Parkston native filmed for WE TV series ‘Bridezillas’In high school, Daphne (Sparks) Luikens was a drama queen. Or so the Parkston native says. Her ability to overreact and over-exaggerate was the reason her best friend recommended she audition for the popular WE reality television series “Bridezillas.”
By: Jennifer Jungwirth, The Daily Republic
In high school, Daphne (Sparks) Luikens was a drama queen.
Or so the Parkston native says. Her ability to overreact and over-exaggerate was the reason her best friend recommended she audition for the popular WE reality television series “Bridezillas.”
“I moved my wedding date from July to June just to be on the show,” Luikens said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and the show matches my personality.”
In its eighth season, “Bridezillas” follows the lives of brides-to-be, centering on their hectic and often drama-filled schedules a week before they say “I do.” Luikens’ episode airs at 8 p.m. Sunday.
“Daphne stood out to us for many reasons,” said Suzanne Gladstone, executive president of WE TV, “not the least of which were the 100 or so e-mails from her to our casting department detailing her wedding stress.”
Additionally, Gladstone said, Luikens is pretty, a former sharpshooter and was in the military.
Gladstone added that the casting department looks for brides who not only have wedding stress, but “take it to the next level.”
“Every bridezilla is different — some cry over the smallest slight, some go from zero to screaming in the blink of an eye and others are just making everyone else crazy with their endless demands,” she said.
Luikens’ military experience, coupled with her sharpshooting accomplishments, made her stick out as a “go-getter and a stickler for detail,” which Gladstone said are “Bridezilla” characteristics.
In addition, Luikens, who lives in Delton, Ga., with her husband, planned her Parkston wedding 1,200 miles away via e-mails and phone calls, which doubled her stress.
“My wedding changed so many times,” said Luikens of her theme. “It was kind of a smorgasbord. It was all Asian, then did only Asian bridesmaid dresses and I don’t even know — I didn’t even have a theme in the end.”
She returned to Parkston a week before her wedding. The camera crew followed her to various appointments, including the caterer, to get her wedding license and to one unforgettable hair appointment, where Luikens kicked out bridesmaids.
“It’s a good way to test your friends. It made me realize who my friends were by the ones who stayed by my side,” she said.
“I lost a couple of my bridesmaids. If it wasn’t about them, it was about making my life h—-. They were ruining a fun evening. So I had to kick them out.”
The constant filming was challenging, Luikens said, not only to her but to family and friends involved in the ceremony.
“Obviously, in your normal life, you’re not used to having a camera crew with you. You’d have interviews at random moments. It’s definitely real and they don’t set up anything,” she said.
Although Luikens admits to her dramatic ways, she’s nervous to see how she has been portrayed.
“I have mixed feelings,” she said of her upcoming episode. “It was a good experience. If I could redo it, I would. But I’m nervous and anxious to see how it turned out.
“When I have my freak-out moments, I’m nervous to watch. I know I’ll be embarrassed,” she said.
And she wants the audience to know that she’s not always so high strung.
“That doesn’t mean I’m a bridezilla all the time. I’m one of the most spunky people you’ll ever meet, though,” she said.
She said planning a wedding 1,200 miles away and the added stress with cameras would transform any bride into a “Bridezilla.”
Gladstone said there was nothing fake about Luikens:
“Daphne was a natural — this is definitely Daphne in her natural state.”
After the cameras stopped filming, Luikens only has one regret:
“I feel like I know I was myself and that if I am portrayed as being a bridezilla and drama queen, that’s my own fault,” Luikens said. “I shouldn’t have taken wedding planning so lightly in the beginning. That’s my only regret.
“I just hope when people watch the show and before they judge me, realize the situation I was in. I was told that I was way out of hand and I should have said or done (some things).”
She admits to judging brides on previous episodes she’s watched.
“I definitely judged them. I’d think, ‘That girl was so rude’ or, ‘Why is she like that? If I was that groom, I’d run away.’ Now since I was in their shoes, I completely understand why she was that way. You have to walk a mile in that bride’s shoes to realize why she’s doing what she’s doing.”