The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

September 7, 2013

Simply Beautiful: Wedding ministry at University Place Christian Church offers storybook weddings at modest fees

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The bridal gown, bridesmaid’s dresses, mother-of-the-bride outfit, tuxedo rental, the flower girl and ringbearer outfits, shoes, bouquets, candelabras, kneeling bench — the price tag for a Cinderella-style wedding can be immense.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. University Place Christian Church offers a wedding ministry, Simply Beautiful, that makes having all the parts of a storybook wedding available for only modest fees. Nearly all the paraphernalia of a beautiful wedding, from elegant clothing for the wedding party to the punchbowl, tablecloths and cake servers for the reception, are offered for a modest charge.

Jerry Galbreath, formerly the pastor of the church and still a very-involved member of the congregation, said the church’s collection of $20,000 worth of wedding gowns — available for only the cost of dry cleaning after wearing — range from size 8 to 22, in styles from elegant and simple to ornate.

Mother-of-the-bride, bridesmaid and flower girl dresses also are available for use.

“We do not rent out dresses for proms,” Galbreath said. “There has been a question of that.”

Galbreath said Simply Beautiful wedding service fills a niche for couples with lower incomes, as well as couples who simply do not want a wedding that is a budgetary nightmare. Students also take advantage of the service, Galbreath said. It’s an economically friendly option in a time when the “average” wedding can cost as much as $27,000, Galbreath said.

Galbreath said the apparel in the church’s lending closet has come from donations, starting with 34 gowns from a bridal shop that went out of business several years ago. Since Simply Beautiful began, others have donated bridal attire to the cause, as well.

“Often times, a woman saves her wedding gown, and then has boys,” Galbreath said. “Or there is the issue of styles.”

Fees for use of the church for the wedding and reception also are modest.

The main sanctuary, with 31 stained glass windows, an arched ceiling and a center aisle, is available for couples who want its stately setting. A smaller, more intimate setting also is available.

“For those who don’t want this venue, the chapel will seat 50,” Galbreath said. “Quite often, this is completely adequate for a Simply Beautiful wedding.”