The Final Episode of The Bachelor - 2004
The first bachelor ever to be chosen by twenty-five women gave his final rose last week to a 36 year-old adventuresome woman who left Cuba when she was only a year-old.
Actually, the handsome, single, successful professional fisherman gave the rose and a ring to his bride-to-be three months ago.
Until Wednesday, November 24th, the couple had to continue their courtship from afar until the airing of ABC's final episode of The Bachelor.
During the two-hour program Byron Paul Velvick introduced the final two contestants to his parents, Byron and Joan.
We watched the fireworks between both couples as Velvick also took Mary and Tanya home to his friends on Lake Mead.
Something About Mary Delgado
Mary Delgado grew up in Tampa, Florida.
A year ago, the former Buccaneers cheerleader was one of twenty-five women selected to be courted by Detroit stockbroker, Bob Guiney, the previous ABC Bachelor. Delgado made it to the final three but in so doing, left the job she had held for seven years at Masonite Corp. in Tampa. As obligations for the show increased, she sacrificed her job, and she risked hurting her family. On November 5, 2003, Guiney did not give Delgado a rose. However, fate had it -- thanks to the producers of the show -- that she would become one of two "bachelorettes" invited to try her luck at love, again.
After participating in the previous Bachelor where Mary was invited to introduce her family to Bob, she was hesitant about hurting them again should Byron not choose her. Mary made the right choice in bringing her non-English speaking parents to meet Byron and his parents.
Fortunately, Byron speaks a bit of Spanish, so - even when Mary stole away for some one-on-one time with Byron's mother - Byron could hold his own with Mary's father, Juan and her mother, Juanita.
The chemistry between the couple was evident during this meeting, even though they sat apart from one another nearly the entire time.
Mary's father, a fisherman in his previous life thirty-five years ago back in Cuba, asked what Byron's true intentions were.
Mary translated the question on behalf of her dad, "Do you want to arrive at something bigger than this?"
Given what we know today, Byron probably would have liked to tell Mary and her family that the something he wants is Mary.
However, the Bachelor refrained and even played a bit coy -- no fishing pun intended.
Byron's response to Mary's parents in front of his own parents was:
This experience has been very difficult. And the only reason I'm in this is to hopefully find the woman I can spend the rest of my life with...a woman unlike any I've ever met and a woman who is -- I don't know how to say "soul mate" in Spanish -- but it's what I'm looking for, and it's what I hope to find.
After Mary translated Byron's answer, Juanita, Mary's mother said, "She's so happy because she sees me with such a big happiness that she hasn't seen in me. What she sees here at this table is something I've been looking for for a long time."
That night after dinner, Byron spoke to his audience.
He said, "Tonight at dinner there was a moment that I looked at Mary and I thought she was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen."
Byron's mother referred to Byron and Mary's meeting as "not an accident."
Byron said he wasn't in trouble when he first met Mary. He said he was pretty happy.
While Byron's friend Mike challenged Mary on her intentions, Byron's other friend, Carrie expressed her love for Mary from two Bachelors ago.
Mary told Byrons friends that there were a number of times she was considering leaving the show. However, the look in Byron's teary eyes and the heartfelt plea to stay, said it all for Mary.
So, she stayed.
Byron's friend, Carrie told the audience, "Everything [Mary] said, completely wiped away all of my worries. I think she is an amazing match for Byron."
During Mary's meeting with Byron's friends, we learned that she takes care of her family in Florida. Mary said she would have a hard time leaving Florida, if that was what was required to be with Byron. Mary said, however, "If I hear a real serious commitment from Byron I'd go anywhere."
When Mike asked if she still had guarded feelings knowing there was another woman in the picture, Mary said as she turned to Byron, "No, because I know that if you don't give me the final rose, I'm going to kick your heart."
After they all had a good laugh, Mike and Mary stepped into another room where Mike challenged Mary. During that brief conversation, Mary obviously assuaged any of Mike's concerns. In a separate one-on-one conversation, our only hint that perhaps Byron would choose Mary over Tanya came from Mike.
Mike told Byron:
This girl Mary, I think she's let her guard down. I think she's 100% into you. I could see you fall in love with this girl.
Byron added, "And she's a great girl" to which Mike affirmed, "And I think she's a great girl. This is a girl you would have a potential with. You've got a hard decision coming up."
After a romantic sunset helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon and the lights of Las Vegas, Mary told the audience, "The Grand Canyon is about the size I'm feeling for him right now."
After the helicopter ride, Byron took Mary on a tour of his house, his boat, his Harley Davidson. Mary said Byron made her feel like she was at home, already.
Toasting Mary with a glass of champagne, Byron said, "Here's to a beautiful day, with a beautiful woman and my closest of friends."
Byron told Mary that she took a big leap of faith to come back to the show. He expressed his confidence in her that she was not there to simply play a game.
In response to Mary's question, "Do you think your life partner is here?" Byron responded, "With either you or Tanya? Ya."
Could it get any more romantic, the look in their eyes?
With the fire crackling in the background and the genuine look of love on their faces, you would have thought that was it. End of story.
