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Trista & Ryan: One Year Later

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One year and thousands of miles from their $4 million heard-round-the-world I dos, Trista and Ryan Sutter celebrated their first anniversary in far quieter fashion: “We were on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic,” says Trista, whose December 2003 wedding was seen by more than 17 million TV viewers. “I had fallen asleep, and when I woke up, I saw Ryan had put a card in the pocket in front of my seat. It was this nice little note from my husband.” Says Ryan: “I wanted Trista to know that I remembered and that it’s important to me.”

So much for the cynics. Now in the second year of their made-for-TV romance, the former Bacheloretteand her groom seem as smitten as ever. “It’s been so busy, but we feel so blessed and lucky,” says Trista, 32. And the cameras are never far away: In 2004 Trista shot a TV newsmagazine pilot while her firefighter husband, 30, took time off to compete on Fear Factor and in the Ironman Triathlon. Even that plane ride, in fact, was the first leg in a 9,700-mile journey to South Africa’s exclusive Ulusaba Lodge to shoot a segment of Trista and Ryan’s Honeymoon Hotspots, a two-part vacation special that begins airing Feb. 13 on the Travel Channel. Their stay at the exotic-game preserve “was by far the coolest thing we’ve done all year,” says Trista. When not spotting hippos, impalas, elephants and lions, the pair indulged in five-star meals and romantic side-by-side massages—with occasional intrusions from the local wildlife. “Baboons showed up at the end of the massage on the porch and wanted to play hide-and-seek,” says Trista. “That kind of took us out of relaxation mode, but it was very funny.” Ryan, meanwhile, was struck by the friendliness of the villagers. “These people have such simple lives,” he says. “There’s not a lot of television or cars, and yet they’re so happy. It makes you rethink your priorities.” One priority for 2005: starting a family. “We’re hoping to get pregnant this year,” says Trista. “I hate to say that because I’d hate for something to go wrong, but we’ll see.” For the holidays, though, “we’re just going to chill out” at home in Vail, she says. “We are not getting on any more planes.”

Mike Lipton. Bryan Alexander in London