NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – In planning her wedding, Marisol (Perez) Porter wanted two things: a lavish reception at Crossroads Theatre and to have the occasion televised.
She got both.
Porter, 29, and her 32-year-old husband, John, who wed on Feb. 12, tied as winners of the “Four Weddings” contest that premiered on the TLC cable channel on May 6.
It was the unique setting provided by Crossroads Theatre that led to the win, said a representative for TLC. The show will air again on Friday, May 27, the station rep said.
“Marisol’s reception was a first; she held it on stage at a theater,” a TLC spokeswoman said. “She also arranged a red carpet entrance to the venue, a ‘paparazzo’ photographer to greet guests and a dance performance during the cocktail hour.”
“Four Weddings” pits four brides against each other in a contest for the most unique and imaginative wedding and reception.
Those who competed with Porter, two others of whom also wed in New Jersey and one in New York, were required to attend each other’s weddings and receptions and to submit critiques and grades.
Porter will share the winnings with Ann (Carver) Quackenbush, 30, of Milltown, both of whom with their spouses will enjoy a resort honeymoon at Marco Island, Fla., including a luxury suite with private cabana and romantic excursions, TLC said.
The two newlywed couples, who have become fast friends, also will split a cash prize.
The two brides, who were the first to tie on the show, had identical scores in all four categories: dress, 22, venue, 26; food, 26, and experience 23, for a total of 97 points out of a possible 100. In the future, the brides will break any tie votes by also scoring the top winners on originality, the TLC spokeswoman said.
Porter, a New Brunswick native, says the city has truly shaped her life, from her memories of attending a performance at Crossroads Theatre as a youngster, to meeting her husband years later at Delta’s, a popular downtown restaurant specializing in southern cuisine.
When planning her wedding, she turned to theknot.com for ideas, and was notified of a casting call for the TLC show.
“I happened to get an e-mail that TLC was casting brides in this area,” said Porter, who works for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and exchanged vows with her self-employed husband at Community Baptist Church in Somerset.
Staging her reception at Crossroads, part of the New Brunswick Cultural Center on Livingston Avenue, she was assisted by the full stage and lighting crew for an unforgettable production.
The Porters had their first dance as husband and wife on the theater stage, where guests later joined them, turning it into a dance floor.
“Not many people get to do something like this,” Porter said of the televised competition, “plus we got a honeymoon out of it.” The Porters have a year to take their trip, which they have not yet scheduled. “We can’t wait to go.”
The crew at Crossroads also enjoyed working with Porter, said Tracey O’Reggio, theater rental manager for the New Brunswick Cultural Center. “Marisol was so wonderful to work with. She knew she wanted a certain look.”
The Porters used the entire venue, with a reception and dining in the open airy lobby and a second-floor balcony, the walls lined with blown-up photos of the couple.
Crossroads has been staging private events since 2007, O’Reggio said. “Our calendar fills up very fast,” she said.
TLC is currently casting in the New York City metropolitan area, including New Jersey, as well as in Chicago, the spokeswoman said.
Brides can apply on TLC.com/fourweddings by clicking on "Get on the Show."