Alison Sweeney certainly takes her work seriously.
So much so that the Hallmark star not only shone in The Wedding Veil Journey and the five other related movies in the recent series, she also forged life-long bonds with her co-stars Lacey Chabert and Autumn Reeser.
In the third movie of the sequel trilogy, Tracy (Alison Sweeney) is the head of her auction house and her husband Nick (Victor Webster) is looking to expand her very successful restaurant.
But success has a price, and the loving couple has had so little time together that they have yet to decide where to take their long overdue honeymoon.
When they finally settle on heading to Greece, they end up staying on a beautiful, secluded island at a fledgling inn run by a sister and brother. When they meet guests of the hotel and a charming boy from a nearby boarding school, the enchanted veil – and the power of friendship and love – continue to weave their magic.
Sweeney is best known for her years on Days of Our Lives, as well as Hallmark’s Chronicle Mysteries and the Hannah Swenson Mysteries.
Chabert and Reeser have each made many Christmas and holiday-themed Hallmark movies and along with Sweeney, are considered Hallmark leading ladies.
Monsters & Critics: I loved all six of the Wedding Veil movies and if there were more, I would watch them.
Alison Sweeney: Well, I hope there are. That would be great fun.
M&C: Why did you decide to make these movies?
Certainly, the opportunity to work with Lacey and Autumn was very high on the list. Normally that’s not the way these movies are set up; there’s kind of one female lead. The idea that it was focused on the friendship between these three women was extremely attractive to me. I loved the opportunity.
M&C: Were you friends with them beforehand?
Lacey and I have known each other for a long time. Autumn and I sort of became better friends over the course of the filming. It’s so funny how these movies have really brought us closer together as really good friends.
M&C: Do you think in real life you would ever believe in the magic or the legend of something? Not necessarily a wedding veil, but something like that?
Well, it’s funny because I am very superstitious. Maybe it’s the Irish in me but we tend to believe in trying to avoid bad luck rather than necessarily seeking good luck.
But I love the story of the veil because it’s a positive good luck story. I’ll be honest, I am very superstitious and I definitely follow all those little knock on wood and throw salt over my shoulder. I am a sucker for all that, unlike my character. My 13-year-old daughter, Megan, is like Tracy, she doesn’t believe in anything like that.
M&C: How did you see Tracy? How did you relate to her?
I love Tracy. I love the matter-of-factness about her and the deadpan quality that she has is something I love and related to. Also, one of my dearest friends is a New Yorker and so I drew on her a lot for this character because she’s sort of that no-nonsense city girl type and Tracy has a lot of those qualities that I think are just really honoring the spirit of a true New Yorker. I wanted to celebrate that in this character.
M&C: Did you do much research on Tracy’s work life as the auction house director?
I looked around on the internet a little bit for what that world is like. I talked to the writers a little bit about that and the producer really helped me understand who she is in that space. But mostly I relied on the writers to help craft that aspect of her for me.
M&C: What did you enjoy about working again with your longtime friend Victor Webster who played your boyfriend-turned-husband, Nick?
Well, it was really fun to reunite with Victor because he and I worked together at Days of Our Lives many years ago. It was really fun to see him again and reminisce about the good old days and then tackle these two characters. He and I both have a fondness for the city so that was really fun to kind of enjoy that while developing these characters. Then getting to travel to Greece was just incredible. It was such a beautiful, beautiful location and the adventure of it was spectacular.
M&C: Tell me more about your time in Greece. What did you get to do that we don’t see in the movie?
Well, my husband joined me when we first went to Greece to prepare and undergo the end of prep for the movie. He and I had the opportunity to explore the old town a little bit and see some of the ancient ruins and the castle that was there, which was really fun. We searched for some delicious Greek food, too, which is also one of our favorite things to do when he and I travel together. Then he came with me to some of the beautiful locations and we just got to kind of have a mini vacation in between filming the scenes, which was great fun. I thoroughly enjoyed that.
Then also the same is true with the two girls. It was really cool because the town was really quiet. We were shooting there during the off-season and so we got to just visit with some of the locals and go into some of the shops. So in some ways even though the cameras were on us we did feel like we were traveling together and having a fun adventure together.
M&C: Talk about the whole message of friendship and do you have people in your life who are like Avery and Emma.
I think my favorite part about the movie was capturing the connection between the three of us. But also, in the reaction that I get from the fans when we’re Tweeting about it or I’m reading their comments on the movie, they say they love how everyone relates to one of the three women.
They are quick to say, “That’s me I’m the Avery of my group of friends or I’m the Tracy or my best friend is just like Emma.” I think these women are all so specific and relatable to the audience. It’s really fun to engage with people on that level. Then I just think that’s such an important part of these movies. I feel the same way.
M&C: Do you have best friends in real life with that you have close bonds as these three women do in the Wedding Veil movies?
I do. I have two best friends that I’m really close to and we live all over the country. One of them lives in New York and my other best friend is always traveling around the world. So, we stay in touch with Facetime and just chat over however we can communicate. Then we travel to meet up and see each other wherever we can get together. It’s just so fun to maintain this level of friendship.
