East Grand Forks couple's wedding plans upended by reality TV
EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. – Last fall, Leah Starr and Travis Foster had planned to slip off to Las Vegas to take in a concert and then tie the knot in a Sin City-style "quickie" wedding.
Instead, the East Grand Forks couple – and their wedding – ended up becoming part of "The Bachelor," a popular reality TV series on ABC.
Weeks before going to Vegas, they received the call asking if they were interested in appearing on TV, Leah said. "We had no idea it was going to be something big like this."
"When we found out it was this big, popular show, we thought, 'How does this happen? How did they pick us? This is too crazy.' "
On the episode, which aired Monday night, this season's bachelor, Ben Higgins, conducts the wedding ceremony while on a date with bachelorette Becca Tilley.
"The whole time I was thinking, 'Oh my gosh, this is crazy,' " Leah said. "I felt like I was frozen."
She and Travis were filmed for the show Oct. 7 at the Little White Chapel but were sworn to keep silent about it until a week ago.
The couple, who has been together seven years and have a 2-year-old son, Elliott, decided that as long as they were going to Vegas, they would get married at the same time.
"We didn't want a big wedding, the whole family thing," Travis said.
They made reservations for the wedding ceremony online, booking a slot at the Little White Chapel. Not long after they made their reservations, a chapel employee called to ask if they would be interested in "a TV opportunity."
"We thought, 'Why not?' " Travis said.
A few weeks before they left for Vegas, the couple learned that they'd be part of "The Bachelor."
Keeping the secret from family and friends for months was difficult, they said. They had to keep track of, or invent, details to hide the truth.
On the appointed day, they were transported to and from the chapel by limousine. All wedding costs were covered by the show.
The film crew shot footage of Leah picking out her dress and Travis getting ready. The show's staff did her hair and makeup. The couple spent about five hours at the chapel.
"We thought we'd get some direction on what to say, but we didn't," Travis said. "There were 15 or 20 film people around. It was intimidating."
The crew captured a "heart to heart" conversation with Ben, Travis said.
"He asked me how I knew Leah was the person for me," Travis said. "I said, 'Because she makes me laugh.' It was weird."
Leah said she and Travis slipped off to a nearby bar where they hastily scribbled vows on a napkin and a bar receipt.
"It's like anyone's wedding day—there's excitement, nervousness. It's kind of a blur," she said.
Looking back on it, the couple said they are happy their wedding was part of the show, and they hope to get some unedited footage.
"We didn't have a fancy wedding," Travis said. "But we had an unforgettable one."