Trista Rehn charmed 26 million viewers when she and Ryan Sutter wed in 2003 in one of the most widely viewed reality-TV episodes in history. The event capped her stint on The Bachelor and as the first star of The Bachelorette. This year, she is back in the limelight with her first book, “Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart.”
Sutter began by writing a children’s book for her two young kids, Maxwell and Blakesley, but input from the publishing world changed her idea entirely. Instead, she decided to share the strongest guiding principal of her life with the world.
“Gratitude has always been a force that has kept me grounded in the high times and lifted me up in the low times,” she said.
Her way of saying thanks
The memoir covers Sutter’s childhood and early adulthood, as well her experiences on reality TV, but it’s also about “family, friends, strangers and experts. It touches on lots of interesting research studies on how embracing a grateful heart can truly make your life happier,” Sutter said.
Composing the book was a welcomed challenge for Sutter, whose role as a wife and mother of two didn’t leave much room for writing. But the support she received from friends and family during this time exemplifies why she loves living in the Vail Valley.
“I can’t imagine a community being more supportive,” she said. “What I love most (about Vail) is the close-knit connection we have with those in our community.”
By doing several events in the Vail Valley, she hopes to give back to the people who welcomed her 10 years ago. Both Perch in Vail Village and The Bookworm of Edwards are hosting Sutter for book signings.
“I actually spent a lot of time writing the book at Bookworm and to have their support means the world,” she said. “Laurie, the owner of Perch, is also a great supporter and to have everyone rooting for me and wanting to help me celebrate makes me love living here even more.”
A true local
The casual lifestyle of the valley appealed to the couple after a quick rise to stardom. And while her husband resumed his work at the Vail Fire Department, Sutter found her way, too.
“I’m sure people (here) had similar perceptions of me after the show and the wedding that many outside of Vail had, but hopefully after calling the valley home for 10 years, they know that I am just a Midwestern mommy at heart and truly love my new mountain home,” she said.
The couple love their life here so much that they renewed their vows earlier this month in Beaver Creek. Soon after, though, chaos resumed with added vigor. Sutter’s holiday season is busy, with a nation-wide tour, including appearances on Good Morning America, Fox and Friends and The View.
“It should be an exciting few weeks,” said Lissa Warren, vice president and senior director of publicity at De Capo Press.
With Sutter criss-crossing the country from Vail to Los Angeles to New York to Denver, the publisher is hopeful for strong holiday sales.
This book’s themes encourage readers to stay positive in the holiday frenzy. “Happily Ever After” has tips entitled “Happily Ever Actions” that show people how to practice gratitude.
One of the ways Sutter will practice staying grateful during this season is spending a lot of time with her family. In true Midwest fashion, her favorite tradition is baking cookies and hosting decorating contests.
“We even Facetime with our family in Germany and in the Midwest who decorate their own cookies and weigh in on who should win,” she said.
Leigh Horton is the journalism intern at The Bookworm of Edwards and a senior at the Colorado School of Mines.