They're back! After last year's hugely successful The Wedding Veil trilogy, Alison Sweeney (above center), Autumn Reeser (left) and Lacey Chabert (right) return to Hallmark Channel this weekend as the network unveils the first of three new movies in the ongoing series.
The Wedding Veil Expectations picks up sometime after the previous installment, with Avery (Chabert) and her husband Peter (Kevin McGarry) realizing that renovating the older home they'd purchased is a bigger task than originally thought. Thankfully Avery has the constant support of her best friends Emma (Reeser) and Tracy (Sweeney), who are just a video chat or visit away. As the newlyweds start actively planning a family, Avery's mother-in-law Grace (Karen Kruper) might have found a reason for everyone to reconnect with that antique magical veil, as things heat up between her and a former beau.
For Sweeney, who is no stranger to successful Hallmark Media franchises, reuniting with two of her real-life best friends and continuing the journey of these three women was something she couldn't wait to do. While she knew they were onto something special making the first three installments, she didn't know how successful the movies would be. "We [all] were just thrilled to get to do it [once]," she said during an exclusive interview with MediaVillage. "Lacey came up with this great idea, and I never imagined that it would have the future that it did. I really believed the fans would like it because sometimes you have that feeling when reading a script and are like, 'I would watch this!' Then you hope the fans will feel the same way.
"Getting to hear they wanted three more was so exciting," she continued. "We were thrilled, as you can imagine, and immediately everyone started diving into, 'What should we do? How should it go?' Everyone started pitching ideas. When Lacey first developed the idea, it started with, 'Oh, we should make a movie out of it.' Then people wanted to make more [and] you're thinking, 'Okay, what should happen next?' Everyone was brainstorming ideas, and it was such a collaborative experience."
In addition to serving as an executive producer on her installment of the new trilogy (airing January 21), and also having a supporting role in each film, the prospect of really developing a character and going beyond one story was something Sweeney found enticing. "There's something so fun about getting to play a supporting role in each other's movies," she said. "You can really give your character that little flair that helps the audience remember why they loved [them]. Just being sprinkled throughout in a way is different from when you're starring in it. You have an opportunity to sort of warm up your character in each other's movies and that's really a lot of fun, as is really getting to develop a character in your movie."
A character trait of Tracy's (Sweeney) is that of the three leads, she was the most skeptical when it came to "the power of the veil." Despite actually finding her true love, she's still not 100% on board. "We have honored Tracy's skepticism throughout the movies," Sweeney laughed. "But she's still skeptical and still resistant. I think part of it is that she likes being the skeptical one. She loves torturing her friends with how she's resistant to the power of the veil.
"For my movie we're picking up with a little time passing after Tracy's wedding in The Wedding Veil Legacy," she added. "Life has gone on for these three women. We explain right away that Avery took the veil back to put together a museum exhibit. So that sort of gets the veil rolling with the veil in transit to San Francisco. My story is a little different in that Nick (Victor Webster) and Tracy have been married for three years and are settled in New York life. They both realize they're in a bit of a rut, so they get the honeymoon they never took and have an adventure. We actually filmed in Greece, which was spectacular, and an amazing opportunity."
Another amazing opportunity these movies affords Sweeney is the chance to reconnect with Chabert and Reeser, who have all become closer with each film. "We were close before and now it's deeper," she shared. "We've had the most meaningful [times] together doing these, and you get to know someone so well when you're traveling, or when you're exhausted and it's 2:00 o'clock in the morning. There's such trust that we have with each other and confidence. We all have this lovely ebb and flow where we can support each other in the way we work and be there for each other."
Believe it or not, despite her character's skepticism regarding the veil, it too has become a good friend. "You get very protective of the veil," she admitted. "I was so nervous when traveling through Europe! It was like, 'Who has the veil? Who's caring for it? Who is protecting it and making sure that it's safe? We have to protect the veil at all costs!' I would literally take a bullet for the veil if needed."
As for more Wedding Veil stories, should they happen, everyone involved is completely prepared for the next time. "We were all just brainstorming ideas of what we could do," she admitted in closing. "Just in case they call us saying they want more, we are ready for anything and can go, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom."
The Wedding Veil Expectations, the first installment of the next Wedding Veil trilogy, will be telecast Saturday, January 7, at 8 p.m. on Hallmark Channel.
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