Grab your boxes of tissues, clear the house of doubters, pour yourself a glass of bubbly, strap on a corsage and get ready for the Most Romantic Event Ever (TM). Yes, tonight we will all bear witness to the wedding of Ashley and JP — a.k.a. the third Bachelor wedding. (The first being Tristan and Ryan Sutter who are consistently held up as proof that The Bachelor is indeed a path to love for completely normal people like you! The second being Molly and Jason, even though technically Jason didn’t choose Molly first and only realized his love for her after he chose someone else, but who cares about details when love is in the air?) Chris Harrison is hosting, roses are everywhere and love is in the air, so let’s get on with JP and Ashley’s lavish all-expenses paid wedding!
Here’s how the path of rose petals lead to love for Ashley and JP:
Biggest Lie Said with a Straight Face: Chris Harrison introduces the night’s festivities by reminding us that The Bachelor is the a pathway to Meaningful Lifelong relationships. Chris then hilariously adds that The Bachelor has lead to many happy committed relationships. As proof of this eye brow-raising fact, he then rattles off a list of second-string Bachelor detritus that only the most ardent Bachelor watcher would even recognize. I’ve watched every season of this show since the dawn of time (DON’T YOU JUDGE ME!) and I only recognized two names.
Biggest Time Waster (So Far!): If you wonder how Ashley and JP’s magical wedding can take up two hours of primetime television, it’s done by starting at the Big Bang and moving forward in slow motion from our ancestors evolution from primordial ooze to homo sapiens to Ashley and JP setting a wedding date and celebrating that momentous occasion with their families. By the time the happy couple dropped the bombshell that they would be getting married in California, I’m sure we all fell off the edge of our seats.
Best Spin-Off Idea: Ashley and JP had taken so long to set a date, that by the time they gathered their family together and Ashley announces, “We do have some really, really special news, and we wanted to share it with you guys first,” someone begins chanting, “Pregnant! Pregnant! Pregnant!” JP confesses it’s him, and as much as we would like to see that Bachelor spin-off with Chris Harrison serving as OB/GYN and mohel, JP is kidding. Sad emoticon face.
Best Sibling Rivalry: When Ashley’s sister first met JP in Fiji, she told him that she didn’t think he was a good fit for her perennially perky sister. So when she raises a glass at the aforementioned family gathering, Ashley locks and loads her eye lasers and levels them at her sister. Luckily she only wants to make public note that she was wrong about JP and loves him like a brother, now.
Let the Wedding Planning Begin: Obviously JP and Ashley can’t plan a wedding for nine bridesmaids, two flowergirls and a little dog too, all on their own. So they turn to a professional named Mindy who inputs the couples’ preferred colors, patterns and cake flavors and outputs a pitch perfect made-for-TV wedding. Not that Ashley and JP could complain because the whole lavishly appointed affair is free free free!
Best Trip Down Memory Lane: Way back when The Bachelor’s traveling road show was in Taiwan (a year and a half ago!) Ashley and JP had to dress up as a bride and groom at a photo shoot. While it was awkward at the time, now it’s a precious memory and a symbol that they were meant to be.
The Big Reveal: Ashley brought her future mother-in-law and sister to her final dress fitting. The fitted white dress with cut-out back and mermaid flare brought tears to the eyes of JP’s mom and even got the nod of approval from Ashley’s sister. But, of course, it was the dress designer who rushed in to give Ashley a hug for blessing her with the best marketing ever.
Suck It, Harry Winston: Neal Lane, The Bachelor’s resident jeweler, flies around the globe proffering diamonds to chuckleheads about to get on one knee and propose to someone they just met on a reality show. Despite what Chris Harrison would have you believe, the vast majority of those relationships fizzle and Neal Lane is out of a diamond. While Neal’s name is untarnished by these failed romances, when it does work, and a wedding ring is actually needed, you bet Neal Lane is there with his roguishly unbuttoned shirt and the lopsided grin of a marketing savvy businessman.
(MORE: The Bachelorette Watch: Emily Maynard Meets Her 25 Boyfriends)
Lamest Advice: At the wedding venue, Chris Harrison takes a moment with former Bachelor Jason, who has his former runner up turned pregnant wife Molly with him. Chris recommends they name their unborn child after him; they agree, but only if ABC pays for the birth. Just kidding, I hope! Jason tells upcoming Bachelor Sean that his best advice is to “follow his heart.” Thanks, Jason for your fortune cookie’s worth of advice.
Best Party Prop: Since The Bachelor has no boundaries and they still need to fill an hour, we get to tag along as Ashley and JP head off to their bachelor and bachelorette parties in beautiful Scottsdale. No need for invoking the solemn “what happens in Scottsdale, stays in Scottsdale” vow, because the throwdowns look as chaste as Kate Middleton’s hen party. Highlights = JP’s face glued onto Ashley’s nail during a manicure. Lowlights = Ashley pole dancing.
Second Best Party Prop: Chris Harrison is officiating the wedding! It’s hard to say whether ABC is cheaping out or whether Ashley and JP really are the luckiest couple in the world. Chris does not take his responsibilities lightly, though, and forces Ashley and JP to get Pre-Marital Counseling Lite with him, in a garden, on television. He asks them tough questions like how many kids they are going to have and when they will start trying and whether they will be spending the night in the fantasy suite.
Time to Rethink Officiant Choice: JP and Ashley asked Chris Harrison to officiate because they consider him less of a reality show host and more of a friend. He thanks them for bestowing the honor on him by publicly grilling them about whether or not they’re ready for marriage. It’s not too late to make party planner Mindy find a minister, too!
Practice Makes Perfect: In a feeble attempt at levity and/or living up to the title of Most Romantic Event Ever, Ashley and JP practice what kind of kiss they’re going to plant on each other at the altar. Ashley wants one long one, JP wants two short ones. I just want to Purell my eyes.
Time Wasting Ahoy: Next up is Ashley’s bridal brunch, which is a tradition born out of the need to waste more time on national television. Ashley and her bridal party toast each other with mimosas, while JP stares meaningfully out into the distance, only pausing his brooding long enough to expound on his love of Ashley.
Let the Waterworks Commence: JP sends Ashley a pre-marital present (that’s not a euphemism) that makes her weep hysterically. It’s a charm bracelet with charms that represent their time together, including a tooth and a rose which sounds like a discarded lyric from a Seal song.
The Big Event: Chris Harrison takes his position (under the chupah made of roses, natch), then waits as JP’s parents walk him down the aisle. Ashley’s sister gets the honor of holding Boo, the couple’s Yorkie. As Ashley walks down the aisle on the arms of two men to the updated strains of “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” both she and JP hold back tears.
Best Audience Members: As the camera pans over the audience, we see that ABC has trotted out their symbols of lifelong fidelity and good life choices namely: Ali! Roberto! Jillian! Emily! And soon-to-be Bachelor Sean Lowe!
Most Solemn Promise: During the ceremony, Chris asks the audience to rise and makes them all solemnly promise to help the couple succeed in their vows and their marriage. Can’t wait to see former Bachelorette Emily throw herself between Ashley and an attractive man at some Bachelor reunion in the future!
Biggest Mystery: Did JP not bother shaving or did he sprout a five o’clock shadow during taping?
At Long Last: After one year, six months and two long hours, Chris Harrison finally pronounces JP and Ashley husband and wife and they get to kiss. Awww. As they head to their reception, and the strains of Hava Nagilah ring out, we head to previews of the upcoming season of The Bachelor.
See you on Jan. 7 when the new season of The Bachelor starts. Don’t worry — there’s still time to get really into ham radio operating so you don’t have time to watch!