Say Yes to the Dress: Australia

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As TV formats go, it doesn’t get much simpler than Say Yes to the Dress.

Impending bride goes to bridal salon with friends, tries on a few dresses till they find one they all like and a purchase is made. The end.

But that appears to be just the way the show’s audience likes things -the US format has had 14 bloody seasons and 4 or 5 spin-offs, including Say Yes to the Dress: Australia, the first local format for TLC channel.

A day of retail therapy is -apparently- many women’s indulgence, and for many men an endless nightmare of standing around waiting (yes I’m generalising terribly here). Say Yes to the Dress is like both of these brought to life.

Three women with friends, mothers and female relatives in tow, head off to the bridal shop to help choose a dress for an upcoming wedding. Whilst the ‘brides’ are fitted into several dress options, their friends play judge and jury until there is agreement.

Dress Designer Adam Dixon of Brides of Sydney is the “master of ceremonies” for this season, providing flamboyant commentary to camera as every aspect of a dress and its fitting is perused and dissected by a prospective customer. His store has over 1000 dresses. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, you clearly belong in Australia’s Cheapest Weddings.

As it turns out, Talina, 22 from the NSW Central Coast, doesn’t even have a wedding or a groom who has proposed. But that hasn’t stopped her heading to the shop in the hope of looking like a princess. I would have thought a proposal and wedding date was a prerequisite for casting, but apparently not. Consultant Leese will nevertheless help her part with her $2,500 budget to see her wish come true. Talina wants a dress that is “Puffy sparkly, really out there,” and her brutally honest sisters are here to help.

Morgan, 27 from South West Sydney, at least has a wedding locked in and wants something “flowy for a rustic wedding.” She has $3,000 to spend but her mother’s plans for a low back, strapless number are opposed by her aunty’s fears of exposing tattoos on her back. At one point everyone is worried one dress is a bit too much of “getting my girls out.”

Meanwhile Danielle 21, also of Sydney, is back for a dress fitting to make her look like a Disney Princess if they can just fix those shoulders. The episode will end with footage of her big wedding day, complete with a kombi van.

In the first episode there are no Bridezillas -but I am confident they will come to create car-crash telly later. Amongst Adam’s observations we learn, “When you see a mother tearing up you know you’re on point.” The credits also note, “Actual retail prices of the wedding gowns included in the program may vary depending on the time of purchase and the point of purchase.”

Conceding I am not the target audience for this show I was pleased this was mercifully 30 minutes long -too many shows outstay their welcome at 60 minutes. I did feel the storyline of Talina, who doesn’t yet have a proposal was incomplete, by not showing us if she got her wish after all. If you’re setting this up, you need to pay it off.

Nevertheless this straightforward show produced by McAvoy Media fulfills the brief for those who have been saying yes to the US original for years.

You know who you are.

Say Yes to the Dress: Australia airs 7:30pm Wednesday October 26 on TLC.

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