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Groom needs bride - Any takers?

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Only one thing is missing from Dave Weinlick's wedding plans: a bride.

The 28-year-old is getting married Saturday. He has the rings, the minister, the musicians, his tuxedo and a reception all arranged. But he won't know whom he'll meet at the altar until just before she walks down the aisle.Potential brides are invited to attend a Weinlick's "bridal candidate mixer" the day of the ceremony, where the groom's friends will screen them and their friends will screen Weinlick. There will be a vote, and Weinlick will marry the winner.

About four years ago, Weinlick, got tired of people asking him when he was going to get married, so he started to answer, "June 13, 1998." It became part of his shtick. At first he thought he might have a party to celebrate the idea of being in a committed, monogamous relationship, whether he was in one or not.

Then his friend and campaign coordinator Steve Fletcher suggested that he run a campaign and have a democratic wedding. As the date approached, the idea grew on him, and the campaign got into full swing about two months ago.

"The fact that this is not the norm is actually on my side," Weinlick said Friday. "Somebody who is less likely to go with the flow is someone I'll be compatible with."

Weinlick, a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Minnesota, said that while he wants to keep his word about the wedding date, he also really wants to get married.

"I like the idea of being committed to someone and really making the relationship work," he said. "I think love develops. It's not just there."

Most of the candidates so far are people he knows, but there are a few he hasn't met face to face. And he hopes new ones surface.

Many have entered the running through his Bridal Nomination Committee web site. Others have contacted Weinlick by phone.

Herman Weinlick, the groom's father, doesn't like the idea and plans to skip the wedding.

"I wish him well, and I admire his independence in many things, including this," the elder Weinlick said. "But I am not particularly happy with this event, which I think makes light of something which, to me, should be taken more seriously."

Among his attributes, according to Fletcher: He's well-educated, has good credit and a clean record.

When asked if he is wealthy, Fletcher said Weinlick is "creatively wealthy" and has a "wealth of knowledge."

Matt Gundlach, a marriage and family counselor, says that while Weinlick's plan sounds like a great way to meet people, it doesn't sound like a good bet for a successful marriage.

"There's a high probability he's going to get the wrong person," he said. "I think usually with our friends, we pick who would be good for us, rather than what would be good for the other person. No matter how good of friends you are, you don't know what's best for them."

Tessa Schwanekamp, who worked with Weinlick years ago, said the idea was "completely insane."

Still, she is single and might show up Saturday.

The wedding Web site is at (http://www.geocities.com/athens/2383/nominations.html).