Jana is frantically sewing, Duggar lips are being frantically balmed and Jim Bob is frantically searching for his trusty gray suit, which can mean only one thing: it’s wedding time over at the Duggar Compound!
Yes, kids, on this episode of Counting On, the “Bachelor Until the Rapture,” John-David, will marry the love of
his life 45 days, Abbie!
We’ll also watch as another Duggar kid makes a big announcement after the wedding… because the only thing this family loves more than tuna slop and delegating any and all household responsibilities to Jana is hijacking each other’s special episodes.
We kick off this Fundie Fest at the Compound, where John and Abbie are flexing the arts and crafts skills they picked up at vacation bible school by whipping up a unity candle for their ceremony. Before they get started, viewers are forced to sit through a(nother) rundown of how John and Abbie met a whopping SEVEN DAYS prior to their courtship beginning.
We also learn that the two are tying the knot in the same church they met in because it’s sentimental to them and also because it’s the only place in town that can accommodate their obnoxious Duggar-sized guest list.
As the candle-making begins, Jana sends in perpetually “over it” background Duggar kid Jennifer to make sure these two don’t burn down the Compound. (Lord knows they’d make poor Jana rebuild it!) Jana would’ve been there herself to assist in the candle-making but she has an entire reception to throw together AND she has to come up with a fresh new answer to the question she will undoubtedly be peppered with at the wedding: “When are YOU getting married?”
The first task in this low-rent Yankee Candle project is to select a scent for the candle. Jennifer suggests they choose Michelle‘s favorite scent, which is, of course, “laundry smell.”
As per usual, we have to stop and interview the married Dugs and their spouses and get their take on various scents. Because the producers are about as sick of these kids as we are, they decide to pull a little prank and fill one of the oil vials with anchovies, which we assume they squeezed from Jim Bob’s tuna noodle casserole from hell.
Austin rubs the anchovy oil all over his arm and demands that poor Joy sniff him. She obeys.
It’s riveting television. Riveting. I’d honestly rather watch a clip of Michelle trying to figure out how to use her washing machine without having Jana or one of her other daughters show her how.
Back in the kitchen, John and Abbie do a couple of fugly test-run candles that they decided they’ll “gift” to their mothers. The one they make for Michelle comes out black, and Abbie decides she can’t be giving her future mother-in-law a big hunk of witchcraft-ready Satan-wax in a jar!
Abbie says the candle they are making for their wedding will be all white with zero flair to it. (Coming from these two personality-filled, perky people?! I.Am.Shocked.)
During this craft-a-thon, John soon tires of making candles and just decides to start lighting crap on fire (as you do).
John uses his “oxygen settling torch” to remove any speck of color from the container before they start making their white wedding candle.
Over at the main Duggar house, Jana goes over a list of things that need to be done (by her and her BFF Laura) before the wedding. Part of this prep includes packing up an entire RV bus full of supplies to haul to Oklahoma. Jana has taken on the role of Miss Cindy/Sierra and is now the Duggars’ live-in wedding coordinator.
As the group shoves plastic bins under the Duggar tour bus, the producers ask some of the kids if they’d ever consider eloping. The kids pretend like they’d actually have a say in the matter. (We all know there’s no way Jim Bob is missing out on that Wedding Special CASH MONEY!)
Jason says that it’s not a Duggar thing to “be eloped” because they want all their friends to be there (i.e. they want 1,000 people to give them wedding gifts).
As you may recall, John and Abbie opted to have their reception in an airplane hangar because John is a pilot (have you heard?!) As the decorating begins, Jana learns that her brothers intend to utilize some “redneck engineering” to hang the plastic tablecloth drapery from the ceiling, which she’s less-than-thrilled about.
In the next segment, the male Dugs give us a few examples of what “redneck engineering” consists of.
Jana ultimately puts a stop to the shenanigans, mostly because a trip to the ER would really put her behind schedule.
Jana’s siblings then tell the producers how much hard work she has put into this wedding. The overall consensus is that they’d all hate to be Jana. Let’s just hope Abbie and John don’t intend to gift Jana the giant, nightmare-inducing mural of themselves as a “thank you” for putting together their wedding. SHIVER.
Soon, the brothers are basically throwing Party City’s finest plastic table coverings all over the damn hanger, allowing them to drape from the ceiling. Jana is stressing out because it looks like some sort of giant yellow flammable spider hanging from the ceiling.
Where’s Miss Cindy with the hay bundles when you need her!?
Back in Arkansas, Josiah and Lauren decide to pitch in on the wedding prep as well by rehearsing a song to sing at the wedding. (No word on how they plan to pry the microphone out of Jim Bob’s big ol’ spotlight-lovin’ mitts, though…)
Lauren is nervous to sing in front of their 1,000 closest friends and family (plus the TLC cameras).