But the producers have a sneaky way of bursting the viewers' bubble of hope. Immediately, the camera panned to Byron talking to the audience.
In this outtake Byron said:
It's very hard to not express yourself emotionally with both of these women and tell both Tanya and Mary how you're feeling. I know the final rose ceremony is going to be very difficult. I have to hurt somebody. I have to end a dream for both myself and for them. And that's difficult. That's a hard reality that I have to face.
Before the final rose ceremony, Mary said, "I think this could be the forever for me."
She added as Mary and Byron ended their romantic day and evening together, "I feel like Byron and I could definitely spend our lives together. But there is a possibility that Byron is not feeling the same way that I am -- that I could be all wrong. I was wrong once before."
The Day of Preparation
On the day of the final rose ceremony, a gentleman named Paul with Tacori Jewelers came to Byron's bachelor pad carrying a silver briefcase.
Paul first showed Byron a ring with a round custom-made center and a baguette on each side.
Shaking like a leaf Byron explored which ring to select while questioning whether or not he would make this "leap of faith."
From the looks of it, Byron selected a stunning square shaped diamond.
After looking at a half dozen rings, he said, "That's it. That's the one!"
As the two women dressed and put on their make-up, we learned that Mary was nervous because she was not sure whether or not Byron was sharing the same emotions she was feeling for him.
She said, "If Byron says that he's in love with Tanya and he's not in love with me, I would be absolutely devastated."
Two beautiful women dressed in black. One a blonde wearing a long cut gown in front. One a brunette wearing a long cut gown in back. Two black stretch limos picked them up at their hotel and drove them to their destiny.
Mary, with tears in her eyes, said as she rode in the limo:
I'm feeling very emotional because I'm so overwhelmed with joy, and fear, at the same time.
I really hope that I don't wind up broken-hearted.
I see Byron in my future, and I absolutely want that question asked that I've been waiting for all of my life.
As Byron waited for the girls' arrival, he said:
I'm excited. At the same time, I'm saddened that I have to say goodbye to one of the ladies, as well. In the end, I have to be true to myself and realize although I loved so many things about her, I wasn't in love with her.
My heart tells me that I have found someone very special.
I know that she is better than anything I have ever found before.
It's absolutely a dream come true because I have found someone with whom I could easily spend the rest of my life with.
Mary shared a few last thoughts before arriving at the mansion:
I'm so nervous. I want Byron to propose to me. I want Byron to say that he is so in love with me; that I am his everything.
I am so afraid of getting hurt, but if I have to get hurt to get to the love of my life than it's all worth it. It's absolutely worth it to me. I love him so much.
Byron Tells Tanya She is Not The One
While the audience was led to believe that there was more magic between Tanya and Byron than Byron and Mary during their introductions to family and friends, Byron's face said it all when Tanya came out of the limo and he prepared to either give her the final rose or send her on her way back to Texas.
His game face looked like a man getting ready to say goodbye.
Other than that one shot, his facial expressions and actions were an excellent performance. In fact, those of us watching said, "He's either making it very clear that Tanya is "the one," or he's putting on a very good act."
After a harsh goodbye with Tanya which left us cheering on Mary all the more, Byron stood amidst the candles and flowers in the garden, at the end of a red carpet, waiting to express to Mary that there was something about her he wanted to get to know more, and then some.
Byron's Proposal to Mary
Chris' welcome as Mary arrives at the mansion is the only thing we hear that might give Mary hope. With a raised tone in his voice, he says, "Mary?!" asks how she is doing, and gives her a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
At this moment, we realize how little we have seen of our host, Chris Harrelson throughout this sixth season of The Bachelor. While we have missed his influence on the show, at the same time, we are caught up cheering for what is about to happen to Mary, as Chris leads her to Byron.
Finally, we hear Byron's true feelings.
Mary Approaches Byron
As Mary makes her way to him, we hear Byron tell his audience:
I didn't expect to find Mary.
She's so special.
I'm falling in love with everything I see inside of her.
I know her to be so much more than anything I have found in the past. And I have feelings for her that ring truer and are stronger than anything else I have ever known.
Chris Harrelson wishes Mary good luck.
As she walks toward Byron we hear her voice say:
I am in complete crazy, mad love with him. And I could absolutely see being Byron's wife. If Byron were to ask me to marry him, I would know in my heart that my answer would be, 'yes.'
As the two lock eyes, they both smile at one another.
Mary raises her hands to her cheeks.
Byron greets her with a sensual, "Hola!"
The two lock hands. He wraps his arms around her lower waist while she wraps her arms around his neck. After a tender squeeze, they pull back from one another, and Byron begins to speak to her in Spanish.
He tells her she is "muy bonita" (very beautiful).
She says, "I'm so scared" and laughs a nervous laugh.
He brushes up against her right cheek and whispers, "Don't be scared."
Holding her hands, he asks, "How do you feel?"
She answers confidently, "Better, now that you're near me."
"Are you?" he asks to which she replies, "Yes."
As she looks down at her hands, she says, "I'm still trembling."
He responds by saying:
I noticed. I can see that. I'm so glad you didn't give up. I know you wanted to. I know you wanted out of here. I know you tried to walk away. I'm so glad you didn't.
