There are a lot of wedding reality shows on TV, and that means there are a good number of real couples choosing to get married on television. Fortunately, the couples who got married on my show, Wedding Island on TLC, seemed to be pleased with the overall results.
I've heard from numerous couples who got married on other TV shows and wanted to share their experiences. Most say they would do it again even though it wasn't exactly what they expected. Everyone I've ever talked to got some form of compensation for allowing their wedding to be filmed. The production company either paid for part (or all) of their wedding, or they got something else expensive for free that they wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise, like a designer wedding dress or a live band.
But for some, getting married on TV meant they lost some of the specialness of their wedding day that they can never really get back.
Jason and Cassia Hitch got married on Season 3 of TLC's 90-Day Fiancé after a whirlwind romance followed by a lot of stress and complications that had more to do with the realities of television production than anything else (such as the technicalities of dealing with a fiancé visa and the paperwork associated with it). In fact, it sounds like bringing Cassia to the United States from Brazil was the least of their problems.
"We missed out on privacy and peace of mind," Jason says. "The day did not belong to us. It belonged to the production company who had to get certain shots to fit 'their' story of us. We missed spending time with our family. We missed out on time together as a couple as well. Our wedding reception was about an hour because that was all the film they needed for their show."
Jason also thinks the production company tried to manipulate him and his fiancé to create drama where it didn't exist. The bride's family wasn't able to travel to Vegas from Brazil, so she was naturally emotional and feeling nervous on the big day. Instead of giving her a boost, the couple feels the show's producers would have been happier if the bride had made a run for it.
"On our Vegas wedding day, Cassia was alone in a room with her wedding dress on before the ceremony, and producers with cameras went in and asked her if she was sure she wanted to marry me," Jason says. He acknowledges that it's the production company's job to make a show interesting, but felt the timing was totally inappropriate and cast a bit of a pall over their TV ceremony.
Fortunately, for Cassia and Jason, they were married for real five days before their botched television wedding. They're still angry the show shut down their promised Vegas wedding reception after one hour because they didn't need more film, but despite all the crazy that went with the show, they are happily married and live together in Florida where Cassia is now in school.
*Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of * How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.