As the couple works on their melodies and Lauren bangs it out on the piano, the producers decide to completely kill the mood by asking them how they’re holding up after their miscarriage. They say they’re still “praising the Lord.” Lauren commends Josiah for being so selfless through the terrible experience, so kudos to him, because we know he didn’t inherit that trait from Jim Bob.
Speaking of ol’ JB, back at the Duggar Compound, he and the rest of crew are packing up their fanciest skirts and flannel churchin’ shirts and getting ready to head off to Oklahoma for the wedding. The group loads up in yet another round of rough-looking vans and hits the road to enjoy the celebration that they completely avoided contributing to in any way.
With things at the hangar partially DIY’ed, Jana and Co. take on the church decorations the following day. More giant containers are unloaded along with the wooden arbor that we saw the boys nearly ruin earlier this season.
True to form, while attempting to reassemble the arbor at the church, the boys can’t figure out how to screw anything into a hole.
We all know this won’t be the last time they struggle with this exact thing.
John and Abbie arrive at the church for their rehearsal, with Abbie sporting a “Bride to Be” sash that’s already been worn by a minimum of five Duggar brides.
Laura takes the mic and welcomes everyone to “Another Duggar wedding.” (That should legit be the title of this episode.)
As the future Mr. and Mrs. stumble through their rehearsal, the producers make us suffer through flashback after flashback of past Duggar wedding rehearsals because finding enough viable footage to fill a two-hour wedding special is tough and these producers have clearly hit a wall.
I mean…you can only watch so many scenes of people molding wax, right?
Abbie and John remind us that they’re waiting to have their first kiss and the producers are jonesing to find out if holding out has been hard for the two of them. John seems especially excited for the big moment being that he’s been practicing on his airplane controllers for the last five years or so.
John and Abbie’s wedding is 16 hours away so Jana, Laura and those not busy warming up their vocal chords head back to the hangar to take care of some more decorations. Between lighting issues and people generally just not being able to follow simple directions, Jana is frustrated about the hellacious hangar she still has to decorate.
Man, it’s a shame she doesn’t have a big family that can come pitch in… oh wait.
After a long five months of knowing each other, it’s finally John and Abbie’s wedding day. We learn that they’ve decided to forgo the whole “first look” tradition because Abbie says she’s “really into anticipation”—hence her decision to wait nearly 30 years to front-hug someone of the opposite sex.
In the bridal suite, Abbie’s friend from nursing school helps slap some makeup on her face. She has requested to be very glittery because, according to John, Abbie is a “glitter girl.” John says glitter gives him “the yucks” though he’s willing to overcome his disdain of the shiny stuff so long as Abbie keeps it far away from his cockpit.
Once they’ve got Abbie shining brighter than Jim Bob’s dress shoes after Jana buffed them, it’s time to get her into her dress.
John tells us that, if you get too close to a girl wearing glitter, “you’re gonna have it on ya.”
So…basically, John’s junk will be sparkling like a disco ball by night’s end.
That’s a mental picture I may never get out of my head…
Miss Renee is obviously about 16 cups of coffee in, because she’s so “up” that it may take a tranquilizer dart to bring her down to a normal level of excitement.
Abbie does a “first look” with her bridesmaids. Jana has somehow managed to not only decorate both the reception hangar and church, but coordinate the wedding and still find time to make herself look gorgeous as a bridesmaid.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again…Jana is too good and we don’t deserve her.
As Miss Renee is most likely being shooed into some sort of padded closet to calm down a bit, John’s groomsmen go off to make their own contribution to the wedding day—- a test-run of a “drone prank” involving the wedding rings.
Joe—the default best man because Josh is a pile of garbage—says the plan is for one of the boys to fly a drone down in the middle of the ceremony to deliver the rings to him so he can hand them off to John. Joe thinks the prank will be a hit because John is a pilot—a fact we almost went 15 minutes without being reminded of.
Next, Abbie and John talk about how they didn’t think they’d ever get married. Both are over 25, which is the age Fundies just assume you’ll be forever alone if you haven’t been snatched up and married off by.
As we see the bride and groom take photos with their wedding party, the photographer absentmindedly instructs John to serve up his best impression of “Zoolander.” The guys literally stand there with puzzled looks on their faces because they have no clue what a “Zoolander” is because…fundies.
The producers run with this joke and ask the Duggar kids if they’ve ever heard of “Zoolander,” which of course, none of them have. Jeremiah and Jedediah are pretending not to know what it is, but we all know they’ve probably been huddled in the Boy’s Room, watching the movie on Jim Bob’s portable DVD player from 1998 in the dark of night!
Joe is especially confused by this question, so much so that he tells the producers he’s never heard of “Blue Lander.” Not to be outdone, Kendra then corrects her husband that it’s actually “Blue Zander.”
In between, John poses for photos with each of his groomsmen. For some reason, Abbie’s brother chooses to pose like he just got lynched.
