Okay, the minister didn't quite say that at Tom Anderson and Sabrina Root's Aug. 23 wedding—but he could have. To pull off their 250-guest dream nuptials, the cash-strapped but enterprising Philadelphia couple persuaded 24 local businesses to chip in some $32,000 worth of essentials—everything from the gold wedding bands ($500) to the exotic floral arrangements ($2,500). In exchange, the groom thanked each sponsor before the first toast and provided plugs on the invitations, on cards at the buffet and on scrolls on the dinner tables.
"I always wanted a fairy-tale wedding," says Anderson, 24, a bartender who hit on the idea, he explains, after soliciting prize donations for a raffle. His bride—a 33-year-old hairstylist who met Anderson when she walked into his bar in June 1998, the day she received the divorce papers ending her one-year first marriage—was skeptical at first. "I knew people were thinking, 'Will this be tacky?' " she says. But she eventually gave in. "Neither of us wanted to ask our parents for money," says Anderson, who labored for nearly a year to line up the sponsors.
Among the goodies: sushi, broiled salmon and Italian pastries from eight area eateries; a deejay to play Disney ballads; limos; a handmade tulle veil; even a weeklong Cancún honeymoon. The two laid out just $8,000 of their own money to rent a Glen-side, Pa., castle, hire food servers, buy liquor and pay for Root's $1,600 dress. Weren't the guests scandalized by such blatant commercialism? If so, they weren't saying. "It was terrific," insists Root's mother, Elizabeth. "Tom was just a genius."