— The bride will wear Carolina Herrera. The groom and the couple’s son will wear camo.
That’s how Bristol Palin envisions the outdoor wedding she and Levi Johnston are planning sometime in the next month or so in Alaska.
“Bristol definitely has some interesting ideas for her wedding,” Us Weekly executive editor Caroline Schaefer told NBC News in a story that aired Thursday morning on TODAY. “She wants to wear a Carolina Herrera gown … in white. She would like Levi and little Tripp to wear camo vests.”
It’s unknown whether the mother of the bride, Sarah Palin, will attend. She and husband Todd issued a tepid statement supporting their daughter Wednesday after Us broke the exclusive story of Bristol and Levi’s engagement. In the story, Bristol Palin said she was worried about how she was going to tell her mother that she’s engaged to marry Levi Johnston, the father of her 18-month-old son.
She solved the problem by telling the popular celebrity weekly.
“We got engaged two weeks ago. It felt right, even though we don’t have the approval of our parents,” Bristol Palin told the magazine in an exclusive story published Wednesday.
Thursday, Schaefer said the young couple felt that asking for approval would not have met with a positive response.
“Sarah and Todd Palin have not given their blessing to this wedding. In fact, we asked Levi, ‘Did you ask for Bristol’s hand?’ and he said, ‘No. I know that if I had, Sarah and Todd would have said no,’ ” Schaefer said.
In Us Weekly’s video, Bristol glowed as she snuggled next to her fiancé and talked about how he had proposed.
“I came home from work one day, and there was tons of flowers all over my room, and there’s flowers, like rose petals, in the shape of a heart on my bed,” she said. “Then he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.”
Bristol didn’t have to think about her response.
“There was no hesitation at all,” she said.
Johnston told the magazine how bad he feels for having missed such milestones as Tripp’s first word and first steps when he and Bristol were apart and he was feuding with her family.
“I wasn’t there for Tripp and Bristol, and now I am and it feels great,” Johnston said in the Us Weekly video. “I love them both very much. As a father, I can’t explain. I’ve missed out on a lot of his life, and I can’t get that back. But more important, I’m here now, and I’m going to make it right.”
The young couple talked about ordinary activities like taking drives and going fishing with Tripp, and how natural it feels.
“It just feels right to be a family,” Bristol said.
‘Redemption and forgiveness’
In a statement to NBC News, the Palins said, “Bristol at 19 is now a young adult. We obviously want what’s best for our children. Bristol believes in redemption and forgiveness to a degree most of us struggle to put in practice in our daily lives.”
Indeed, in the wake of Johnston’s recent retraction of blistering comments about the Palins and apology for making them, Bristol told People magazine: “I forgive him for what he did. He was young, mad, misguided. We’re moving on.”
Mike Allen of the website Politico told NBC News that the wedding could be a positive event for Sarah Palin and her future political ambitions.
“There are increasing signs Sarah Palin is serious and wants to be taken seriously. This closes up a messy family matter and gives her the chance to show grace and forgiveness,” Allen said.
No wedding date has been set, but Schaefer told TODAY’s Matt Lauer Wednesday morning that the reunited young couple would like to do it quickly — possibly in the next month. Until marriage, Schaefer said, the couple are living separately and practicing abstinence. Bristol Palin, who has moved out of her parents’ house, is a spokeswoman for an abstinence-only program.
“They said basically within a month or so, maybe six weeks,” Schaefer said of the wedding plans. “They have visions for getting married. They want to get married outdoors; Alaska. They want it to be very small — friends and family.”
Bristol shot down rumors that the couple may be under pressure to marry, as they were two years ago when the then 17-year-old Bristol got pregnant with Tripp.
“She said, ‘I’m not pregnant.’ She said they’re actually practicing abstinence right now and they’re not living together until they get married,” Schaefer said.
In 2008, with Sarah Palin running for vice president, Bristol and Johnston announced that they would get married after the election. But when the campaign was done, they broke up and quickly began waging a war of words in the media.
Johnston cashed in on his newfound celebrity by posing for Playgirl magazine and doing media appearances. When Sarah Palin accused him of being an aspiring porn star and called him “Ricky Hollywood,” he thoroughly disparaged the former Alaska governor on every front, from her parenting skills to her hunting and shooting bona fides. Sarah Palin responded furiously when he alleged that she referred to Trig, her Down syndrome youngest child, as “retarded.”
“About six weeks ago, Sarah asked Levi to come over because Bristol had said, ‘I want to be a family with Levi again’ — hinting that they wanted to get back together,” Schaefer told Lauer. “So Levi went over there, personally apologized for all the things that he had said, and basically said, ‘I want to be with Bristol, I want to be a family, and I’m going to get a job, get my education, really step up to the plate.’ ”
Last week, Johnston made the apology public.
“Even if Bristol’s parents never like me again, that’s fine, I can live with that. But I want them to know how much I love her. After everything we have been through, I couldn’t put into words how much I love her,” Johnston said.
But Schaefer said that all is not completely forgiven.
“Bristol feels very angry, still, about some of the things,” she told Lauer. “They are ready to get married, but she does say, ‘We’ll probably see a marriage counselor.’ Clearly, it was a very messy breakup, the feud was very deep-seated, and I think Bristol made it clear that Levi’s going to have a lot of work to do.”
Schaefer said that the couple were paid to pose for pictures in Us Weekly, as is common in the industry, but declined to discuss whether they were paid for their interview. She said Bristol Palin came to the magazine with the story.
“Bristol came back and said, ‘I really want to get my message out. I feel I want a platform to explain it,” Schaefer told Lauer. “Sarah Palin is very protective of her daughter. They had a very messy breakup, a very nasty feud between them, so for her to be able to tell her whole story, to explain how much they’re in love, they want to get married, they want to be a family, they need a platform to do it. Us provided that.”