U. Minnesota Student's Friends Will Pick His Bride
by Michelle Moriarity
as appeared in the "Minnesota Daily" (U. Minnesota), 06/04/98
(NOTE FROM LORI: Yep, this REALLY did happen!! I remember the CNN stories!)
(U-WIRE) MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- David Weinlick is getting married this
month. In preparation for the big day, he selected a tuxedo, a venue
for the ceremony and reception, wedding rings and groomsmen.
The only thing the 28-year-old University graduate student needs is a
Because of his frustration with the age-old tradition of courting,
Weinlick decided to marry by democratic process -- his friends and
family will vote for a suitable bride on the wedding day.
"I think this process is well suited for me," Weinlick said. "Ultimately,
dating is full of deception. I don't see the point of that."
Weinlick planted the seed for the idea about three years ago. The
anthropologist and Pennsylvania native was tired of the timeworn query
"When are you getting married?"
So he picked a date -- June 13, 1998.
But after two years passed, Weinlick found himself no closer to finding
a suitable mate.
As a result, Weinlick's friends organized the Campaign to Elect a
Mrs. David Weinlick.
"It started to make more and more sense as we thought about it,"
Weinlick said. Many relationships that end in divorce are often frowned
upon by family members, Weinlick said. By having his friends and family
choose his mate, Weinlick hopes to improve his chances for a lasting
"This is something that needed to be tried," said Steve Fletcher,
Weinlick's friend and campaign coordinator. "I think people are hungry
for an alternative to the traditional courtship-marriage-divorce
sequence that we all live through right now."
Weinlick's friends selected more than 25 potential brides. Though they
consider several of the nominees viable candidates, some of these women
do not share the sentiment.
"I'm pretty apprehensive about this," said Janel Jeras, an acquaintance of
Weinlick's. "Where's the romance and courting?"
"I can't think of anything more romantic than throwing caution to the
wind and spontaneously getting married," Weinlick said in a press release.
"People who write this off as unromantic are missing the point."
On the wedding day, friends and family will join Weinlick and the
candidates in a barbecue and bridal mixer, where attendees will meet the
potential brides-to-be. At 3 p.m. the wedding guests will select a bride,
and the ceremony will commence.
Jeras, who is a social worker, said in spite of her reluctance toward her
nomination, she has no moral objections to the idea.
"I don't see that this is different than an arranged marriage," Jeras said.
"It's just being done more publicly."
David Olson, a University professor of family social science, agreed.
"It's strange for our culture, but it's not strange for other cultures,"
Olson said. Families in Asian cultures have selected partners for their
offspring for centuries, he said.
Though such marriages have high success rates, these relationships last
because of the social pressure to succeed, he said.
"His odds are no worse than anybody else's," Olson said. "He might fall in
love eventually, but he might not."
Aside from the serious nominations, Fletcher and other friends nominated the
fictional Arthur Fonzarelli from "Happy Days" and Imelda Marcos, former
First Lady of the Philippines, to demonstrate the sense of humor they have
toward the process.
"As far as I'm concerned, it should be relaxed and enjoyable," Weinlick said.
"A wedding should be fun."
"I think it's hilarious," added bridal candidate Mishelle Paullus, a nursing
student at Normandale Community College. "But naturally I can't take this
too seriously," she said. "It seems to me this is just a funny Dave publicity
Weinlick and his friends said in spite of the humorous nature of the process,
they are indeed serious in their intentions.
Though he has received mixed reactions toward the process from his friends
and family, Weinlick has no qualms about his methodology.
"I think you should be intrigued by a wedding," he said. "It'd be great if
it got people to think about the concept of marriage."
But marriage is risky no matter how we see it, Olson said. "(Weinlick's)
willingness to do it without love is extraordinary," he said.
"It's become a part of public discourse," Fletcher said. "I think (people)
are scared of going against their concepts of what life is about."