The Bachelorette's Trista Rehn and her fiancé, fireman Ryan Sutter, are getting one heck of a wedding gift from ABC.
The network is writing out a check for $1 million to the happy couple for the TV rights to their fall nuptials. But the money comes with strings attached that would allow the reality TV show's producers to have the final word on everything from the bride's dress to the floral arrangements.
According to the contract published on the Smoking Gun, the televised shindig will be "a first class, high-end affair" that will provide Rehn and Sutter with "meaningful consultation with respect to all elements of your wedding itself (including, but not limited to, the wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses, tuxedos, flowers, wedding cake, music, etc.)." However, in the event of a disagreement, the program's producer "shall make all final decisions."
Based on the success of the TV dating game, ABC plans to turn the nuptials and the event's planning into a four-hour prime-time extravaganza. With the exception of Monday Night Football, the Bachelorette was ABC's most watched show last season, with approximately 20.4 million tuning in in February to watch pediatric physical therapist Rehn choose Sutter as her soul mate from 25 potential suitors.
The lovebirds were paid $100,000 up front when they signed the contract in mid-May. Another $500,000 will be doled out following the ceremony, which is to take place no later than February 2004, with the remaining balance being paid in equal installments during production of the show. But, just in case someone gets cold feet, there's a clause that requires Rehn and Sutter to return the $100,000 down payment.
What would Emily Post say?
There's a big incentive for Trista or Ryan not to leave the other at the altar: The couple could face legal action if they fail to tie the knot. "In the event of a breach by you, AND [the production company] will be caused irreparable injury which cannot adequately be compensated by money damages. Accordingly, AND shall be entitled to seek injunctive relief in addition to other rights to enforce the terms hereof."
The wedding dowry is a substantial chunk of change in comparison to what Rehn made during her stint on the Bachelorette. The 30-year-old was paid $15,000 for "living expenses and personal trainer fees incurred."
She and the show's four finalists were also promised another payment "in an amount to be determined by Producer in its sole discretion," though the figure wasn't specified in the 17-page contract published by the Smoking Gun because of a confidentiality and nondisclosure agreement signed by the swinging singles.