The year was 1998. Desiree Munera moved to Clearwater that summer. Her father had died, and she came up from Fort Lauderdale to be nearer to her mother, Minerva.
PALM HARBOR — With only seven days to go before the wedding they'd been planning for two years, Denise "Dee" Rea and Justin Coté were both in a moment of crisis.
WASHINGTON — The face my husband made after I offered up a forkful of wedding cake was like the one a child makes when offered a first taste of an unfamiliar food. A wrinkling of the eyes, lips slightly pursed, his twitching nose betraying the search for comprehension of what this aroma was, exactly.
TAMPA — She went with a couple of girlfriends; he flew to the Bahamas with a buddy. By Saturday afternoon, they were part of a pack of 20 Tampa singles lounging around the Atlantis resort, drinking, splashing, gambling. And kissing.
ST. PETERSBURG — They'd both been in long-term relationships that had ended. Hope trumped experience, and they turned to the Internet.
The day started like every other Saturday. Early riser Dana Hershkowitz, 27, jumped on the bed to wake her grumpy-in-the-morning boyfriend, Ales Bask Hostomsky, 37. He goes by Bask, and you have probably seen his murals all around downtown St. Petersburg.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Emily Younker isn't getting married until next year, but she's already made sure the date doesn't conflict with college football and sent one invitation: to Big Al, the elephant mascot of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide.
SAFETY HARBOR — Meeting someone on the Internet is always a gamble, but Terry Kuhn and Jennifer Miller are born risk takers.
TOWN 'N COUNTRY — It's amazing Brandan Teague didn't pull a muscle straining to stare at Angela Hall working out at the University of Tampa gym.
Maybe the simulated lap dance by the bridal party at a reception gave you pause. You probably cringed when you saw the bride and groom request money through a Facebook wedding invitation. Or you might have suffered whiplash after seeing the picture of a bride who tanned so much that she appeared to be an Oompa …