Wedding day dreams air on national TV
River Falls native Lindsey (Wollan) Suydam said she'd never seen or heard of the show "Four Weddings" on the cable channel TLC before planning her own wedding day.
Now a show featuring hers and husband Shane's big day -- and the weddings of three other couples -- airs 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27.
To help her plan, Suydam, 26, used a website called the theknot.com, which one day sent her an e-mail saying the TV wedding-reality show was seeking applications.
The show's concept: It follows four brides' wedding experiences. Each woman attends the other one's wedding and rates it on four main criteria: Dress, venue, food and overall experience.
The couple with the top-rated wedding wins an all-expense-paid luxury honeymoon.
Suydam and the other newlyweds know which couple won, but nobody can tell.
Suspense will build until air time. The winners will be announced on the show.
The bride said the first e-mail prompted her to research the opportunity, which sounded fun and interesting. She sent in an application and kept planning.
"I got an e-mail back from the Four Weddings people telling me they wanted me to do an interview on Skype," she said.
Show producers looked at her interview, then asked Suydam about dates she was available.
From there it was the usual whirlwind of wedding planning and activities -- adding in cameras in many cases plus a trip to each of the other brides' weddings.
The couple married September 23.
For the show's sake, she can't reveal whose wedding came before or after hers or very many details about any of them.
She could say she didn't have to travel far to any of the other weddings, "We were all in the Chicago area."
Suydam said it was fun to do the show with the other brides. She found them to be nice people with similar interests.
Though she -- and her dad, Jay Wollan -- admit that the reality show can get "catty" at times, Suydam says the women she met all got along well and respected each other's feelings.
She said while they were at each other's weddings, they tried to stay on the sidelines and be unobtrusive.
The newlywed could also reveal that her wedding took place at the Kemper Lakes Golf Course in Kildeer, Ill.
Suydam lives near Chicago and owns a gift shop called Dandy Things in the historic village of Long Grove.
"I couldn't have asked for a better wedding," she said.
Suydam isn't sure how much or which parts of hers or the other weddings people will see. A lot depends on how producers decide to arrange the show.
The newlywed said her favorite part of the experience was meeting a lot of fun people and getting to try all the different food.
She also valued being able to experience other people's weddings, the cultural things outside of her own group of friends and family.
For example, she'd never seen anyone actually jump a broom or tie cords in a knot.
Suydam says the show elevated the air of excitement, but it was also tiring being "on" in front of the camera all day and/or sometimes, working around the equipment.
She said as a guest at the weddings, the brides had to be very conscious of the cameras. At her own wedding, she barely even noticed them.
"It was an interesting experience," she said.
Learn more about "Four Weddings" on TLC's website: tlc.discovery.com.