It’s a NEW SEASON of Don’t Tell the Bride, y’all. There’s a new opening segment, featuring crazier/dumber grooms. It seems as though the Beebs Trois (that’s BBC3) has gone out of their way to find the strangest birds and blokes to up the ante and get weird. No more “just a wedding” from the grooms, now it’s all explosions and costumes and themes. This was the first episode of the season, from a few weeks back, and I’ll probably just keep up from here as best I can. [Here’s how it works.]
And so we meet, as I mentioned in a prior post, Verity, 25 and probably a YA fiction fan, and Scott, 31, a rockstar-turned-zookeeper, as Scott is packing up to move out for his three weeks of wedding planning. He jokingly packs the cat. He jokingly packs the dog. He sure does have boring pets for a zookeeper, not to mention a fairly lame sense of humor.
Verity seems nervous because, as the voiceover explains, she is concerned that without her around, Scott will return to his “old rock and roll ways.” Scott, for 15 years, has been the lead singer and front man for his band, Envy of the State. We are treated to a Panic! At the Disco-cum-Nickelback-like track and clips from a music video in which Scott wears eyeliner, shows off his tongue piercing, and weighs 20lbs less than he does as he waxes on about how being in the band has been the best years of his life. Well, Scott, I’d be concerned if ages 16-31 had not been the best years of your life, because 0-15 would have been just weird. Scott says he’s definitely “abused” the perks that come with being a rock and roll star who’s played for “thousands.” He later says, “I love the groupieeeees! They’re my favorite!” Gross and whatever. Anyway, of course, he is moving out to stay “with the band” to plan the wedding.
Scott and Verity met in a bathroom. At a bar. He had just played a gig there, and Verity had seen it and was impressed by this “big star” who had “toured America.” Scott has no recollection of this meeting, but he remembers the NEXT time they met, and then he told her he loved her on the first date. He wrote her a song shortly thereafter, and played it while sitting on her bed without his shirt on. Why is this detail important? I do not know. Anyway, that’s when SHE fell in love. They’ve been together two years.
Then, because British voiceovers are the best, we get: “But Scott’s not just a rocker! He’s also a crocker! -DILE enthusiast.” Yes, Scott has set up and runs the first exotic zoo in their town. And Verity also works there, AFTER SHE WORKS HER 12-HOUR SHIFT AT HER REAL JOB AS A PARAMEDIC, which she describes as “good fun and hard work.” Verity does all of the zoo’s admin work and “the bits that Scott doesn’t like, like cleaning the bat poo.” This Verity-Does-Everything theme carries to their home, where she says, “It’s basically like, the Scott Show. Scott is the star of the Scott Show, and I’m like the producer of the Scott Show, doing everything behind the scenes.” We hear this as we watch her cook him dinner in an apron and bring it to him on a tray. Oh god, Verity, what would Kittyhawk say?
We learn a bit about Verity’s broken home, her eagerness to have a solid family. We learn that they’ve bought a house together. We see them inexplicably toasting with red champagne glasses in a bubble bath as Scott talks about how wonderful she is and ends with, “and I bagged her!”
Anyway, Verity doesn’t want too crazy a wedding. Doesn’t want a jungle theme. We see flashes of the zoo, we see flashes of music-video Scott. They haunt us. She wants it to be The Verity and Scott Show for just one day. JUST ONE DAY WHEN SHE’S ON THE SHOW.
Scott drives away, narrating himself all the way from sad sad sad to leave Verity at home to excited excited excited to move in with his band mates (and brother/best man David [“When you put us together, we are definitely a bad influence on each other”]). The boys go out and get wasted. Verity cries on the dog.
The next morning, hungover, Scott shows David the website of a rainforesty venue, some place that’s basically a huge greenhouse. To mitigate what they assume will be an outrageous cost, he says, he will be buying Verity’s wedding dress on eBay. “I’m not spending a thousand pound [sic] on a dress.” EBay, he says, is the “way of the future,” and they just won’t tell Verity that it came from the internet. Peasy.
