ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- In April 2014, Blaise Forêt’s eHarmony subscription was about to expire.
Just one week before giving up on finding love on the Internet, Blaise connected with Christina. She had joined the online-dating service a week before, just in time to meet her soul mate.
In June of 2014, they got engaged -- a few months later in October, they were married.
The couple’s fast and furious love story is almost as contemporary as the way they chose to renew their vows.
On Nov. 5, a little more than a year after they first said, “I do,” the couple renewed their vows at Asheville’s Masonic Temple in front of a room full of strangers.
No, they didn’t go to the wrong venue or run out of friends and family to invite.
The Forêt’s were part of a bridal show alternative called The Big Fake Wedding, which gives stressed out brides-and-grooms-to-be the opportunity to test everything before making it part of their own celebration.
Blaise and Christina found out about The Big Fake Wedding through a friend on Instagram.
The friend asked if they wanted to get remarried and they decided to go for it.
“We like the vision behind it,” Blaise Forêt said. “They seem to really promote strong marriages and just kind of celebrate that.”
What is The Big Fake Wedding all about?
Callie Murray, a former wedding photographer, founded The Big Fake Wedding in 2008 after realizing that more couples were willing to hire her after they saw her in action.
As opposed to a regular bridal show where brides and grooms simply compare prices, The Big Fake Wedding gives them the chance to see a venue, try different cakes, see the different flower options, and much more.
“When you come to this event you get to see and experience everything in action and get to meet the people behind their product or service,” Murray said. “So for someone like a DJ or a band, you could meet them at a booth and see what they charge, maybe get to know their personality a little bit, but at an event like this you get to see how they work a crowd and how they sound on a microphone.”
All of the guests pay $25 to check out 30 local vendors and attend an emotional ceremony followed by a reception and dance party.
The actual wedding is fake, but the local couples picked to walk down the aisle are actually renewing their vows. Blaise and Christina Forêt even rewrote their vows for the ceremony.
For many brides and grooms, preparing for the “big day” can be overwhelming.
Bride-to-be, Many Osetek, said she came to The Big Fake Wedding because she thinks it’s a much more personal way to choose vendors.
“I like it because it’s unique,” Osetek said. “It’s all local vendors; you can see their heart and their soul in what they are doing.”
Many of the Asheville vendors said The Big Fake Wedding gave them the opportunity to connect with future brides and grooms on a personal level.
The Big Fake Wedding challenges vendors to be creative and push the envelope while still sticking to the wedding's color scheme and overall theme.
According to The Big Fake Wedding’s website, the next event in North Carolina is on Nov. 12 in Raleigh.