Living in reality – in Vail |

Living in reality – in Vail

by Wren Wertin
Special to the DailyVail firefighter Ryan Sutter and "The Bachelorette's" Trista Rehn receive $1 million for having their wedding televised - plus an all-expenses-paid big day.

America’s sweethearts are here to stay.

Vail firefighter Ryan Sutter and “The Bachelorette’s” Trista Rehn got a jump-start on happily ever after when they bought a house in Eagle County this fall. In a fitting culmination of a romance born on reality television, their wedding will be aired Dec. 10, immediately following Bachelor Bob’s grand finale episode. The pair receives $1 million for having their wedding televised – plus an all-expenses-paid big day.

Owning a house is a first for both of them. They popped into the Vail Daily for a quick interview after perusing the stock at Treasures.

“We like the simplicity here,” said Sutter about the decision to remain in Vail. “And the fact you can live in this community and it’s private – there’s a great community feel. Its not the same type of hurry-up lifestyle as when we go to Los Angeles or New York.”

Locally, though strangers usually recognize them, the hoopla stops at congratulations. Elsewhere, they’re more likely to have flashbulbs pop and autograph requests.

“But that’s not why we’re staying here,” said Rehn. “He’s from Colorado, and I don’t want to take him away.”

They spent the past couple of months as guests of Vail Resort at Trappers Cabin, located at the top of Bachelor Gulch. Normally an $800-plus a night rental, as the company’s official ambassadors, it’s been a free stay for them.

“It was beautiful,” said Sutter.

But nothing compares to having your own digs.

“It’s just nice to have a house,” he said. “There’s been so much craziness in our lives, and people have been asking us when it’s going to get normal again. I think this is definitely a step in the right direction.”

Career plans

The duo is exploring different entertainment options, he as a model and she a host. On leave from the fire department, Sutter plans to return after the first of the year to the job he loves.

“It didn’t happen the way everyone thinks,” said Rehn. “Everyone thinks people who are on reality television want to go into entertainment, and that’s why they go on the show. What happened with me is I thought it would be a really fun thing, and then I thought people are interested. They think I might be able to do something in this field. Why not do it? I’m having a really good time.”

In other words, strike while the iron is still hot.

“If people are interested, we figured, why not capitalize on that in any way we can?” she continued. “Because it’s gotten us to a new house. We were able to buy a really great house, and have a home we can call our own, and that was a really big reason.”

Rehn’s ideal situation would be hosting specials, which would entail commuting to Los Angeles once or twice a month, allowing her to stay at home the rest of the time. After all, there’s still a whole house to be decorated.

A matter of taste

Though Rehn describes their taste in decor as pretty similar, like any couple they’ve got skirmishes.

“I’ve got some retribution coming,” said Sutter, laughing. “This weekend, I went fishing with my dad. I got him a float trip for Father’s Day, and I got to tag along. So my mom and Trista went shopping, and she comes back with these flowery – this trash can and tissue dispenser.”

“It’s for the guest bathroom,” exclaimed Rehn in an exasperated voice. “When are you ever going to be in there? Yeah, he has the run of the backyard, he’s going to take over landscaping and do that whole thing. That’s his thing. And also he’s got this huge area for a workshop in the garage. He’ll get to do everything for his workshop. Why can’t I have a guest bathroom?”

“That’s fine,” said Sutter. “But she’s going to be gone for four days, and when she gets back, there might be something else in there, like a movie screen.”

Reality craze

The public’s acute interest in the Ryan and Trista story took them both by surprise. The reality television craze – “Survivor,” “Real World,” “The Bachelor” – seems to have peaked with their series, “The Bachelorette.” Winning the girl of his dreams, Sutter can be philosophical about it:

“It’s some sort of weird coincidence, I think. We just happened to come along in the point of the world where they just needed this kind of story. The war was going on, the economy was bad, and we were this little bright spot.”

“I have nothing to hide, he has nothing to hide,” said Rehn. “And I like the fact that it’s about a love story. If it were negative, I’d hate it. It is private, but we have people rooting for us.”

Wedding plans

Unlike most brides-to-be, Rehn is utterly calm and unfrazzled. Having your wedding televised has some serious perks – the studio not only foots the bill, but does most everything else, too. Stuffing envelopes, keeping track of RSVPs – that’s someone else’s job.

“All those little things that people don’t think about, we don’t have to do,” she said. “We just had to put the guest list together. We make all the decisions in terms of what cake we want, what dresses I want, what rings I want, those kind of things. But we didn’t have to do any of the research.”

And ABC’s budget is a heap larger than theirs.

“It’s a chance to have a Cinderella fantasy wedding,” said Sutter.

“And prince charming,” added Rehn quickly.

The big day

They also chose where to have it, but not even their parents know the location. So how do they get their guests to the big event?

“Everybody will get an invitation that will say to be in, let’s say Chicago, at 9 a.m. on Thursday,” said Sutter.

Everyone will converge upon that specific location, and then ABC’s production crew will fly or bus or beam them to the actual location.

“I think it adds a little bit of mystery.” he said. “It’s like a little vacation with a wedding thrown in.”

Beginning Nov. 26, there will be two one-hour episodes of wedding preparations and other fanfare, including excerpts from their bachelor and bachelorette parties. The two-hour episode Dec. 10 will probably include the nuptials in their entirety, as well as bits and pieces from the reception. Though they’ve been able to make all the wedding decisions, they don’t control how the wedding is edited and produced.

“But that’s fine,” said Rehn. “We don’t want to.”

“The show’s the show, and our wedding’s our wedding,” added Sutter.

And once the shindig is over, the couple plans on honeymooning – without a camera or production assistant within a 1,000-mile radius.

“We want to do something active, and then just chill out on the beach somewhere,” said Rehn. “But that’s all I’m going to say about it.”

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.

They do

What: Ryan and Trista tie the knot

Where: Probably North America

When: Before Dec. 10

Honeymoon: Someplace warm

Ever after: Happily

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