'Four Weddings' and...a Bunch More to Come

Economically speaking, 2009 was a drag. But wedding show speaking? It rocked the house. The Style network, WE TV and TLC couldn't roll out wedding shows fast enough. Ratings rose for the wedding fare at all three networks last year. Have you seen Style's Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? Sure you did, and so did a lot of other people. It had a 60% jump in ratings, according to a recent LA Times story.

TLC's Four Weddings (tonight, 10 p.m. ET), which premiered in December, has a simple gimmick: Four brides attend one another's weddings and "rate" the nuptials on a numerical scale. The bride whose wedding scores highest wins a free honeymoon.

The premise gives the women free reign to snipe at the quality of each others' buffets or the adequacy of the seating arrangements. They critique each other's budgetary choices. Sometimes they even commend one another on a creative touch, like the bride who asked guests to sign colorful scrapbooking pages in lieu of a guest book. But by the end of each episode, it comes down to this: Which wedding was the most poignant? The most fun?

Common wisdom holds that the more elaborate the wedding, the better. The more money spent on a posh venue and elegant extras (ice sculptures, champagne fountains, a multi-thousand-dollar dress), the happier the bride will be. But if that is really true, then why, in this time of mounting job losses and dwindling bank accounts, would wedding shows be so popular?

I don't think that wedding show viewers are drawn in by the glitz. This is escapist TV, sure, but "getting lost in the fairy tale" has more to do with finding true love -- and less with finding a 10-tiered cake with edible flowers. According to TLC's website, on tonight's episode of Four Weddings, a "crafty bride hopes her DIY wedding can top another's elegant black-tie affair."  But viewers already know the truth here: Money can buy you a lovely wedding, but it can't buy you love.

Plus: Here Comes Another Wedding Reality Show!

What's your favorite wedding-themed show?

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