EDMOND - There was the time the groom came as Elvis and the bride in a poodle skirt, or the weddings where the dogs have served as ring bearers. The most surprising ceremony was probably the one where the crowd lifted the bride and groom above their heads and body-surfed them out of the chapel. The strangest was the guy who wears the Barney suit for the television show about the giant purple dinosaur. He brought along his extraordinarily chipper young cast to his wedding. After 10 years in the business, Tabby Berry feels she's seen it all. She even met her husband, Steve, at the wedding chapel she owns in Edmond. "My husband is an Edmond police officer, and he came as security for a wedding. We saw each other and soon after we started dating. We eventually got married in the chapel," Berry said. Berry said she started Boulevard Chapel, at 333 N Boulevard, because she saw a need for such a service in her hometown. "At the time there was only one other chapel open. I was a working woman and saw that many women did not have the time to plan out their weddings," she said. Now Berry has some competition. Weddings at Creekside opened in 2001 at 15500 N Western Ave. Sellers Special Events Center moved in six years ago at 13700 N Eastern. And Johnnie's Catering and Silhouette Event Center, at 3601 S Broadway, offers an alternative to the traditional chapel with a reception site and catering. With the busiest month for weddings fast approaching, each of Edmond's wedding services is running at high gear. Wedding coordinator Nikki Angell of Creekside said she performs at least two or three weddings a weekend from early spring until late fall. Then things slow a bit until Christmas. After the first of the year, brides begin planning for the next summer's weddings. "June is definitely our business month," Angell said. Sellers Special Events Center's Director of Sales Rhonda Moore said, more specifically, the first weekend in June is the absolute busiest of the year. Sellers will cater five or six weddings that weekend at locations throughout the metro. Steve Berry said chapels are gaining in popularity as churches host fewer and fewer weddings. "Churches have so many functions on Saturday nights, with youth and other services. Plus, the church has to be cleaned up for services on Sunday. We've had a lot of churches send us people for that reason," he said. But just because the wedding is not in a church, the ceremony can still be performed by the minister of choice, Berry explained. Weddings in Edmond wedding chapels cost between $1,700 for 50 people at Creekside to $3,450 for 165 people at Boulevard Chapel. This includes the wedding coordinator, cake, punch, nuts, mints, coffee, napkins and servers. The chapels also provide music and decorations and the all-important set-up and clean-up. Boulevard very much resembles a religious chapel, complete with a cross above the altar area and pews. Creekside has five acres of land with flowered gardens, a waterfall and flowered arches for picture taking or outdoor ceremonies. It also offers a nursery and an outdoor children's playground, as well as a full-service kitchen. Weddings at Sellers can take place in an outdoor gazebo or an interior banquet room, and guests can also fill a wrap-around patio. Silhouette, on the other hand, doesn't conduct many ceremonies, instead concentrating on receptions. Catering Director Debbie Lowery said Johnnie's, which owns Silhouette, is known for its elaborate table displays with cheeses, fruits and vegetables built onto the table. Rhonda Moore, with Sellers, said even though she's crazy busy with current weddings, she's also starting to plan weddings for next year. "People need to reserve their event places at least a year in advance. They need to make an initial appointment soon after so they can start to do a comprehensive budget," Moore said. She suggests, however, that couples not plan their menus until about six to eight weeks from the date. "Before that, they change their minds too much," she said. She also suggests the bride have her wedding dress picked out before deciding what kind of party she wants. "Usually, if I can see the dress, I know exactly how to plan," Moore said. Moore said the thing that sets Edmond weddings apart from other areas of the metro is the fact that Edmond is still a small community. "Everyone knows each other here. It's our job to help guide them away from duplicating what someone else is doing, without giving away what's being done," she said. Debbie Lowery with Johnnie's said people really need to make an appointment with a wedding coordinator or a catering planner before deciding where to host their event. "There's a ton of questions that have to be answered -- where do you want to hold your wedding, what amenities are at the facility; what presentation do you want, are disposable dishes OK or do you want real China, those types of things," Lowery said.
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