Verity goes to some old fort on a beach with her stepmum and best friend. She loves it. It’s pretty! There are parapets, crashing waves, lovely candles, rustic charm. Her stepmum says some very sweet things about Verity, that even though she isn’t her biological daughter, she’s her daughter, and her oldest, and she wants the wedding to be perfect for her. Verity says, “the worst venue would be anything that reminds us of our zoo.”
Scott’s dream venue turns out to be “The Eden Project” in Cornwall, the world’s largest indoor jungle, which ABSOLUTELY PAID FOR THIS PLACEMENT (on the show, not on this blog which 12 people read). Scott and David talk the events booker down on the price by 1/3 (BECAUSE PUBLICITY), and the deed is done. Jungle wedding it is!
Dresses! Verity describes her perfect dress as timeless, floaty and elegant. “An understated princess.” Her nightmare gown would be full lace, heavy, itchy, beaded, sequined. She, sadly, assumes that he will put aside at least £1,000 for the dress and find something that shows off her curves. Her stepmum says, seeing Verity in a dress of her choosing that they all love: “if Scott doesn’t get it right, I shall find it very hard not to punch him,” making the stepmum my new favorite person.
Scott spends £100 on a dress from eBay. That’s not a typo. “Come on, China, don’t have a postal strike!” he says, as the confirmation email comes. He keeps repeating that Verity never need know it was so cheap! He does not seem to have any idea that there is a camera in the room or that said camera is on. Even “bad influence” David thinks this is a terrible idea, but since he’s a shitty brother, he says nothing.
"What," asks the voiceover, "do you spend all the spare cash on" when you’ve bought a horrible cut-rate dress? Life-size fake jungle animals. At the life-size fake jungle animals showroom, Scott gets so excited that even HE recognizes that coming here was dangerous to his budget. He spends £1,500 on life size fake jungle animals. A gorilla, a zebra that is a bench, some tigers, etc. He saves a little money by cutting the tortoise and a few others.
Hen do! Scott has sent cheap champagne, a leather fringe jacket for Verity, and a car to take her and just a few girlfriends to a karaoke venue to shoot the kind of karaoke music video my friends and I shot in eighth grade at Six Flags. It is indeed a venue for children—they move to the party area, which is all hot pink, with hot pink hats, more cheap champers, and trays of candy and chips. If you take away the champagne, this is the best 12th birthday party ever.
Scott’s stag do, by contrast, is “all about glamour.” Or Scott’s definition of glamour, which involves wearing a shirt with a really tall collar, with the collar buttons done but the shirt unbuttoned, under a blazer and maybe with a vest over it? I cannot even explain this or find a photo replicating the look on Google. It’s like a 2003 music video look. It’s a little like Mystery, but with a chin-strap instead of a flavor savor. I can’t believe how many sentences I’ve written about this.
The men have come to, as Scott says, “London-town,” which you know means he’s a total bumpkin, and he vows that he’s gonna “have an awesome night tonight and it’s gonna be SOOOO MESSYYYYY.” Scott’s drinking Moet (see above re: his wife’s drugstore champagne) at a strip club in Soho, spending shitloads of money on lap dances, which we see, because this is not American television. Lots of gyrating ass.
The next morning, Verity is bummed that her hen do was so small and quiet. She wanted to see more friends and get her rightful party on. But lo, there is a text to her sister from Scott announcing HEN DO PART T(W)O: an afternoon of POLE DANCING LESSONS with more of her friends. She’s confused, so are the girls. But there are matching tshirts, and they have fun. THEN there’s a limo ride to a swanky restaurant, cocktails in a VIP lounge, and dancing till dawn. Scott has spent a fuckton of money AND redeemed himself a bit.
Between the hen do and the life-size fake animals, the budget is getting tight, so Scott forces a £15 dress with £5 shoes on the bridesmaids. “I think it looks bridemaid-y.” The girls kind of hate it, and they foolishly assume that their dresses are so cheap because Verity’s dress must be AMAZING.
