Jason Mesnick and his fiancee, Molly Malaney, both participants in last year's "The Bachelor" series on ABC, offered some simple advice for anyone who might be considering appearing on a reality show.
"Have fun," Mr. Mesnick said. "There are no guarantees that you will fall in love or even be the one chosen, so the best advice is to have fun."
Ms. Malaney agreed.
"I thought I would be the first one off of the show," she said. "Obviously, it worked out for me."
The two were in town Sunday for Formal Affair, A Bridal & Event Expo, sponsored by the Chattanooga Times Free Press. The city's largest bridal event was at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Mr. Mesnick, who was the featured guest, handed out flowers and posed for photographs.
The couple will wed on ABC sometime soon, but they are not allowed to say when, according to Ms. Malaney. People magazine reports the wedding will take place on March 8, however.
The second annual Formal Affair featured more than 120 vendors who offered everything from honeymoon opportunities to photography and catering for future brides and grooms.
"We were excited to see so many people here today," said Jason Taylor, president and general manager of the Times Free Press. He said the event, expanded for 2010, drew thousands of visitors.
Mr. Mesnick lives in Seattle with his son, Ty, where he has become an advocate for single parents. He created JasonsPlace.com, an online support community.
Mr. Mesnick, who lived in Knoxville for four years as a child, said people who appear on reality shows are generally looking for an adventure. He added that becoming a contestant on a television show comes with a price.
"You have to understand that if you have any skeletons in your closet, you should be very wary because people will go looking for them," he said.
Sponsors of Formal Affair included Sheraton Read House, Rone Regency, Choo Choo Travel, Gil & Curt and BMW of Chattanooga.