Ultimate Wedding Planner viewers were left fuming last night as a contestant quit in the first week of the competition to be reunited with his young family.
The new TV series, which began on BBC last night and follows a similar format to The Apprentice, sees eight aspiring planners putting together real-life weddings in just three days with a £10,000 budget.
At the end of every episode, a contestant is sent home by judges Dragons’ Den’s Sara Davies, First Dates’ maitre d’ Fred Sirieix and party planner Raj Somaiya. The eventual winner will receive a bespoke business package to take their career to the next level.
In the first episode, the contestants were tasked with upscaling Sammy and Lewis’ wedding reception in Manchester.
The couple – who are 21 and 24 – have a shared interest in planes and had their heart set on having their ceremony under a Concord display in Manchester.
Pictured: Sammy (right) and Lewis during their wedding reception at Manchester Airport during the first episode of the new BBC2 show
After paying for their own food, outfits and venue, the couple then trusted the contestants with all the decorations, floral displays, wedding favours and the overall running of the day.
Arriving at the planners’ headquarters in Glasgow, Sammy said: ‘It’s a bit different to a normal wedding. We’ve got a common interest in aviation and plane spotting.’
As the venue is so ‘massive’, the bride-to-be said she needed the planners’ help making it feel ‘intimate’ and said she wanted a ‘floral wonderland’ theme.
Young father-of-two Jack – who runs a wedding planning business with his wife in Leicestershire – was placed on the design team, who were responsible for the floral displays, centrepieces and meadow-scaping for the aisle.
Upon seeing the venue for the first time, the wedding DJ – who struggled with homesickness throughout the episode – fearfully said: ‘I’m just anticipating how much we’re going to have to do to make it feel more intimate.’
During the episode, Jack was tasked with organising white drapery to make the smaller seating area feeling more enclosed.
However, he was criticised by the project manager for getting a £1,300 quote that was over-budget – but later hit back at her ‘unrealistic’ expectations.
Following the couple’s ceremony, Jack broke down in tears as he struggled through the day without his family’s support – but was reminded by his teammate that he would be seeing them the next day.
Pictured: wedding DJ and planner Jack broke down in tears after the couple’s reception as he struggled with homesickness
Despite his heartfelt reasoning for leaving the show in the first week, viewers on Twitter were unimpressed with Jack’s performance
Speaking to camera afterwards, he said: ‘There was a lot of stress and effort and stuff this morning just to get those final pieces in place.’
At the end of the episode, Jack found himself in the final two, which put him at risk of elimination – but decided to leave early so he could be reunited with his family.
He told the judges: ‘For me, weddings are all about love and that’s why I love weddings.
‘Seeing the feedback from Sammy and Lewis, I know they loved it and that means a lot to me.
‘But one thing I love more is my family and between my family and commitments of all the weddings that I do outside of this, I don’t feel I can give this 100 per cent going forward. So I’m going to take a step back.’
Despite his heartfelt reasoning, viewers were disappointed to see the contestant quit so early in the competition.
Speaking to camera after his emotional moment, Jack said: ‘There was a lot of stress and effort and stuff this morning just to get those final pieces in place’
The bride and groom told the planners that they wanted a ‘floral wonderland’ theme for their wedding
Pictured: all the tables at the wedding had striking floral centrepieces and aviation-inspired names
Pictured: the handpainted table name displays and floral centrepieces which were made by the team
One wrote on Twitter: ‘C’mon, Jack! You’ve been given the opportunity of a lifetime and you’ve no umph in you whatever. It’s thee days, not three weeks.’
Another unsympathetic critic wrote: ‘Jack is acting like they’ve sent him to Outer Mongolia for seven years? F***s sake man.’
‘Jack would be in the spare room for the foreseeable if I was his wife and he’d done that,’ a third wrote.
Meanwhile, a fourth said: ‘Quit because he wanted to be with his family.
‘If this is a life changing opportunity and something that you want to pursue, surely a few days away from them is worth it?’
One viewer wrote on Twitter: ‘C’mon, Jack! You’ve been given the opportunity of a lifetime and you’ve no umph in you whatever. It’s thee days, not three weeks’
However, others were torn over the concept of the show itself – with some arguing that the contestants weren’t given enough time to actually plan a wedding.
One fumed: ‘This just isn’t wedding planning, it’s throwing stuff together at the last minute.’
Another said: ‘Did the team actually only have three days to do this? That’s absolutely horrendous and you’re setting them up to fail on someone’s special day… at least normal wedding planners would have a reasonable time to plan!!!’
While a third branded it ‘The Apprentice crossed with Don’t Tell The Bride’, a fourth said: ‘This is the type of reality competition nonsense that I live for!’
Earlier on in the show, Jack revealed how he had DJ-ed almost a thousand weddings and set up his planning business with his wife as it allowed them to make family time a priority.
He said: ‘Myself and my wife, we always work as a team on our weddings. One of the reasons we went into this business was to give us that flexibility so that we can spend a lot of family time together.
‘It’s definitely going to be interesting planning weddings without my wife by my side. I will miss having her there to bounce ideas off of.’