Without a doubt, weddings can be a bit pricey, especially if you and your groom or bride-to-be only make a combined salary of $32,000 a year. That's why a Virginia Beach hairdresser decided to auction off an opportunity to be a bridesmaid in her April 19, 2009 wedding.It turns out that 23-year-old Kelly Gray and fiance Karl Gau, who were looking to keep their wedding budget at or below $7,000, will now have a much more elaborate wedding than originally planned thanks to a major soft-drink company. The idea sparked media attention across the country, as well as the attention of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, which placed the winning bid of $5,700, then upped the ante to $10,000. Gray says she just wanted to have a nice wedding and needed to make up for the costs. Gray says she, "was contemplating doing a bake sale and my bridesmaid said: 'We need to auction something (on EBay). There's Dr. Pepper cans and Cheetos bags for sale, so let's just go ahead and do a bridesmaid'. They decided that, not only would the winner get the chance to be in Kelly's wedding, they'd also receive a dress and shoes, as well as an invitation, plus one, to the reception. If a man happened to be the winner, they'd supply the tuxedo. Little did she know her idea would get so much attention. Appearing on NBC's TODAY Show with three of her bridesmaids, Gray explained, "I put it up for a penny, and I thought, it wouldn't sell at a penny, I thought that was it. When I started seeing some bids, I couldn't believe it."When the bidding closed at 7:27 p.m. on Wednesday, the winning bid was $5,700. The winner: "drpeppersnapple".Gray and her fiance had planned to keep the wedding budget under $7,000 by using an iPod, instead of a DJ and baking their own wedding cake. Now they can plan for something a bit bigger.
Along with providing the beverages for the April 19, 2009 wedding, the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group will choose Kelly's bridesmaid. When asked who they'd like to fill the role, Gray and her bridesmaids agreed, Ellen DeGeneres would make a perfect choice. A smiling Gray explained, DeGeneres "would dance and have fun...I could see her dancing down the aisle."