Since the rise of the commercial wedding industry, our expectations have soared. Not only of the day, but of the years to follow

Reality TV has become a staple of modern life, offering a supposed glimpse into the glamorous or far from glamorous lives of other people. Tattoo artists, lifesavers, pawnbrokers, bounty hunters, fashion designers, teenage rich kids, the Kardashians. Almost every angle for a reality show seems to have been exploited, and the multibillion dollar wedding industry is no different.

Young girls are raised to dream of their perfect day, and these shows play on this emotional connection. But how true is the picture they paint?

Say Yes To The Dress. 90 Days To Wed. Bridezillas. Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? A browse through the TV schedule offers eager young brides-to-be a buffet of shows to whet their appetite for their own fairytale wedding. Because, you know, the wedding is what really matters. Don’t worry about the marriage itself.

As a recently married bride, I thought I’d take a look a how these shows weigh up, with a quick-fire round of Expectation versus Reality:

WIN a R 2,000 Woolworths Voucher

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

Buying the dress

Expectation:

You glide out of the change room in The Dress. Your bridesmaids fawn and burst into tears. It’s a moment straight out of Pretty Woman, and it could not be more perfect. The reveal should come with its own soundtrack.

Reality:

Having never worn a marshmallow before, you fall on your face as you emerge from the changer, trying not to flash the world because the only remaining sample size is too big. Fortunately, only the shop assistant is there to witness the spectacle. Your besties are successful businesswomen who have careers and can’t drink champers at 10 on a Tuesday morning.

RELATED: The essential 10-step guide to saving for your dream wedding

Budgeting

Expectation:

Your love for the minimalist trend you’ve seen on all the latest shows will ensure you stay well within your budget.

Reality:

Be right back. Need to sell a kidney to afford the photographer. And the caterer. Do you think anyone will mind boerie rolls?

Planning

Expectation:

Oh, please. What’s so challenging about decor? I have a million DIY ideas thanks to the latest season of Rich Bride, Poor Bride and my Pinterest boards. I’ll enlist my friends and it’ll be magical. We’ll laugh and relive those memories of our crazy youth as we sip wine and create my decorations.

Reality:

‘Bunting’? Is that a low-carb, high-fat thing? And why are my fingers stuck together again?

Marriage is not about the dress or the cake, the hors d’oeuvres or the music. Marriage is about a life spent with your favourite person in the world

The big day

Expectation:

Every single person will care about every single detail of my decision-making, noticing every little detail and talking about it for years to come.

Reality:

Nobody will notice that the napkin rings are the same shade of cream as the bridesmaids’ dresses. What they will notice and, more importantly, remember, is the amount of love and happiness they felt on the day.

A wedding and a marriage aren’t mutually exclusive

Since the rise of the commercial wedding industry, our expectations have soared. Not only of the day, but of the years to follow. What we’ve forgotten is that a wedding and a marriage aren’t mutually exclusive.

There are too many people out there who want the wedding, but forget that there’s that whole marriage thing that follows. The happily ever after that is supposed to end every fairytale.

During the planning, and even on the day itself, a sense of reality is lost. Marriage is not about the dress or the cake, the hors d’oeuvres or the music. Marriage is about a life spent with your favourite person in the world.

A wedding can be planned down to the last champagne flute, but life is unpredictable. How will the two of you delve into each other during the tough times and how will you keep each other grounded during success? How much impact would a white dress make in these instances? Or matching cream napkin rings?

Reality TV shows don’t look beyond the altar, and neither do they explore the excitement that lies before you after the DJ plays his last track. Marriage should excite you more than your wedding day. Ask yourself if it does. If the answer is ‘no’, say no to the dress and to your future together.

Your wedding day will only be perfect if you allow it to be. The same goes for marriage

You will be the only one who’ll notice if there are eight rose petals on the table instead of six. On the day, the two of you are the centre of other peoples’ worlds, as they look on in awe.

The same goes for marriage. Highs and lows will exist forever and you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. For the rest of your lives, you will be – or you should choose to be – the centre of each other’s world. Write your own show. Pin your own board.

Here’s my last comparison:

Expectation: Your wedding day will be the best day of your life.

Reality: It is. Wow… it truly is.

RELATED: 10 Important things for newlyweds to do

Article by Kirsty Bisset