about the whole thing.
Q: Did you really say on national TV, “looking amazing is a priority over breathing”?!
A: Sigh… Apparently I did. Oy vey.
That said, I WAS still able to breathe during the wedding, and I declare to all the young, impressionable women watching me on the show, breathing actually IS more important than looking good. Really. Please breathe.
Q: Was it weird to see yourself on TV?
A: It was strangely NOT weird to see myself on that screen. Maybe I’ve watched enough reality TV to just calmly think, “Oh, that’s a person on TV,” rather than, “AHH HOW DID I GET THERE?”
Q: Where can I read more about your engagement and wedding drama?
A: Read our Romantic Engagement Story, or my article “Why I’m Not Changing My Name After Marriage,” or the scandalous post “Two Secrets to Save Money on a Wedding,” or the articles from our Honeymoon in Belize.
Do leave comments if you have time, because I love knowing you stopped by.
Q: Are you happy with how the episode turned out?
A: Yes, I surprisingly am happy with our episode!
Giant, shimmering thanks to everyone who helped make this adventure possible, and to all of you who’ve kindly watched our episode and sent such nice messages!
Oh, and, uh… if any producers are reading this… I kind of want to be on TV again. (Update: I got to be in this tourism video for Folly Beach, SC!)
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!