I can't imagine losing you.
I feel blessed.
I feel that everything that I was looking for is embodied in you.
I didn't know if it was really going to be here, but it's here, and it's you.
And I'm the luckiest guy in the world for that.
Mary, I have fallen so in love with you.
Mary replies in a whisper, "I love you too."
Byron continues, "I can't believe it's happened so fast."
He gently kisses her lips and then goes on:
There is something...
No, there is something, and I thought about one particular thing that I've been struggling with. And I can not, can not...
Struggling for words, Byron takes a deep breath and then tells her, "I need to say this..."
Mary replies, "It's o.k."
He replies, "I can not seeing something happening tonight. I've thought long and hard about it, and there's something I just can not see happening right now."
At this moment, we are all thinking the proposal is not going to happen.
He's in love but not ready to pop the question.
And then he surprises Mary and the millions of people watching them by saying:
You don't know what I'm saying.
I can not see myself spending another minute without you as my wife.
The room erupts.
Mary bursts into tears of joy.
The world stops for this moment of transcendent joy.
Byron gets down on his knee. We are unable to see Mary's face. Her long brown hair is covering her expression but we feel her utter joy and relief.
She raises her hands to her face as Byron reaches into his pocket for the ring.
She bursts into tears as he pulls out the box and opens it.
"Mary," he says. "Mary..."
Now, I wish I spoke Spanish. Even trying to translate wouldn't do his proposal justice. It was heartfelt. It was beautiful. And it was in her native tongue so that her family would understand exactly what he was proposing.
He goes on in English, "I would be honored if you would be my wife."
Uno Momento Interruption
Just as we are getting to Mary's reaction, my Tim comes downstairs and interrupts Byron's proposal.
Tim says to me, "This will just take a second." I say, "Just as long you don't erase Byron's proposal to Mary. I'm almost done sharing this story."
Tim puts a CD in the stereo and cranks up the volume. He has just purchased U2's new album off of iTunes, has burned it to a disk and has brought it downstairs for me to hear.
Vertigo starts, "Uno, dos, tres..." And then we rock out during the moment's intermission.
"One, two, three," I say. "Hello, hello ... you give me something ...
I can feel, feel...
All of this... all of this can be yours ..."
How perfect is this.
This is the beginning for Byron and Mary, and we are watching it.
It's so romantic we can hardly stand it. His face. Her back. The ring.
The thing we are most impressed by is that while he is slipping the ring on her finger, she looks down at it from a distance in almost disbelief. Her focus is on Byron.
The ring is secondary.
She looks at him and we realize this is not a soap opera. This is not a movie.
This is real.
The world is living vicariously through Byron and Mary, for this one moment.
Mary whispers to Byron who is still on his knee, "I love you Byron Paul."
Byron looks up and responds with a smile, "I love you Mary Belle."
Holding his hands and looking down at him, she says in less of a hushed tone, "I want to spend my life with you."
She grabs his hair. He pulls her waist close to him. He wraps his arms around her legs and says, "Oh, my God."
Byron stands up. At last, they are eye-to-eye. Mary tells him again, "I want to spend my whole life with you." He smiles and says to her, "I want to spend our lives together."
He whispers tenderly, "We're going to be together forever. I know this."
She smiles and says, "Ya."
The camera offers us a close-up of the ring on her finger connected to her hand which is wrapped around the back of his neck.
They embrace. We blush. We should not be seeing this.
"Tear check," Tim says. I don't know who is crying more. Me or him.
And this is the second time watching the final episode of The Bachelor.
Mary says to Byron, "I want you to hand me that rose over there."
Byron takes a few steps to his left and picks up the final rose resting on a column near the candles and the flowers surrounding them.
She still has not looked closely at the ring. She remains focused on the moment. She reaches out her hands to take the rose. She looks into his eyes.
This, Mary Delgado, is my final rose. I will honor you, and I will cherish you. I will make you so happy.
Mary responds with a huge smile on her face, "This is finally my fairy tale ending."
They embrace again.
And then we hear Mary's voice say:
I am so excited that I just want to jump into Byron's arms and stay there for the rest of my life. I'm in love with him. I am so in love with Byron.
We watch them kiss and twirl around in the moment.
Byron says, "My wife" to which Mary responds, "My husband."
Then, jumping up and down, she shouts, "I love this man so much."
Finally, we hear Byron's voice say:
Mary is everything to me. I'm the luckiest man on earth right now because I have found the woman who's everything I had hoped to find in this lifetime. I have definitely found my soul mate.
No, no, no.
Stay tuned, tomorrow, Wednesday, December 1st, one week after seeing Byron and Mary's proposal, for the play-by-play of After The Final Rose.
Congratulations Byron and Mary!
Quoting William James, "Our belief at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing that insures the successful outcome of our venture."
Way to have faith that you would find each other, and for sticking with it, to the end.
Thank you for sharing your journey with us. And thank you Chris and ABC for indulging us in the creation of this love story.
I'll take love any day over watching desperate housewives.
Here's to healthy, adventuresome, soulful, "finding your soul mate" living!
~ Jennifer Carolyn King