Don't Tell The Bride, TV review: Watching others suffer shows us what to expect when planning our own weddings

The BBC Three stalwart has been bumped up from the kids' corner to the top table

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The Independent Culture

When I heard the BBC Three stalwart Don't Tell the Bride had been bumped up from the kids' corner to the top table, I thought that, in its grown-up new home on BBC One, the format that sees grooms planning a wedding with only the help of a best man might get a shake up. But while this new series features couples of all ages and takes a closer look at their family life, the formula remains the same – albeit with a slightly harder tug on the heart strings.

Bride-to-be Jenni, virtually housebound for two years after a complication during childbirth, was after a "very vintagey, old-worldy, true princess-style" church wedding to give her back her zest for life. So, obviously, hapless "unromantic" Andrew booked the nearest registry office and a circus tent pitched in a muddy field next to a pub car park for the reception.

Given the £14,000 budget (up from 12k) is nearly 10 grand off the national average spend, it was never going to be easy. There was the customary low point of trawling Debenhams' "occasionwear" bargain rail that ended with the bridal party rebelling and buying their own dresses (is that even allowed?).

After a stern talking to from a bridesmaid, Andrew pulled his finger out and delivered an "Ibiza-style" shindig in the big top, complete with sand and grey-fleshed novelty acts in leotards shivering in the non-Balearic drizzle. They hadn't let us forget about the registry office though. "This is where I go to pay my council tax," wept Jenni. But all was forgiven when she saw the dancing girls.

We were left with that familiar warm fuzzy glow, the sort that is partly engineered by producers of this sort of show, but something which will keep us coming back for more. Because, as when we plan our own weddings, we will know what we're getting.