Bachelor Wedding: Inside the Alum-Studded Nuptials of Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert
Kaitlyn! Chris! Andi! The franchise's beloved favorites came to celebrate the newlyweds
It was a wedding that would have made any member of Bachelor Nation dizzy with excitement.
Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert’s Jan. 24 nuptials at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in California brought out dozens of franchise faves to help celebrate.
On hand were former Bachelors and Bachelorettes, including Trista and Ryan Sutter, Chris SoulesAndi Dorfman, Kaitlyn Bristowe and Ben Higgins – plus more than a few memorable contestants (Clare Crawley and Michelle Money came, as did Nick Viall and Ashley Iaconetti). They were entertained at the ceremony with a performance by Matt Nathanson.
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“I owe a lot to ABC,” Tolbert tells PEOPLE with a laugh. “And to Kaitlyn [for whom he competed on The Bachelorette]. It’s a weird chain reaction. A lot of Dominos had to fall to get us to this point.”
Adds Roper, “There are people that I watched on TV, like Trista, and it’s crazy that she’s at my wedding!”
Says Trista, whose 2003 TV wedding to Ryan garnered more than 26 million viewers, “We talked to Jade and Tanner. We told them, it’s stressful, but enjoy it and take it all in. We’re so proud and honored to be a part of it.”
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“This is an incestual web of exes,” joked Dorfman of attending the wedding alongside Soules and Viall. “I don’t really talk to any of them except for Chris, because he’s right here!”
Soules revealed he had some nerves of his own about attending the wedding of an ex (Roper competed for his love on The Bachelor). “I thought it would be weird,” he said. “But it’s not. This wedding makes me hopeful for love.”
Former Bachelor Jason Mesnick (whose own wedding to Molly aired on TV in 2010 – remember the downpour during the ceremony?) shared a warm embrace with his ex – and former Bachelorette – Jillian Harris.
“I haven’t seen her in so long!” he exclaimed. (Mesnick himself was a contestant on Bachelorette DeAnna Pappas Stagliano‘s season – she was there too!)
If you’re keeping track, Bristowe wins the ex tally. The former Bachelorette, who attended with fiancé Shawn Booth, celebrated alongside Higgins, Viall, Jared Haibon, JJ Lane and Ben Zorn. (Of course the groom, Tolbert, was on her season too).
During the reception, former Bachelors Bob Guiney and Andrew Firestone (along with Guiney’s fiancée Jessica Canyon and Firestone’s wife Ivana) bonded with host Chris Harrison and the Sutters. Guiney played along, mock grimacing as Lane playfully poked fun at the senior Bachelor alums (In a toast, Lane told the crowd, “My mom had a crush on [Bob] when she was a teenager”).
On the dance floor, Bachelor alums mixed and mingled to the tunes of Seal, who gave a memorable live performance. Viall grooved with Money, and Soules nobly took both Iconetti and her sister Lauren for a spin.
Champagne was flowing all night – save for a few notable abstainers. Former Bachelorettes Ali Fedotowsky and Stagliano are both pregnant (due in July and in a few weeks, respectively) and contestant alums Erica Rose and Ashley Salter (she of the onion fame) are also expecting.
• For exclusive photos and much more from Jade and Tanner’s wedding, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday
“I’m sick,” said Fedotowsky, who attended the wedding with fiancé Kevin Manno. “But I can’t take any medicine because I’m pregnant!”
It didn’t stop her from having fun – and joining plenty of alums in taking playful snaps in the reception’s photo booth. (Tuxedo-clad Ben Higgins joked that he didn’t have a date and proceeded to pose with an imaginary lady on his arm!)
It was after 3 a.m. when the final stragglers left the dance floor, capping off an epic celebration of true love found in the most atypical of circumstances. “The cool part about this wedding is it’s a lot of different people from different experiences coming together,” says Higgins. “We’re all here to honor love and that is a really incredible thing.”
The Bachelor at 20: A Celebration of Love airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.