To no one’s surprise, Jeremy is the only one who has seen “Zoolander,” because he also happens to be the only one whose seen life outside of the Fundie world.
Back inside, Jim Bob has, of course, managed to make the day all about him. He reminds John that he met Abbie in that very church all because he and Michelle were there doing a book signing.
Finally, it’s time for the wedding party to line up and start their parade down the aisle. At the altar, John greets his pilot bride with a smile big enough to land a plane on. (It’s honestly pretty adorable because you can tell John absolutely adores Abbie.)
After some words from the pastor, the mic is handed over to Abbie’s dad who has been given vow duty, though John and Abbie also recite some words of their own. Surely Jim Bob had to bite on a stick from the pews because he couldn’t stand not having any part in the wedding. (He does manage to yell, “This is it!” as Abbie walks past him down the aisle, though.)
John’s shockingly makes no references to flying, airplanes or being a pilot in his vows, though Abbie couldn’t resist the urge herself. She also couldn’t resist the urge to call John “sugar muffin” during her turn, which she later tells producers is a better alternative than “gluten-free, sugar-free muffin.”
Josiah tells us that he calls his wife Lauren “sugar baby.” The Duggars obviously have no clue what an actual “sugar baby” is, of course, but it’s still funny.
It’s time for the rings to be exchanged, so right on cue, the drone takes off from the balcony and awkwardly delivers the ring box down below.
The “prank” is a hit with about 5 or 6 of the guests, while the other 1,445 sit back and try not to roll their eyes. They know that soon they’re going to have access to unlimited pickles at the reception so sitting through all of this nonsense is worth it.
Next up, John and Abbie light their homemade candle as Lauren and a barely-audible Josiah serenade the crowd with some church tunes. Back at the front of the arbor, John and Abbie rejoin hands while they wait for Fundie Sonny and Cher to wrap it up so they can get to first base in front of hundreds of church friends and family.
Once the pastor tells John he may kiss his pilot bride, John proceeds to kiss each one of Abbie’s hands, followed by each of her arms, cheeks, her forehead, nose and finally her mouth. And, yes, it was just as cringeworthy as it sounds…
Abbie said she knew about John’s plan all along and thought it was “tender, precious time.”
(Uh-oh…someone’s been hanging out with Michelle too much!)
John’s siblings unanimously weren’t feeling it, as they later tell producers.
“It was a little awkward to watch!” Kendra giggles and tells us.
“By the third or fourth kiss, I was like ‘Alright, go get a hotel room!'” sassy Jason tells us.
Ben– in his super-cool transition lenses– and Jessa apparently felt the cringey-ness all the way from the cheap seats.
Ben then proceeds to reenact the awkward smattering of kisses, as Jessa looks like she’s trying to find a way to escape this scene (and possibly this marriage).
Of course ol’ Jimmy B and Michelle are happy to reenact the kiss. There’s nothing Jim Bob likes more than being on-camera…except for putting his body parts on Michelle, as we all know.
The mass of”hangry” (see what we did there?) wedding guests then head to the hangar for some food, cake and bounce house fun. Abbie and John cut the cake (and Abbie seductively licks the frosting off John’s fingers like the naughty lil’ minx that she is).
They pose with guests in their photo booth thing and soon, it’s time for John and Abbie to take off in John’s plane. (He’s a pilot, by the way.) He dips her, lifts her into the plane and scurries around the other side to get into the pilot’s seat. It’s super-obvious that John’s engine is running…in more ways than one.
As Jana is left to sweep the floors, the married Dugs talk about what it was like for them to be newlyweds. Joy tells us how the fun didn’t stop after she and Austin got married. The day after their wedding, Joy said they went grocery shopping together! No wonder Gideon was conceived so quickly; nothing says “sexy time” quite like picking out pork chops and peanut butter together!
A couple days after the wedding, Jessa and Ben surprise Jinger and Jeremy with news that they’re expecting another baby. Later on, they head to the Duggar Compound to celebrate the news with the rest of the family, who put little to no effort in pretending to be excited to hear this same announcement yet again.
Several of the background boys tell us that they were thinking that “it’s about time” one of these women shot another spawn from her gentleman gobbler.
Jessa and Ben walk into the Compound and all the Dugs are standing there staring at them and awkwardly clapping. Everyone already knows, apparently, so there’s no element of surprise, and we’re not really sure why people are clapping. I guess they’re congratulating Jessa on her fertility? Who knows…
Jana would’ve liked to have been with the family to celebrate, but apparently she was still in Oklahoma trying to get those plastic table cloths off of the ceiling. Oh well, we’re sure she’ll be done in time to be at the next one!
The married couples all tell us their plans for the next year…and basically it’s: HAVE.MORE.BABIES.
That’s all for this season of ‘Counting On!’ We hope you have enjoyed this “Season of Life” with us!
To read our previous ‘Counting On’ recaps, click here!