As Scott unwraps Verity’s dress from the box, David points out that they’ve blown the safety £1,500 on life-size fake animals, so this had better work. A dress comes out of the box, it’s a dress. It’s heavily beaded, full-lace, exactly what she doesn’t want. “I’m 100% happier than a pig in shit,” says Scott, because he’s classy.
Are there invitations to this wedding? I don’t know. I do know that Scott sends a note to Verity telling her to listen to the radio at such and such time, because he is going on air and announce her name and the date and time of the wedding. Uh, okay. Verity is excited to hear his voice and this news, though once it’s over, she says, “That invite was very Scott, very dramatic. Kind of about me but still basically about Scott, because Scott was on the radio.” Yeah, girl. It was the Scott Show.
Everything else gets thrown in—decorations, wedding rings, £100 on wedding lingerie, £525 on suits for himself and the groomsmen because everything about him is more valuable than ANYTHING about her.
And here comes the dress. He has put it in a giant pink box. David brings it over to the stepmum’s house. The bridesmaids, stepmum, and Verity are waiting to find out what bridal shop they’re going to, but then David arrives with a box, and Verity is not happy to see him. “WHY AM I NOT GOING TO A BOUTIQUE?” she yells after him. “Shittest thing ever.” She really wanted to feel like a princess, go to a nice dress shop and see her dress hanging up and get excited about it. It was a thing to do with her bridesmaids and stepmum, and she didn’t get to do it. “Everything that was supposed to be special has been taken away from me,” she says through her tears. “This is the most fucked up thing ever.” She hasn’t even opened the box.
And then she does, and her face falls as she says, “It’s lace.” Immediately, she sees where stitching has come away from the netting, where threads are hanging off, where beads are missing, where there are odd marks on the gown. “My dress is going to be falling apart as I wear it. I can almost guarantee because it’s come here, it’s come off eBay. Why does he think I don’t want to feel special on my wedding day?” Crying, “He hasn’t put any thought into it.”
The dress is too tight in the hips/thighs and too big in the bust/stomach. The hook and eye at the top of the zipper in the back is missing so there’s nothing to hold the zipper together, the seams across her thighs are nearly bursting. The hemming around the arm holes is too tight and made of some horrible plastic shit, so in just a few minutes, Verity’s got terrible chafing and can’t really put her arms down (the worst!). More beads have fallen off. “it’s ridiculous.” She can barely walk because it’s so tight, and her stepmum sees it and immediately bursts into tears. The alterations list is long, they have less than a day, and they don’t even know where they’re supposed to take it.
Emergency phone call to Scott. Bridesmaid Allie explains the situation to him, saying “we need it sorted.” Scott replies, “well I don’t know anything about dresses.” Allie simply says, “that’s not good enough, Scott.” He tells her he’ll figure something out and hangs up.
Scott to David: “Coulda gone better, really.”
David to Scott: “It’s a worry that she can’t move in it.”
Thirty minutes later, at a seamstress’ flat, fighting shitty fabric, odd bits of glue, and not a whole lot of extra fabric in the seams to get this fixed, the seamstress agrees to work through the night to fix the dress as best she can for £250. The girls are thankful and LIVID WITH SCOTT.
Scott, who is at the venue, has decided to add the life-size fake tortoise back in, bringing his total on life-size fake animals to £1,800. So, just as a reminder: £100 on the dress for the woman he intends to spend the rest of his life with, £1,800 on fibreglass animals, including a zebra that is also a bench. When they total up the budget, Scott and David realize they’ll need to “cut a bit of bubbly for the guests.” Not “cut the zebra bench.” I hate this man.
It’s the day of the wedding! Scott managed to get Verity and the maids to Cornwall, but he failed to get a makeup artist, so Allie fills in, mumbling, “I have no idea what I’m doing.” Verity likes the bridemaids dresses! Verity’s dress has been made into something wearable! Things are looking up as the limo arrives! It’s a beautiful day to be driven to… “A BLOODY JUNGLE! Of course, the only bloody jungle he could find in England! It’s going to be SO SWEATYYYY.” All things considered (“I don’t want a rainforest wedding” considered), Verity is in good spirits.
