Student’s friends will pick his bride

Michelle Moriarity

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 bride.
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 relationship.
“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 thing.”
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.”