Alumna's book goes behind the scenes of her reality-show wedding
By Steve Seepersaud
Rachel Epstein Eddey '03 retired before her 30th birthday — not from working, but from the reality show circuit. In her new book, to be released in May, she dishes about some of the not-so-real experiences of reality shows.
Running of the Bride (Globe Pequot Press, 2012) chronicles the madness of planning nuptials in four month's time and having part of the experience documented by camera crews from two reality shows.
The whirlwind began when her then-boyfriend John - vice president for a movie studio lot in Brooklyn - got her a spot as an extra in the Sex and the City movie. Before the day's filming began, John temporarily upstaged the stars by surprising her with an engagement ring.
She figured she'd have the usual two-or-so years to plan a lavish New York wedding that would have friends and family talking forever after. Instead, she got four-or-so months. Because another party canceled, the couple was able to secure a date for the highly sought-after Stage 6 reception hall. However, that turned wedding planning into a big rush job.
The mad dash to plan the big day led Eddey to enter all sorts of contests and raffles. Her luck was amazing, winning a free honeymoon to Aruba (no, there wasn't a mandatory sales pitch about timeshares) and a free wedding gown. She also won a spot on the TLC reality show Rock the Reception, in which the bridal party learns a dance routine to perform at the reception before unsuspecting guests. As someone who loathed dancing, she figured it could be a sort of immersion therapy to help her overcome her fear.
"Going on the reality show let me make this into a production," she said during a phone interview. "People could focus on something new and fun, and not be focusing on my feet. Now, I dance at every wedding I go to. This really helped me face my fear."
Producers for TLC asked Eddey if she wanted to go on the show Say Yes to the Dress. The idea was to have Eddey appear in both shows and air them together. Although she already had a wedding dress she loved, Eddey agreed. The experience of choosing a second dress (yes, she wore both on the big day) left a lot to be desired, she says.
"I don't remember saying yes to the dress," Eddey says in the book. "I'm 99 percent sure [the saleswoman] said it first and then convinced me that it was my idea...I was in like but not in love. When I didn't protest, my friends threw down the praise, and suddenly I had chosen without choosing. We retaped, of course, to make it seem like it was my decision."
She says her memoirs class at Binghamton University helped prepare her for the eventual journey of writing a book.
"[In the class], I felt so overwhelmed because I didn't know what I wanted to write about," she says. "I learned that it doesn't have to be your whole life story. [Running of the Bride] is not my whole life, but it's one experience I was able to parlay into a book because it's an interesting story."