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Man Weds After Friends Pick Bride

June 13, 1998

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) _ David Weinlick had known for years that he wanted to get married Saturday. He knew where the wedding would be held and who the guests would be. He just hadn’t picked out a bride.

A couple of dozen adventurous women from several states showed up Saturday at a ``bridal candidate mixer″ to brave questioning by Weinlick’s friends and relatives, whose votes determined that Elizabeth Runze would be his bride.

Soon after the selection, the two 28-year-olds exchanged vows at the Mall of America. About 2,000 shoppers lined the rails to watch from the three upper levels of the mall’s rotunda.

Runze, a slender redhead, wore a short-sleeved white dress with a full skirt and a fitted bodice embroidered with flowers, a short veil and elbow-length gloves. Her father walked her down the aisle and her parents, who are divorced, gave her away. The groom wore a black tuxedo.

A minister friend of Weinlick’s conducted the brief ceremony. Balloons fell from the ceiling and the crowd cheered as the couple kissed.

``I can hardly stand much less talk,″ Runze, a pharmacy student at the University of Minnesota, said shortly after she was selected. ``This is the most incredible day of my life.″

Before the wedding, Weinlick said he was ``elated″ and called the event ``an enormous success.″ ``This is almost exactly what I could have hoped for,″ he said.

Weinlick’s friend Steven Fletcher said the two had similar interests and senses of humor and were a good fit intellectually.

``You can see the chemistry between these two,″ he said. ``Those two just look right together.″

Annette Runze said her daughter talked to Weinlick, a tall thin blond who sports a ponytail, for the first time Monday when she dropped off her application. She said she and Elizabeth’s father support the marriage.

``She’s very serious about it. She’s very committed to the idea and so is he. They’ll probably be married 67 years.″

The four finalists, two from Minnesota, one from Florida and one who refused to give her hometown, were among the five bridesmaids.

Weinlick is a graduate student in anthropology, and his marriage plan played out like some sort of weird social experiment.

Four years ago, Weinlick said, he grew tired of being asked when he was going to get married, so he came up with a stock answer: June 13, 1998.

With the deadline upon him Saturday, friends and relatives interviewed the candidates.

``The first question I always ask is, `Why should I let you marry our Dave?‴ said Kathi Diehl, a friend of eight years from Omaha, Neb.

Weinlick’s sister, Wenonah Wilms of Minneapolis, said all of the candidates were nice but she was looking for something more.

``I’m picking a sister-in-law,″ Wilms said. ``I have to pick someone who is going to be there at Christmas.″

The suggestion that Weinlick try love democratic style and let his pals pick the bride came from his friend, Fletcher. When Weinlick accepted the challenge, Fletcher became his wedding campaign manager, touting his man’s education, good credit and cleanliness.

Weinlick’s parents divorced when he was 5. His father, who criticized the event, did not attend. His mother, Sylvia Lambert, watched from the front row and issued a statement saying she supported her son’s decision.

``I really have enjoyed this, much to my surprise,″ Lambert said.

Despite the ceremony, the match wasn’t exactly binding. Minnesota requires a three-day waiting period for a marriage to become official.

The couple planned to attend a reception at one of the mall’s nightclubs, America Live, but were unsure about their wedding night or honeymoon plans.

Asked whether they would spend the night together, Weinlick said: ``We’re going to have to consider that as two consenting adults. At this point, I’m assuming somebody will want to film it if it happens.″

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