'The Bachelorette' wedding: Ashley and JP get their lavish, all-expenses-paid fairy tale ending
Listen up, rose lovers: The Bachelor is sick of your s–t, okay? Yes, they know that only 12.5 percent of their 24 “winning” “couples” have ended up at the altar, and that most break up 20 minutes as soon as the After the Final Rose credits roll… but “this show is and always will be dedicated to helping people find meaningful, life long relationships,” says Chris Harrison, and lots of random fameosexuals have gotten married thanks to Mike Fleiss’ evil empire: Holly and Blake! Deanna and Stephen Stagliano! John Presser and Tara Durr! (Wait, who?) Anyhow, enough is enough, haters — if you don’t stop talking smack about this franchise, Team Bachelor is going to cut a bitch.
And with that fit of defensive self-justification taken care of, welcome to Ashley and JP’s wedding! Or, that is, the 107 minutes of filler before the actual “I dos.” After a brief recap of the duo’s whirlwind Bachelorette “journey,” we rejoin the couple in the present day, living their “everyday life” — which involves renting those overpriced rowboats in Central Park, eating ice cream in downtown Princeton, NJ, and spending an inordinate amount of time discussing Ashley’s tiny dog Boo. (Side note: They are also prepared — nay, excited! — to host a Bachelorette viewing party for their future children, should those tykes ever wonder how mommy and daddy met. Guys, if you do, you might want to fast forward through this part.)
Ashley and JP have been so busy living their “fairy tale,” though, that they haven’t even had time to set a date for the wedding. It’s been so long that at this point, their family members — who’ve all gathered at a local bar to hear some exciting news from the couple — are starting to think that Ash & Jape are going to skip the whole marriage thing and go straight to makin’ babies. As Ashley begins her preamble — “We do have some really, really special news, and we wanted to share it with you guys first” — someone begins chanting, “Pregnant! Pregnant! Pregnant!” Nope, ABC has scheduled that special for next December – first everybody’s got to head out West to watch the duo get hitched for the cameras. Even Ashley’s sister Chrystie, who straight up hated JP when she met him for the first time, is happy to hear the news — or, at least, she’s agreed to tell America how “wrong,” “wrong,” “wrong” she was about her sister’s beau in exchange for an all-expenses-paid trip to the Langham Huntington Hotel in beautiful Pasadena, California.
Speaking of, the Langham’s worker bees are busy carpeting every available surface of the hotel’s horseshoe garden with white roses and hydrangeas. It’s all part of Ashley’s “simple,” “feminine,” “neutral” style she described to her wedding planner a few months back — a meeting that was, conveniently, also caught on film. In it, Jape manages to appear engaged for about three minutes, but once the discussion turns to wood tables and DJ vs. band and party favors and the dinner menu and gifts for the wedding party, he looks ready to open a vein. Fortunately we don’t have to watch the duo pore over fabric samples and centerpieces, because by the end of the next commercial break, super hero wedding planner Mindy Weiss has filled a ballroom with sample tables and even chosen a selection of gowns for Ashley’s pooch. One of which, I should add, is a $7,500 ensemble constructed out of antique lace. Screw you, 99 percent!
NEXT: Say yes to the dress!
With the cake chosen (red velvet is just too “eye-catching” to pass up) and the favors chosen (a bag of dirt with a poem attached), we’re finally getting to the good stuff: the wedding dress! Mom, Chrystie, and Jape’s mom Eileen are on hand to watch Ashley get her last fitting at Randi Rahm’s fancy-schmancy midtown bridal studio. Cue the violins because here comes the former Bachelorette now, emerging from the fitting room in a hand-beaded fit-and-flare gown (I will admit that I stole that description directly from my pal Cheryl Brody at InStyle.com, who has all the details you could possibly need about Ashley’s dress right here). Lots of tears and oohhs and whoops of surprise at Ashley’s bedazzled pink shoes ensue.
Next, JP goes shopping for his tux, but even Team Bachelor knows there’s nothing more boring than watching a man shop for a black suit, so they spend all of 46 seconds on his fitting. Let’s move things along to Neil Lane, shall we? After all, the man’s busy hawking his collection for Kay Jewelers — he doesn’t have all the time in the world to help the couple select a wedding band that represents what Ashley calls “an eternity of life together.” Well, at least Ashley knows that life with her will, no doubt, sometimes feel like an eternity for JP.
Back at the hotel, various and sundry members of Bachelor Nation — like Nick “Keep” Peterson and Mickey “I’m Outta Here” McClean — are getting their drink on. Jason and Molly are here, too, but the latter is not pounding the champs because she’s got a bun in the oven. (Jason claims that his sinisterly adorable son Ty is “super-pumped” to have a baby brother or sister, but something tells me he’s gonna go all Orphan on that baby.)
So is the ceremony about to begin? Hell, no! We’ve still got to get through the bachelor and bachelorette parties, folks!
