Thursday, February 20, 2003

The show is 'Surreal,' but this wedding's real

By Mike Hughes
Gannett News Service

Like many young brides-to-be, Susie Sprague was wading through a sea of details.

Her wedding was seven months away. She had pondered color charts, fabrics, cakes and more.

Then her fiance called with an alternate idea: Why not get married in front of TV cameras?

They did. "It was surreal," she says.

Appropriately, the wedding of Sprague, 20, and actor Corey Feldman, 32, will be shown during the final episode of The Surreal Life (9 p.m. today, Channel 64). In case you've been unconscious, that's the reality series that began airing last month with strong ratings.

After the taping began, the producers urged Feldman to move up his wedding date. The timing may have been contrived, producer David Garfinkle says, but the rest was true. "It was a real wedding; there was a real rabbi."

That's how Susie Sprague-Feldman sees it. She likes TV weddings, anyway.

"I love, love stories," Sprague-Feldman says, "and I love other people's love stories. I watch Wedding Story on TLC and I cry every time. I want people to see my love for this wonderful man."

They had been engaged for eight months, Feldman says, when he took the Surreal Life gig. For 10 days, he and his mismatched roommates stayed at the former Glen Campbell estate.

"She's doing all the (wedding) work," Feldman says of that time. "I actually get no input at all. She's doing colors, she's doing food, she's deciding what the cake's going to look like."

The producers had suggested the idea, drawing instant debate.

Manthey says she tried to talk Feldman out of it. "It's a huge event in your life," she says. "And then to allow someone else to plan it . . . Don't do it. Don't do it. That was my advice."

Surreal Life put up the money, an estimated $100,000, for the rushed event with 150 invited guests. The bride looked spectacular.

"Once I got up there, it was like no one else inhabited the Earth," Sprague-Feldman says. "All I could see was this man I love so much."

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