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It's a perfect day for local couples to wed

Odds are, York County wedding bells will be busier than usual Saturday.

Couples lucky enough to have secured the date -- 07/07/07 -- for their wedding will join thousands across the country who are hoping the triple sevens bring good fortune to their marriages.

The nuptials of "Desperate Housewives" actress Eva Longoria and basketball star Tony Parker may grab the most attention, but the celebrity couple will be sharing their wedding anniversary with plenty of average folks.

Popular wedding Web site The Knot averages 12,000 registrants on any given Saturday -- less than a third of the 38,000 signed up for July 7, according to the site.

Florist Susan Ayala of Fort Myers, Fla., who tours as an education specialist for Teleflora, including a recent stop in Columbia, has heard of a spike in interest in the date around the country.

"Instead of doing the usual in Las Vegas, its supposed to be five or six times more," Ayala said. "I just heard that it's going to be the biggest wedding day of the year."

Rock Hill bride-to-be Tracy White, 42, is among those betting on the date for a happy marriage. "Sevens are my lucky number," White said. "I thought it was pretty unique."

White initially planned a May wedding, but she quickly changed plans two months ago when she realized the significance of Saturday's date.

She and her fiance Rodney Sharpe, 36, also of Rock Hill, will be married at the Little Chapel at Winthrop University.

White said she wasn't worried about whether her luck would extend to ideal weather for the non-air conditioned chapel.

"The day is ours," she said. "If it rains, it rains. That's okay."

White and Sharpe also aren't banking on sevens to ensure a rosy future for their marriage.

"I don't think it's going to ensure marital bliss," White said. "That's going to come between you and your mate."

Though demand for July 7 weddings in York County hasn't approached the levels in such wedding hot spots as Las Vegas, Madeline Presler, owner of The Plant Peddler in Rock Hill, has seen some interest in the lucky date.

"We've got a couple of weddings that day, second and third marriages, exactly because of the date," Presler said.

While some couples across the country have opted to play up the good omens -- with seven attendants, seven varieties of flowers and dice decorations -- the local weddings will remain more traditional, Presler said.

"It would make a lot of sense to do it that way: seven groomsmen, seven bridesmaids, everything in sevens," she said.

However, another unusual circumstance has played a larger role for decorators, Teleflora's Ayala said. With the Fourth of July falling just three days earlier and many flower wholesalers taking a holiday, florists will be scrambling to get orders ready in less time.

"It's going to be a cut-throat thing because of the wholesalers being off Wednesday," she said.

For some marriages, though, the luck got an early start, at least with the arrangements.

Seven couples, wagering nothing more than time to register at Wal-Mart, won complete wedding ceremonies and receptions from the retailer, including Caleb Cox and Ella Glass of Charlotte. The festivities, valued at about $5,000 according to Wal-Mart, will be held in the stores' garden departments.

The date may have been carefully planned by some brides and grooms, but others stumbled on the milestone by chance.

"How do you know in January that there's going to be a 07/07/07?" said Sara Ashe of Rock Hill. "Who thinks of that?"

The 23-year-old bride-to-be had initially hoped to get married on July 21, but the reception site was booked. Then she tried the 14th, but the church, St. John's Lutheran in Walhalla, was taken.

Since Ashe needed a summer wedding to tie the knot with her fiance, Mike Bruschi, who is stationed in Germany with the Army, the sevens won.

Ashe now enjoys the coincidence, but said she doesn't buy into the superstitions.

"It's kind of fun how people can play with the numbers," Ashe said, "but by no means do I think it guarantees a great marriage."

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