There are perks that traditionally accompany a televised Bachelor franchise special. The couple typically receives a handsome compensation for the event, which has previously been the case with Bachelor couple Sean and Catherine Lowe, and inaugural Bachelorette pair and Trista and Ryan Sutter. For Bachelor in Paradise’s Carly Waddell and Evan Bass, the engaged pair graciously received a show producer who doubled as a wedding planner and an officiant in the form of longtime Bachelor host Chris Harrison.
“It was just the natural progression of things,” Bass tells The Knot in an exclusive interview. “When a couple gets together on the show, Chris Harrison is the one to marry you. We’re glad he said yes to doing it.” Harrison wed Bass and Waddell before 60 guests at the Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta resort off Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in June, and their wedding is officially airing Tuesday, August 15, during Bachelor in Paradise.
“I think our wedding was just a lot like us,” Waddell says. “We laughed a lot in our ceremony. We cried. It was full of vibrant colors. It was where we originally fell in love and had our first date. I think it just felt like where we fell in love was where we’re getting married. It just felt a lot like us.”
Bass’ fellow Bachelorette suitor Wells Adams served as one of four groomsmen, while other former franchise faces Jade Tolbert and Juelia Kinney stood in as bridesmaids. “Wells and I had formed a close relationship over the years. He was there for me during The Bachelorette while I was freaking out. and then during Paradise, he came on and the roles reversed,” Bass jokes. “He was like, ‘What’s going on?’”
Harrison, too, may have pulled out a few jokes during the ceremony. “He made a comment about me marrying up,” Bass says. “That rang true…” Meanwhile, his wife chimes in with a firm, “No!”
The couple shared their thoughts with their producer-planner, whose identity remains concealed by ABC. “I made a Pinterest board and we went back and forth with different ideas and what we wanted the colors to be and the flowers,” Waddell adds. “I trusted her and she was the best. It was exactly what we dreamed of. I loved it. It was everything we wanted and more. It was perfect.”
One particular portion of the nuptials was personalized with the addition of an actual shaman. “The shaman who did our second date did a family blessing, so that was really cool. That was the thing that really bonded us. It was a unification bonding for our marriage,” Waddell explains. Her husband adds, “I think that Mexican shaman blessing brought together the uniqueness of it all.”
The bride, who chose a strapless mermaid gown by Idan Cohen, will never forget the groom’s expression while walking down he aisle. “You know when you watch those old cartoons and a beautiful woman walks out and the jaw drops to the floor? I think his jaw expanded and fell to his feet,” she says with a laugh.
“My mind… it was pure shock,” Bass adds. “I never would’ve imagined Carly wearing a dress like that and seeing it and how radiant she looked blew my mind. It was like tunnel vision.”
Since the tropical nuptials—which the couple describes as “magical, vibrant and emotional”—Waddell and Bass have announced that they’re expecting their first child together, a welcome addition to the family, which includes Bass’s three sons, Jason, 16, Liam, 12, and Ensley, 9.
The two say a Queso blanco fountain was the hit the night amongst guests, and the boys “loved” the churros. Their cake of choice? “Funfetti,” says Bass.
His sons all partook in the ceremony with individualized speeches of their own, which won’t be televised. “Each was unique and special,” the proud dad says as he praises Waddell for gracefully transitioning into a household of four men. “I have two older brothers and I hung out with their friends my whole life, so I feel like I’ve been totally surrounded by boys forever,” Waddell says. “The kids are all so accommodating and sweet and caring. They just accepted me right away. We started off small and made breakfast together, and then we moved to dinners and soccer games. It was a gradual progression. We didn’t live together until after the wedding, so the biggest transition has been learning to live with each other.”
Tune in to Carly and Evan’s wedding special on Bachelor in Paradise at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.