Ashley’s hen party is predictably girly: mimosas, manis, pedis, a tiny, bedazzled image of JP staring back at Ashley from her fingernail, frilly lingerie, and pole dancing lessons. (Pssst, sweetie: Your bridesmaids are supposed to get you a male stripper for your bachelorette party.) But she LOVES it. “I want JP to get me a pole now!” chirps Ashley. Speaking of Jape, he’s had his fill of hanging with the guys for an afternoon of testosterone tourism — driving race cars, sipping Scotch — and now all he wants to do is go ice skating with his tiny dentist. Awwww, that’s sweet. Can we just get these two married already?
NEIN! As vith all Bachelor-related events, nutink can happen until ve seek counsel from zee franchise’s ubercouple, Trista and Ryan! Heil hot tub! “I had really high hopes for Ashley and JP,” declares Trista. “And now we’re here!” As for the upcoming season of The Bachelor? Trista will be watching because Sean is “pretty to look at,” while Ryan he’ll be watching “if I want to spend time with my wife on Monday nights.”
NEXT: Sean sees his future?
Even with Trista and Ryan’s blessing, though, Ashley and Jape still aren’t cleared to hit the matrimonial runway. Our fearless host Chris Harrison — who’s now an ordained member of the Universal Life Church, or something — is going to be officiating the ceremony, and he’s not letting JP put a ring on it until he knows for certain that these two “are truly committed to what marriage means.” (Maybe Team Bachelor should be asking themselves the same question.) “I think there are things in life that the brain doesn’t understand but the heart feels,” explains Ashley, “and I think that’s kind of what we have.” That’s all Harrison needs to hear. “They’re ready!” he declares. “It’s going to be a beautiful wedding.”
No doubt, but will it be a beautiful wedding that occurs in the year 2012? Good God, Team Bachelor — how much longer are you going to drag this out? And forcing us to watch Ashley and JP argue over whether they’ll share one kiss or two at the altar… that’s just cold. As more guests file in (I spy Mike Stagliano, Michelle Money, Ali and Roberto pretending that they don’t hate each other, Jillian, a newly-single Emily…), new Bachelor Sean appears on Harrison’s hot seat. “This could be you soon!” cries the host. “Maybe,” mutters the Bachelor with a weak shrug. Still, he reveals that the “quality of women” he had to choose from was “great” — so he’s got that going for him. See you
in hell on January 7th, pal.
Finally, finally, finally after a pre-wedding brunch and some promotional consideration for the hair and makeup team, Jape gives Ashley a bracelet laden with charms that symbolize all the important moments in their life together — a rose, a cupcake, a tooth, a dog bone (what up, Boo?) — the bride is ready to put on her dress. Harrison, please take your place on the “wedding stage” and let’s do this thing!
Jape makes his way down the aisle with his parents (looking lovely, Eileen!) and then the long processional unfolds — 9 bridesmaids, 9 groomsmen, 2 flower girls, 1 ring bearer, 1 Teacup Yorkie — as the Bachelor Nation smiles politely and patiently. When Ashley emerges to the strains of “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” it takes three attendants to wrangle her train behind her. Before she even makes it down the steps, Ashley is crying, JP’s chin is quivering, and off in the control room, Mike Fleiss is wiping away his tears with hundred dollar bills. The bride and bridegroom are so happy to be reunited at the altar they can’t help but lean in for a kiss — but they stop short, for propriety’s sake, and rub noses instead. The crowd giggles, and I’ll admit, it’s pretty cute.
NEXT: What we learned during the ceremony
Things I learned during the actual ceremony: 1) Ashley’s last name, Hebert, is pronounced “Ay-bear,” all Frenchy like, rather then “He-burt,” which any normal person would expect. 2) JP can communicate with Ashley via a series of silent winks… or he has some kind of eye twitch. 3) You don’t have to have a drop of Irish blood in your veins to feature a Celtic “handfasting” ritual in your wedding. 4) When moms cry, it’s impossible not to cry with them, even if you’ve never met them. (Possible exception: Casey Anthony.) 5) Bowties have gotten really big lately. 6) Ashley’s gotta hold it together because JP’s not gonna hold it together if she doesn’t. 7) Ali F. sometimes does brush her hair extensions! 8) People make a lot of ridiculous promises on their wedding day. “I promise that every day we are together will be the greatest day of my life”? Ashley, let me give you a little bit of marriage advice: Expectations are for managing and exceeding, not for setting so high they can’t be reached without an oxygen tank and a sherpa. 9) Throwing feathers at a wedding is apparently a thing now.
And we’re on to the reception! Stag must already be a little liquored up, because he’s catcalling the bride — “So hot! SO HOT!” — as she makes her grand entrance with JP. And Emily’s tight smile during this sound bite says it all: “As someone who’s been in love a couple times and had it not work out a couple times, seeing how happy Ashley and JP are, it really makes me think maybe I shouldn’t throw in the towel just yet.”
Well, rose lovers, Ashley and JP’s “journey” is about over… but Sean’s is just beginning! The new season of The Bachelor is just 22 days away, and now, I offer this haiku based on the preview of the upcoming season:
So, what did you think? Was Ashley and JP’s wedding everything you dreamed it could be and more? Are you disappointed Boo didn’t wear the antique lace? Thoughts on the bridesmaids’ dresses? (They’re definitely not going to wear those again.) Would you hire Harrison to officiate your wedding? Speak now, or forever hold your peace!