"48 Hour Wedding"

Hello. Sean here, and no. Our wedding didn't last for 48 hours, although that would probably be very fun (and tiresome with all the drinking and the dancing). 48 Hour Wedding is the name of the reality TV show that Patrice and I were almost on. The show was supposed to air on the PAX network (home of Billy Ray Cyrus's doctor show and other family oriented programming), and we went through the auditions and screenings, and we made the cut. It was all in place as we were set to appear on television with a $10,000 budget to plan and execute our wedding over a 48 hour span. It was the chance of a lifetime even though it seemed impossible, but we thought, "Why the hell not?"
The story goes like this. I have an old college friend who I'm still in touch with. Her name is Rena, and back then and currently, Rena works for Banyan Productions. This is the production company responsible for bringing many popular television shows to your cozy home. Trading Spaces is one of them, and I'm sure that there are many others, but what most of them have in common is that they are reality TV shows that involve regular people performing tasks in a short amount of time. 48 Hour Wedding fits this criteria. For these shows, it is very typical of Banyan employees to get people who they know to appear on their shows, so employees didn't think twice about getting their friends, family and associates involved when the casting took place for 48HW. The difference between a show like 48HW and a show like Trading Spaces is that Trading Spaces doesn't involve a direct competition with other contestants for prizes at stake the way 48HW was going to. You see, before the planning and executing of the wedding in a two-day span, you had to go head to head with two other teams in a Dating Game-esque game show to see how well you know (or think you know) your fiance. The winner of this competition was to be awarded the $10,000 for the sole purpose of the wedding in 48 hours. Because this prize was at stake, it was unethical and illegal for any contestants to be in cahoots with anyone working for Banyan for fear of nepotism or favoritism or fixing the competition. Of course, the employees overlooked this rule when recruiting people because none of their other shows ever walked the line that this legality represented. Rena never thought twice about it because she was always getting people she knew to appear on shows that Banyan produced. So, it went like this.
We hear the casting request on the radio one day...the same day Rena sent us an email asking us if we were interested. I had just proposed to Patrice at the Washington Monument a few weeks prior, so the timing was perfect for such a challenge. So, we filled out an application thinking that it would never materialize. We went away on vacation to Montreal and Ottawa. While we were in Ottawa, Patrice called home and checked messages. There was one from the producer of the show asking us to come in for an on-screen audition, which means they ask you a bunch of questions to see how you will answer them on camera. They also have the footage as a reference while they are conducting their decision process on who to pick. So, we got another call saying that we were 1 of 9 couples selected to appear on the show. They divided the 9 couples into 3 groups of 3, so they had three shows planned where the 3 couples would go head to head for a chance...you know already. In the fast-paced business of reality TV, there were many factors involved in getting this together, and in rapid fashion, things were getting crazy. We were excited about the opportunity, but suddenly we realized how stressful everything was going to be. We just got back from Canadian holiday, so I had to beg my supervisor and manager for more time off so that this could happen. Our friends and family all had to be notified because there was a good chance that they would appear on the show. I had to try to get my brother Billy, who was going to be my best man, home for the occasion. Most importantly, we had to play Dating Game boardgames at home to practice knowledge of each other so that we could win the gameshow portion of the show. No victory = no money = no chance. Then, we started learning about the rules of the game in the event we won the $10,000 (besides the time frame). We could only select from certain vendors. The production crew will be with us for the entire 48 hours (a la Truman Show). You can imagine the stress we were beginning to feel over all this, but we went ahead.
On September 11, 2002, we walked into the Montgomery County courthouse in Norristown, PA (after I set the metal detectors off with my steel-tipped boots and box cutter...I know it was September 11 and the security level was raised to purple, but I did work in a warehouse at the time!) to pay $40 for a marriage license. It was either that day or the day after, Banyan called Patrice while I was at work and put her in tears. They called the whole thing off due to the relation technicality. I'll never forget the call she made to me at work. She sounded so sad and upset In a way, it was a relief that we weren't going to go through all of that hell to be reality TV sellouts, but part of us was really looking forward to it. We also felt like idiots because everyone we knew knew about it. I mean, it was a done deal. Banyan even called all of our family members on the phone as part of pre-production planning. This thing was legit, and we never saw the possibility of it falling through. Rena was very apologetic, but it wasn't her fault, so no forgiveness was necessary. We talked about going to Vegas since we already planned to be off from work, but it would have cost too much money. And, we didn't want to waste the $40 marriage license that would have expired 30 days after we got it.
So, we did the economical thing: We had the Mayor of Souderton (who's last name was Allebach...same as Trent...it was a sign that it was where we needed to be) officially marry us. It was a small ceremony with immediate family and close friends. That was October 7, 2002. Not that that day wasn't enough for us, but we felt like we needed to have another since not everyone had the chance to celebrate our marriage. So, we had two and a half months to plan our "wedding ceremony", which was on December 22, 2002. It was a Philadelphia theme chock full of Tastykakes, soft pretzels, cheesesteaks, and hot roast pork sandwiches. We even wrote our own vows and said them in front of everyone, and we re-enacted the kiss the bride routine and the "here comes the bride" walk, except to the tune of Radiohead's "Everything In Its Right Place". I thought that it was SO appropriate that Patrice walked down the aisle to that song considering all we went through leading up to that point.

4 validations:

Jen said...

What a crazy story. I have never heard a wedding tale quite like that one. At least it all worked out for the best in the end, though.

lonna said...

We knew about the 48 hour wedding fiasco, but for some reason we never heard about the real
wedding(s). Your bigger wedding sounds like a real riot.

Your mentioning of the proposal at the Washington Monument has piqued my interest. I would be interesting in hearing more about that if there's more to be told.

amandak said...

What a great story. I also would like to hear about the proposal.

Damn reality tv. ;)

NME said...

Both ceremonies were lovely and I'm very proud to have been at both. LOVE YOU GUYS!