NOTE: Tara Collette can be reached at 577-7189

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When Tara Collette and her fiancé, Zachary Bryant, began looking at wedding dates, July 7, 2007, seemed to resonate.

Sure, it was Collette’s 24th birthday. And sure, many of their friends and family planned to come to town that week for vacation.

But what really clinched it was the date itself.

7/7/7.

“We’re been lucky in our relationship so far, so I thought this would be a great date,” Collette said. “I thought that would be really cool.”

She isn’t the only one. Across Maine, Saturday, July 7, is proving popular for weddings.

Joan Montgomery, head of the Maine Wedding Association, estimates that 90 to 100 percent of her members – photographers, florists, caterers and others – are booked for July 7 and have been for at least a year.

“Anybody who can get married on that date is getting married,” she said.

Local wedding professionals have seen the rush firsthand. On the Fly Productions, a Lewiston-based DJ company, took its first July 7 booking last summer and now has three weddings planned for that day. Carriage House Plus, a Lewiston reception hall, also booked three weddings and has had to refuse six or seven others. Classic Tuxedo in Auburn has nine weddings scheduled for July 7. In comparison, it only has one slated for July 4th.

At Sweet Pea Designs in Lewiston, florist and wedding planner Laurie Ouellette has six weddings on July 7. Normally, she’d have two or three.

“It is really big,” she said. “Just because it’s the lucky number seven.”

Since July is typically a busy month for weddings in Maine and Saturday is typically a busy day, July 7 likely would have been a popular date no matter what. But many couples consider the three sevens good fortune. Or an interesting novelty. Or, at least, helpful.

“All the brides I’ve talked to say it’s an easy date for the groom to remember,” said Lewiston photographer Dave Gondek, who has turned down at least six weddings that day.

Not everyone’s fully booked for 7/7/7, though.

At the Hilton Garden Inn in Auburn, couples usually reserve the reception space six months in advance. The hotel booked a July 7 wedding over a year ago.

But the hotel still has room for one more wedding. So does the Ramada Inn in Lewiston.

Heather Keach, owner of Heather’s Bakery in Auburn, still has room, too. Well, a little room.

Keach can make five wedding cakes a day. For July 7 she’s set to make four – all were booked six months to a year ago.

“I keep having people come in and say it’s a popular day,” she said.

Diane York, owner of Diane York Weddings and Events in Portland, isn’t hearing that at all.

She has no weddings planned for July 7. She says the wedding professionals she’s talked to haven’t seen any July 7 rush. Even a premiere Portland hotel, she said, is available for that date and offering half off to anyone who wants to book.

“For that place, believe me, it’s huge. And nobody wants it,” she said.

She’s not sure why some national news stories have said July 7 is popular.

“Maybe it’s a rumor,” she said.

But other local wedding professionals say they day is truly busy for them, as are other unusual dates. For some, Aug. 8, 2008 – 8/8/08 – is already booked.

To ensure they got their date, 7/7/07, Collette, a teaching assistant, and Bryant, a bank teller, scheduled everything for their wedding well in advance.

“Even hair appointments. I probably did that a month ago,” Collette said.

Friends and family think a July 7 wedding is a wonderful way for the Lewiston couple to start a marriage. One friend, who has an interest in numerology, told the high school sweethearts that their wedding day will be lucky.

Collette believes it will.

“I think it’s going to be the best day ever,” Collette said. “The date just adds to it.”

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