Thousands of strangers may help couple make wedding decisions

Thousands of strangers may help couple make wedding decisions

BY KEREN DOUEK, STAFF WRITER

These days, there exists a plethora of “reality” opportunities seeking to match Mr. Right with Ms. Right before thousands of tuned-in viewers, with eligible Bachelors and Bachelorettes, Millionaires and #1 Singles, one Flavor Flav and an overabundance of Average Joes, Joe Schmos and Big Fat Obnoxious Fiances — but Tracy Bronick and Yeshai Gibli looked past the reality dating scene and opted for a more traditional and more Jewish way of meeting — they logged onto JDate.

Now that the couple is engaged, however, they are ready to let the reality games begin.

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No, Bronick is not enlisting as a Bridezilla, and they are not quite ready for Wife Swap. Gibli and Bronick are one of three couples who have made it to the final round of “Show Me St. Louis Wedding,” a contest by KSDK’s Show Me St. Louis in which visitors to the website get to select which of the couples gets a sponsored wedding — and then choose the couple’s wedding for them, including everything from the rings to the cake, entree to location, and even the gown.

“They choose everything,” Gibli said, “right down to the honeymoon.”

After learning about the competition from one of Bronick’s friends, the couple submitted photos and what they called a “mushy-gushy love story” to the station, detailing their courtship.

“My job requires me to travel nearly every weekend of the year,” wrote Gibli, who was born in Israel but moved to St. Louis with his family at the age of two, “and as such dating me requires an extremely understanding woman. While such women surely exist, they are not so easy to find. Add that to my prerequisite of finding an attractive, intelligent, caring, Jewish woman who can make my heart melt with a smile, and I discovered that the available pool of women had shrunk considerably. I turned to the only safe haven left, the Internet.”

While Gibli had met and dated several women from JDate, he said his success was only “so-so,” until he saw Bronick’s profile and “felt something special.”

Bronick’s friend had persuaded her to place a profile on JDate, and Gibli’s e-mail was the first she received.

On their second date, riding bicycles around Forest Park, Gibli “let it slip” that he intended to make Bronick his wife, and after one month he traveled to New Orleans to meet Bronick’s family.

The next week, however, Hurricane Katrina hit, devastating Bronick’s parents’ home.

“My parents still live in New Orleans, where they have weathered the disaster that was Hurricane Katrina,” Bronick wrote. “They are currently living in a FEMA trailer on the remains of their front lawn.”

That is why, when the couple got engaged on Feb. 24, they were not sure what kind of wedding they would be able to plan. Bronick’s parents were in the process of relocating to Texas and dealing with post-hurricane financial stresses, and she had no other family in St. Louis.

Bronick wrote in the application to KSDK (Channel 5), “I have always dreamed of getting married in New Orleans in the Garden District … New Orleans is no longer a viable option for me.”

That is when Bronick heard of the contest and thought it might be a great way to get help planning a wedding in a city she is not from. And while the New Orleans Garden District was no longer an option, the winning couple would get a sponsored wedding at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, so Bronick and Gibli decided to sign up.

“The only important thing is having our family with us to celebrate our special day together,” Bronick wrote in the application, when asked to describe her idea of a dream wedding. “We both have family spread out across the country, as well as abroad, and would love for them all to join us for the big day.”

The voting will begin on May 3, on the Show Me St. Louis page of the ksdk.com website, and the winners will be chosen on May 9, after which the winning couple will use audience participation to set up their wedding. The bride will choose several wedding gowns, and voters will get to decide which one she will wear. The same will happen for other aspects of the wedding, including the groom’s tuxedo, the bride’s hairstyle, the entree to be served at the rehearsal dinner and at the reception, the flowers, the rings, the honeymoon location, and the cake.

Keren Douek is a staff writer and can be reached at [email protected]