Photo courtesy of TLC.
Evelyn McSwain tries on a wedding dress while shopping during the filming of TLC’s I Found the Gown.
In her first year and a half of marriage in 2004, Evelyn McSwain only saw her husband for a total of two weeks.
As their wedding had approached, the couple received news U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kevin McSwain would be redeployed. So, to have more time together as a married couple, they tossed their plans out the window and chose a courthouse union.
Evelyn tried to organize a wedding for their five-year anniversary in 2009, but that didn’t work out either. Kevin was deployed again.
“You know when you want something so bad, but you don’t want to be disappointed,” she said. “That’s how I left.”
Then, last summer while on a work trip in California, Kevin called and asked Evelyn about having a wedding. She was elated.
At long last, the couple will walk down the aisle Feb. 21, 2014 — six days before their 10-year anniversary.
“I told him it was not going to be a party,” McSwain said. “It was going to be how I wanted it the first time: bridesmaids, groomsmen, dresses – the whole thing.”
A fan of wedding reality shows, McSwain’s dream wedding includes an appearance on a wedding show. She applied to all the ones she watches, and her wish came true to be on TLC’s I Found the Gown.
In January, she and three of her eight bridesmaids, daughter Moeshia Miles, sister-in-law Christina McSwain and friend Reshunda Gilbert, flew to Watertown, Mass., to shop at Vows Bridal Outlet for the show.
As is often on the case on the show, finding the right gown came with the price of opinions.
“I definitely didn’t like one gown, and I was not afraid to say so,” Miles said.
McSwain said it was a little challenging not to take the critiques personally and to remain positive. Being criticized in a gown and how she looked in it brought doubts about her body image. But after four gowns and six hours of filming, including retakes and side interviews, McSwain found a Casablanca beaded ball gown 60 percent off retail price and knew it was the one.
“I walked out and broke down and cried like a baby,” McSwain said. “The reality hit me in that moment, ‘We’re really doing this. This is your dress.’”
The McSwains have invited 150 guests to the Hyatt Regency Birmingham-The Wynfrey Hotel for their vow renewal ceremony.
“I’m really glad she’s finally getting a wedding,” Miles said. “Good things are happening, and she deserves everything that’s coming to her.”
TLC’s I Found the Gown episode featuring McSwain will air May 10 at 9 p.m.