Edwards couple tieing the knot tonight on TV | AspenTimes.com

Edwards couple tieing the knot tonight on TV

J.K. PerryVail correspondent
Gail and Rob Macfarland were chosen by the Travel Channel to go on a trip to South Africa and get married. (Preston Utley/Vail Daily)

EDWARDS – When the Travel Channel selected Rob McFarland for a vacation to South Africa, the former bachelor didn’t know the television producers meant for him to get married.Gail McFarland managed to enter her significant other into “Trip of a Lifetime,” a television show whose producers select travelers to vacation at destinations around the globe. Gail, a South African native living in Edwards, wanted Rob to meet her family across the Atlantic Ocean, but bills from three major surgeries on Rob’s back kept the two from traveling.Gail works at the Eagle River Fire Protection District and Rob at the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District.While awaiting wrist treatment at her physical therapist earlier this year, Gail picked up a magazine and saw an advertisement to win a dream vacation filmed by the Travel Channel. She memorized the website and weeks later nominated Rob to vacation in South Africa.Rob didn’t know. And the nominating application mentioned marriage.”I picked South Africa because I lived there and Rob had never been there,” Gail said. “I wanted him to meet my brother and family before we got married.”Travel Channel producers called in the spring and told Gail they were considering the couple, but first they needed a video of Rob. Gail wanted to keep him in the dark, so she conspired with a friend to get the video.The friend told Rob his daughter needed to interview a Grand Junction native for a class project on Colorado geography. Gail got the video, and Rob was none the wiser.The television producers picked Rob and Gail to go to South Africa, but Gail again needed to dupe Rob. They wanted to marry the two, who’d already planned to get hitched that July in Las Vegas. Gail convinced Rob the wedding needed to be canceled. She said her out-of-state friend couldn’t make the wedding because she’d been in a bike accident and needed surgery.Rob took the bait.”I wouldn’t say gullible; he’s just very trusting,” Gail said.Rob found out about the vacation during a surprise birthday party at a local restaurant. When he approached, he noticed a camera and sign reading anyone who entered agreed to be filmed.Clad in a stained, sweaty sweatshirt and denim shorts, Rob snuck in. He looked to the left, right and saw friends and Gail.”Everybody said ‘Surprise’ and I went ‘Holy crap’,” Rob said.A strange woman, the host of “Trip of a Lifetime,” confronted Rob.”That’s when I knew I was on a TV show,” he said.But he didn’t know which.”Please tell me I’m not on what not to wear,” he said to the strange woman.He wasn’t, and the two left for South Africa in late July. On day five of filming, the camera crew brought the couple to a hilltop and told them they had two hours to get ready for their wedding. Unbeknownst to Rob, the producers flew his brother and father to the wedding. When Rob approached the altar, they greeted him.”That was way cool,” Rob said. “It was probably one of the best things I took back.”The couple were married with Gail’s family in attendance and a group of wildlife preserve rangers ringing the hilltop to stave off wild predators.”I told my mom a few years ago I wanted to get married on a game reserve,” Gail said. “I’m not your typical church wedding person.”

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