I think it’s relevant to what people are dealing with today, especially after everything we’ve been through the last couple of years, to know there are other ways you can connect and stay close to each other without necessarily being in physical proximity the way that we used to rely on.
M&C: I loved what the movies said about their friendship that when they needed each other the most they were there for one another.
Well, what I liked about it was that my friends didn’t have to ask to come to help. It was always the other two who recognized what was needed by the tone of her voice or the fact she was avoiding answering questions and we realized we were needed and we went. It was more the active nature of the friendship that they were proactive about going out to be there for her when she needs a hug rather than having to be asked. Does that make sense?
M&C: What other messages or takeaways did you see from these six movies and the last one?
I think the other really fun part or important part of the Wedding Veil Journey was the relationship between Tracy and Nick. I think there were a lot of self-discoveries in this movie. I think both Tracy and Nick are a bit set in their ways and used to the routine, and sort of happy to go along to get along and not making time or paying attention to each other or making changes. They got married and then just went right back to the way things were, as opposed to treating the relationship as a part of the equation. I think Avery, of course ever the romantic, but also, she was right that the honeymoon was a good change-up.
It gave them the opportunity to rediscover what they love about each other and take time off from their careers and their dedication to what they want to do and figure out how to make all the pieces work together. I think that’s such an important part of a relationship. You don’t just hope it all works out, you have to take time and figure it out. Oftentimes you can solve the problem. It’s not impossible. It’s just that it requires an effort on both parts and I think that was a really important element of the script for this movie. It was really fun to play out a little bit of that trouble and drama and have it resolved.
Also, for Tracy to find out about how important this kid was to her. That she spent her whole life thinking she didn’t want to be a parent, she didn’t want to be a mom. She got used to saying that and got used to thinking that about herself and never questioning. I think Tracy does not do a lot of self-analysis. She’s just going along. Meeting this young boy in this beautiful, romantic location, she finds this adorable kid that has this talent and it changes her. I loved that.
M&C: What was the young artist like to work with?
The young boy, Ché, was fantastic. Oh my gosh, what a cute and talented kid. He’s a British boy who was brought over to Greece after he got the job. He’s been in the West End of London doing musicals and so he just had many great stories to tell about the shows he’s been in. I was really impressed with him. He’s such a nice young man. I know we’re going to see more of him.
M&C: I like that storyline, too. It changed both Tracy and Nick and everything worked out the way we wanted it to.
In some ways, it did work out in a very Hallmark movie kind of way. But at the same time, I really do believe that when you’re on the right path and you’re making the right choices and you’re sort of opening your eyes to what’s in front of you, things do work out. Things do come into place when you allow them to, I feel like when you’re fighting the system the whole time and you’re just trying to – it makes it harder, everything’s harder.
M&C: What does your daughter think of your Hallmark movies?
She loves it. It was so cute, she texted me after Autumn’s movie that her friends watched it and they were wondering when my movie was coming out. It was really cute. It’s hard for her to watch them and enjoy them because I’m in them and she knows all my friends, so it takes her out of it a little bit. But she really loves them and all her friends watch them and appreciate them so it’s cute.
I love that we’re sharing these love stories and these cute little rom-com in a way that kids can watch with their parents and families can watch together. It’s just so fun and modern and interesting and beautiful, the locations are great. But we’re also telling a story that’s great for the whole family to watch together.
M&C: It seems like Hallmark, the whole Hallmark family, and in the ensemble, there are a lot of close friendships as people work together on many movies.
Yes, it does feel that way. We meet up at a lot of different Hallmark events. There are the ChristmasCon-type events but also Hallmark has premiere parties and holiday events and stuff like that. We all are kind of in the same world if that makes sense.
You just get a chance to get to know each other better and communicate and then a lot of the actresses share information about makeup artists and people we want to work with. We all have trust in each other of being able to spread the word on opportunities and different places to work and stuff like that. It does feel like a special community.
M&C: Have you, Lacey, and Autumn talked about if there could be more Wedding Veil movies?
Oh my gosh, are you kidding? The entire time we were out there we were brainstorming pitches just to take to Hallmark. Like we could do a Christmas movie, we could do a travel movie. I think a Christmas movie, like Downton Abbey Christmas special, would be a great idea. We’ll see, but yes, we would love to.
M&C: What are your guilty pleasures?
Well for one, my husband bought me a popcorn machine for Christmas one year and it’s my favorite thing to make that fresh, air-popped popcorn and snuggle up for a good episode of Yellowstone. I love it so much.
M&C: Why do you want my readers to see the last installment and go back and watch all of them if they haven’t seen them already?
I want them to watch it for the fun of it, for the connection with these women and the bond that they share with each other. I feel the movies are so inviting in that way that they’ll bring you into the world like you’re one of our best friends, you’re one of the girls. There’s something about that. When I read a good book, I don’t want it to end, I want to read – like the Harry Potter books, I read them all six times because I just couldn’t get enough of the world and kept reading them again and again.
I feel the same way about these movies, they just draw you into this beautiful world of the friendship of these women who are falling in love, staying in love, and developing families. We want to share that with everyone and encourage them to enjoy it over and over again.
The Wedding Veil Journey premieres on Saturday, January 21, on Hallmark.