Why on earth would you agree to having your no-frills budget filmed for an observational TV show?
This is the question I kept asking myself watching Australia’s Cheapest Weddings.
It’s not like Channel Seven agrees to foot the bill for the wedding and give them a magical event -that would undermine the entire premise. Featuring in a single episode means TV fame is also unlikely. So I can only presume they are given a handsome cheque once it’s all over (especially given the network will be enjoying primetime revenue for their efforts).
In what could easily pass for a 7mate production, Australia’s Cheapest Weddings brings out the bogan in us all and awkwardly tries to find the bright side of Krystal & Dan’s wedding reception at the $400 hire of the Jindalee Bowls Club. This poor couple have no help from friends in decorating the glum bowls clubhouse.
Krystal has bought a $168 wedding dress online from China plus $55 shoes, and Dan sports a $40 off-white suit. Krystal is convinced her dress looks every bit as good as a $2000 dress, God love her. Dan will ignore the lawn rules of the Botanical Gardens for his ceremony plans. “I’m gunna put down red carpet,” he insists. “I’m paying for it, I can do what I like.”
Bowl Club manager Sue, who waxes lyrical about the”blank canvas” of her venue, and a newbie photographer who is hired cheaply because she is building a portfolio, are amongst some of the colourfully colloquial characters featured here. The photographer reckons she spent $1000 for her own wedding photographer 10 years earlier. Plus legal costs, boom boom.
This struggling Queensland couple are contrasted by Zach and Emily (pictured) getting married on Norfolk Island (an external territory of Australia). This happy pair seemingly have the whole island pitching in to help for their wedding, from flowers to decorations and venue. Even “Big Al” helps out with the lights. Their biggest challenge appears to be the fickle tropical weather raining on their backyard parade (with a backdrop like Norfolk Island I can’t work out why you wouldn’t get married beside the coast?).
A third couple is Aussie Russell and his Argentinian model bride Julie, who are spending $7000 on her residential visa and $2000 on their wedding. It’s a fair dinkum backyard barbie wedding here, complete with fairy lights hanging off the Hills hoist. Hopefully it’s for the long-term, right….?
Not a great deal of production has gone into Australia’s Cheapest Weddings (even the credits are no-frills) but that doesn’t mean it can’t find an audience. ‘Pop-choons’ keep things light and Melanie Vellajo as narrator resists getting too judgemental at the couples’ expense.
The car-crash elements of Krystal & Dan’s wedding leave me in little doubt that there will be one couple a week who we can gawk at mercilessly (Gogglebox this has your name written all over it). Rather than being a “How To” on cheap weddings, this is probably more “How Not To.”
In truth this could be a diverting little show at 30 minutes, but it’s pushing the friendship at 60 minutes. Sit back and be glad this isn’t you, or find the rose amongst the budget thorns and know that true love rises above $55 shoes and a red carpet with creases.
Australia’s Cheapest Weddings airs 9pm Mondays on Seven.