The Countdown

updated 12/15/2003 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/15/2003 01:00AM

For Trista Rehn, reality TV bride-to-be, it finally hit her a few weeks ago. She was in Fort Lauderdale, taking part in the wedding of her friend Missy Zambelli. "I did a reading and I was shaking," recalls Rehn, 31, who'll have Zambelli as a bridesmaid when she exchanges vows with Ryan Sutter, 29, this week. "I think I'm getting nervous that I'm going to be nervous."

With just hours to go before the wedding, Rehn keeps the willies at bay by keeping her mind focused on one thing: her groom. "All that matters to her is their making their vows to one another," says maid of honor Sara Flood. "The production is almost an afterthought to her at this point." Which isn't to say there wasn't heavy decision-making, given a lavish budget that's somewhere in the seven figures—big enough to walk both Olsen twins down the aisle. "Never ever would I have been able to afford this," says Rehn, a former physical therapist. Although producers are supervising the logistics for the wedding, which airs on ABC Dec. 10, "we decided the cake, and I've decided my dress," says Rehn, who'll wear Badgley Mischka. "Ryan selected the tuxedos [Kenneth Cole]. We picked the venue. Everything down to the favors and what gifts we'd be giving the bridesmaids and the groomsmen has been our decision."

Fortunately, they've been able to do it without much squabbling. Despite publicity brouhaha about Rehn's passion for pink and Sutter's distaste for it, the two never really bickered about the color scheme. "For a wedding I was willing to concede," says Sutter. "It would be different if she were planning a world wrestling event." Besides, notes Sutter's friend and manager Sadler Merrill, 29, "Ryan's color-blind. He doesn't know what pink is! One time in high school, he brought some blue jeans to the counter and they were red."

They've also agreed on one final wedding detail: Even though they already have a home near Vail, Colo., bride and groom will sleep in separate suites the night before their big day. "I'm superstitious and don't want to see him past midnight," says Rehn. "No sneaking! He can't come over to say 'Hi.' I'm not answering the door. It's not going to happen."

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