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WEDDINGS Continued from page 21


Thanks to Google, McCarley says business is booming. She’s presently planning a wedding via Skype for a couple studying in Europe.


“I’m having more and more brides inquire from far away, including those who are looking at Durant as a halfway point,” she says. “Other brides are look- ing for an outdoor setting and are not really attached to the area itself.” Donna Findley, owner of Findley’s Lakeside Resort in Wagoner, says she frequently hosts out-of-town couples. “A lot of the couples would like to


have a destination wedding—the Baha- mas or somewhere—but they can’t afford it,” she says, “or their family doesn’t want them to. So they go to the water close to home.”


Findley’s, in the Lake Region Electric Co-op service area, is also popular, she says, with couples who have moved out of state but return to be married near their families.


“I see a lot of that,” she says. “We plan them via email. Sometimes the family visits [the venue] and sometimes they don’t.” Ruth McMillin, director of Skelly Lodge in Catoosa, Okla., said the ma- jority of her business comes from the Oklahoma City and Stillwater areas.


“People like it out here because it’s relaxing,” she says. “When you’re at the lodge, you see nothing else—no other buildings, just trees, hills and deer. There are lots of deer out here.” In peak seasons, McMillin said, she sometimes hosts three weddings per weekend, with many choosing to stay overnight in the 8,000-square-foot mansion.


“Many of the brides do it as a desti na- tion setting,” she says. “It’s built way up on a cliff, where you have the wonder ful view of everything around you. It’s very scenic.”


Cheryl Jones, owner of Bridle Creek, saw the need for a fl exible venue after struggling to fi nd a place for her daugh-


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