Good as Gold
When you open your wedding to a reality show, anything can happen. The Baynards got a fairy tale surprise.
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On August 1, 2009, local reporters elbowed each other to get inside the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Wilmington. Outside, tractor-trailers from We TV’s “My Fair Wedding,” carrying cameramen, equipment, set-up teams and decorators, lined King Street for blocks. Inside, Hollywood party-planning royalty David Tutera—who’s done events for everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Elton John—traded last-minute pep talks with the bride and groom while a boom mic captured it all.
“I had no idea what we would see in the reveal,” says Varneka Baynard. The only thing she was sure of was the man she’d marry. Everything else, from her gown to the decor, would be a total surprise.
Yet Varneka scored the wedding of a lifetime. How’d she get so lucky?
Lucky might not be the word she would choose. A month before her wedding, planning was not going well. “Basically, nothing was working,” she says with a laugh. Stressed and near panic, she, on a lark, filled out an online application for “My Fair Wedding.” One click of the mouse later, the whole course of her wedding changed. But she didn’t know that.
So let’s go back to the beginning, when, thanks to an “embarrassing” mix-up, Tony Baynard says, he and Varneka almost didn’t meet.
One day at church, he noticed a friend walking with Varneka. “I’d never seen her before,” he says—“Although I’ve been at that church for years,” Varneka points out. Tony’s friend sat with him during the service, as did Varneka, but Tony didn’t get a chance to speak with her. He later asked the friend to introduce them, and the friend did—but to the wrong girl. “I thought, ‘Oh man, this is so embarrassing,’” Tony says.
“I had to go over to this nice woman and say, ‘I’m so sorry, but I was talking about someone else.’” But once Tony and Varneka finally met, there was no confusion—they hit it off perfectly.
Varneka, a teacher at Bayard Elementary School, said yes on Mother’s Day 2008 (the couple have a daughter, 2-year-old Ava) over Dom Perignon at Harry’s Savoy.
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