CLAXTON - Everyone will get a chance Friday to watch the wedding of Claxton's Chase and Tina Sutton when it airs on the CMT Network as an episode of "My Big Redneck Wedding."
The outdoor wedding featured a "road kill" theme, including a number of mounted animals lining the aisle, stuffed by the groom himself. While guests found their seats on hay bales, the wedding party rode in on four wheelers, and the bride and groom said their vows under an antler studded archway.
Thanks to maid-of-honor Patty Byles, the couple was selected for the CMT reality show after she submitted their story for consideration.
"I went online one night, and the company's CEO called the next morning," said Byles.
The producers loved Chase and Tina, and they were "in" right away, she said.
It wasn't long before the show's camera crew showed up at their front door.
"They spent the whole week of Thanksgiving filming," said the bride, Tina Sikes Sutton, then came back at the end of December for the start of the wedding festivities.
Planning everything was extremely fast-paced, said Byles, with a time frame of seven weeks.
"The wedding wasn't so much ‘redneck' as it was country," Tina Sutton said.
Being country or "redneck" is about knowing your roots, she said. "It's about mud and 4-wheel drives."
Sutton said the producers were looking for "redneck classy, not redneck trashy." And that's why they liked our ideas for the wedding, said Byles, because they fit that description.
Sutton didn't always envision her tailor-made camouflage wedding gown or her squirrel cake topper. In fact, she didn't really envision getting married at all.
Although Chase and Tina were engaged for a while, the two still had not set a date, Byles said.
"Tina was happy just being engaged," said Byles.
But Chase was happy the show helped push Tina down the aisle, since he proposed to her three times, Byles said.
"He fell in love when he found out I drive race cars," Tina Sutton said.
Tina showed up for their first date wearing shorts and snake boots, and she said, "we've been together ever since."
While no one else could have convinced Tina to take the leap into marriage, Chase was a match for her, and his love for hunting, fishing and taxidermy are just a few of the things that hooked Tina, as well.
Chase held things together on the big day, he said, and came to the rescue during several wedding-day mishaps. From setting up hay bales to stuffing the squirrel bride and groom that adorned the cake, Chase made sure the day ran smoothly.
On Jan. 1, 2011, at 1 p.m. the ceremony began with a shotgun salute by the bride's father, Gilbert Sikes, before giving her away.
Chase and Tina's son, Hunter shared ring bearer duties with pit bull dog, Bean, while family friend Tony Lewis became ordained just for the occasion, perching in a tree stand to fulfill his role as officiant.
After the ceremony, family and friends enjoyed participating in festivities such as fruit cake chunking and a demolition derby.
Friends and family are throwing viewing parties for Friday night's show, said Sikes, which airs at 9 p.m.
But the episode's airing may not be the end of the spotlight for the Suttons. Tina said she still has several radio interviews and may be involved in another CMT special called "redneck reunion" in an attempt to help a family member rediscover her roots.