By KATHERINE SNOW SMITH, Special to the Times
Published May 7, 2007
When Jacquelin Love got engaged last summer, she and her fiance wanted to get married the following Jan. 7, the day that would mark six years since their first date. But they didn't want to feel rushed to plan a wedding in just six months. So they decided on a date that may turn out to be even more special: July 7, 2007, or 7-7-07.
"We believe seven is God's number, " said Love, 23, who is a student at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
The Bible says God made the world in seven days; there are seven petitions of the Lord's Prayer; the Passover feast is seven days; and the list goes on.
Love and her fiance, Mitchell Wester, didn't know thousands of other couples as well as hotels, caterers, banquet halls and wedding planners also thought this would be a nice day for a wedding. TheKnot.com, a popular Web site that engaged couples register on to get information and links to wedding resources, reports 31, 000 registered users getting married on 7-7-07 compared with about 12, 000 weddings on Saturdays in July the past three summers.
A hot commodity
"We sold out on that date a long time ago and it went quite fast. We still have people calling now to see if there is any way they can get married here on 7-7-07, " said Audrey Waller, a catering assistant at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg. The Vinoy is hosting three weddings that day.
"We're booked to capacity and July usually is a slow time because of the heat, " echoed Kristin Connell, senior sales and catering manager at the Don CeSar Beach Resort. The St. Pete Beach hotel will be hosting four weddings and one anniversary party that day.
"I knew from planning weddings that this would be a date a lot of people would like, " Connell said. "In 2002 everybody liked 2-02-02, " which was also a Saturday.
It's a lot better than trying to book an event on 6-6-06, according to Kurt Mehl, director of sales for the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay in Tampa.
"Nobody wanted to do anything on that day, " he said. But there is plenty of interest for 7-7-07.
"We've had about a 60 percent increase in inquiries for that date" compared to a Saturday in July from last year, he said.
Vacancy in New York
While hotels and banquet halls around the country have been booked far in advance, there is still no taker for the Lucky Number 7 Wedding Package being offered by the Ritz-Carlton Hotel New York. But there probably will be.
For $77, 777 a couple can have a wedding reception for 77 people (that includes the couple), a seven-tier wedding cake, seven Tiffany diamonds for the bride (five in a ring and two earrings) and a seven-night honeymoon at any Ritz-Carlton in the world. (The bridal party can get ready for the wedding in suite 2007.)
There is no mention of a free weekend at the hotel down the road if the couple gets the seven-year itch.
Even the rich and famous want to add a little luck to their nuptials. Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria is reportedly marrying her beau, NBA star Tony Parker, on July 7 in Paris.
Since Longoria and Parker have decided on their location, other couples are still searching for that perfect spot. Couples started calling the Palace Grand wedding and conference center in Spring Hill two years ago to hold the date of 7-7-07.
"We've gotten a ton of calls for that date, " said Nick Sessa, owner of the Palace Grand, which has three weddings booked for that day. One of those is the wedding of Jamie Wichmanowski.
"We just wanted a date that wasn't too close to any of our birthdays and wasn't interfering with holidays, " said Wichmanowski, 23, a Port Richey resident who recently graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University. "So we were looking at July and realized there was 7-7-07. Both of us like to go to the casinos so we felt like 7-7-07 is as lucky as you can get."
Variations on a theme
Janine Schenker and her fiance will have been dating nearly seven years when they tie the knot on 7-7-07 at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg.
"July 15 will be seven years since we started dating but when I found out July 7 was a Saturday I thought how cool that would be to get married on 7-7-07 . . ., " said Schenker, 26, a teacher at Shore Acres Elementary School. Then she discovered that seven is thought to be God's number and that made the date even more special.
Schenker is working the number into some of the wedding festivities. She and the groom will have seven bridesmaids and seven groomsmen. Instead of numbering the dinner tables at the reception, each table will get a special name: there will be the Seven Dwarfs table, the Seven Seas table, the Seven Colors of the Rainbow table and so on.
A survey of TheKnot.com users found that many couples getting married on July 7 plan to use the number seven in various ways in their wedding festivities. Many are having seven attendants and seating seven people at each table.
Love, who is getting married at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz - at 7 p.m. of course - has a paragraph in the wedding program to let guests know the significance of the day to her and her husband to be:
"We believe that (seven) is God's number, " the program reads. "When our timely engagement presented the opportunity, we couldn't resist getting married on this day."
One thing is for sure for all these couples: The odds are good that they won't forget their wedding anniversary.
Katherine Snow Smith is a freelance writer in St. Petersburg.