As a finishing touch, Scott drops the wedding rings into a tank with two baby crocodiles in it. So they’ll have to fish them out during the ceremony. Which they do, with smiles on. Scott and his bandmates/groomsmen are not wearing ties. Their shirts are unbuttoned. Scott has hung his sunglasses on his vest for the ceremony. I hate him.
Indeed, Verity seems happy. Stepmum weeps with joy. Verity doesn’t lose her shit over the life-size animals. She and Allie have a good, solid laugh over the animals budget vs. the dress budgets. Verity is proud of him, he pulled it all off!
Scott leads Verity to the “bridal suite” at the venue, which is a tin-walled shack built into this fucking biodome rainforest. There’s a mosquito net. There’s no AC. She can’t believe they’re really staying there. But they are. They dance, they’re happy, it’s over, and I just hope they didn’t consummate their marriage and contract malaria simultaneously.
That is all.
At 3:30, the vet called to say that Bear had done beautifully. As expected, they took out her top two canines and a few other rotten top teeth, but she’s basically got a full back set of teeth still, which is good. They also worked on her icky ear polyps that make her itch so much (tested them so we can treat better in the future) and sniped one off her chin that had popped up recently and was frankly gross. A bit of antibiotics, a bit of painkillers, and she’s home. A little loopy, but home. At least 10 years old, just under 10 pounds, going strong.
And because she’s a cat, and because she’s Bear, she walked straight up the steps to her bowl and started chomping on her dry food. Dental work? What dental work?
At 2:30am last night, I was wide awake, a combination of jetlag and worrying about Bear, whom I took to the vet for her dental surgery this morning. From 2:30-4:30 I occupied myself by Twitter-following the Emmys and then finished reading Tessa Hadley’s fine piece in last week’s New Yorker, which I had fallen asleep reading at around midnight and had had creepy half-dreams about for those few hours.
When the alarm went off at 7:30, I was none too pleased, and neither was Bear, whose morning meowing got louder and louder (NO SERIOUSLY WHERE IS MY BREAKFAST?) until I put her in the carrier, and then took her out in the rain for the few blocks’ walk to the vet.
During this walk, I gave her a pep talk about all of the things she has survived: Hurricane Katrina, the drive from New Orleans to Chicago, the flight from Chicago to New York, three New York moves, losing her fat sister, flying from New York to London, one London move, etc. I reminded her that with this track record, she could hardly crap out on a little dental surgery. It may be her first go at general anesthesia, but given her general sturdiness (and stellar bloodwork earlier this month), this should be a breeze.
I need it to be a breeze.
I took myself to Starbucks and basically chugged a regular drip coffee, a thing that’s hard to find at other coffee shops in this city. It was watery, but it was comforting. Then I walked in the rain to the bookstore, which didn’t open for 45 minutes, so I stood under the awning and thought about what I could possibly need at the bookstore.
When they opened, I asked for a poetry textbook I shouldn’t have sold, because obviously it’s not available in England. I read some soup recipes but got spooked by making stock. I went to the grocery store and bought healthy stuff (and soup), and then I came back and called some roofers, because the ancient building I live in is a leakfest, and none of the roofers called Charlie as they said they would when he was back in the country before me last week, because that is how England is.
Anyway: I will now buy that poetry textbook on Amazon and maybe also buy some crochet supplies, which I’ve been threatening to do for weeks, and have a nap.
I’m flying during the Doctor Who premiere.
Tonight I was treated to a mani/pedi, the first invitation off the press, and a celebratory Houston’s Hickory Burger (hold the ham). This closes out the week after a hair dye and cut, a fitting, a tasting, a Ketubah frame exploration, a photo shoot, a hang sesh with the rabbi, an auf ruf, a makeup trial, a wedding band (music) visit, a wedding band (jewelry) purchase, and sweet MJ’s shower—so I’m pretty sure my work here is done.