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Wedding bill blues
By CHRISTOPHER GOFFARD
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 27, 2000
NEW PORT RICHEY -- Michael Gavlinski, aluminum salesman and father of the brides, has a simple method for coping with the crazed months ahead that will see his already-large family double: Stay out of the way.
Gavlinski, 50, knew he would give away his three daughters someday, but he never thought those weddings would come nearly back to back. It starts in April, when his youngest daughter, Anna, 22, marries Pasco prosecutor Scott Andringa.
Andringa, 31, met her several years ago while she was a waitress at Hooters. After a few brief conversations, he told her he had two ideas for spending more time with her: A) Get a job there as a busboy. B) Ask her out on a date.
Andringa, who argues for a living with other professional talkers, struck her as charmingly less than silver-tongued on this occasion.
"Just getting it out of him probably took about 15 minutes," said Anna, who now works as a school photographer and lives in Clearwater. "It was nice for him not to be some smooth-talking lawyer."
The couple was having dinner one night with William Waldron, who worked as a domestic violence coordinator in Andringa's office, when Anna Gavlinski hauled out some pictures of her sister Abigail, now 26.
"I commented on how attractive she was and asked if she was dating anybody," recalled Waldron, 34, who now works as a sheriff's deputy in Bradenton.
They suggested he swing by the jewelry store at Gulfview Square where she worked. He did. Their wedding is set for November.
"We never dreamed it might go this far," Anna Gavlinski said of her sister's meeting Waldron.
In between those two weddings -- both taking place at Mansion by the Bay in St. Petersburg -- the Gavlinskis' oldest daughter, Mary, 28, plans to marry Eric Yates, a stockbroker who has been a family friend for years.
Mary Gavlinski of Wesley Chapel said many of the details of her wedding still are undecided. Since 100 or more people are expected at each of her sisters' weddings, however, she's thinking of keeping it simple, maybe even holding it in Canada.
"That my sisters are having two such big weddings makes us lean toward going away," she said.
"I'm getting to the point where I'm starting to have the wedding nightmares -- somebody forgetting their dress, somebody forgetting the food for the reception," Diane said. "I also have nightmares of the girls coming down the aisle and their dress splitting in the back."
Counting all three weddings, she estimates her family's end of the bills will come to about $20,000. "Traditionally, the family of the bride pays for most of the wedding," said the mother, who works in a doctor's office. "That still holds true, I've found out."
Michael Gavlinski is happy to stay in the dark about the details. He will supply homemade cabbage rolls for the weddings and show up when he's told. Leave the planning to others.
"I know they'll stop when they run out of money," he said.
They won't let the weddings drive them into debt, he said. What kind of lesson would that be to newlyweds?
"If the parents go out and get heavily into debt, either you're desperate to get rid of somebody, or you're foolish," he said.
The Gavlinski sisters grew up in Pasco with no brothers in the house. A family with no boys will now have three of them.
"When the guys come into your family, they're essentially your kids, too," the father said.
Abigail Gavlinski said it was essential all of the prospective husbands got along with the larger family they planned to join. "We always said we're a package deal," she said. "You can't date one of us and not get along with the others."
Waldron echoed that sentiment, saying he met the Gavlinskis before he went out with her alone. "I had to make the circuit through the family first," he said.
Andringa, the son of a Pinellas County judge, said he made the same circuit, adding: "You couldn't hope to meet a nicer couple of parents than Mike and Diane."
As the weddings approach, the sisters are busily planning, exchanging flurries of phone calls, trying out ideas. They've decided they will all wear the same sparkling rhinestone tiara. "We don't mind copying each other," Anna Gavlinski said. "If one of us has a good idea, the other will use it."
Diane Gavlinski said her daughters seem a lot calmer than she feels.
"They don't seem to have any jitters at all yet," she said. "They're not mothers of the bride yet."
- Times staff writer Christopher Goffard can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6236 or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6236. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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