- Associated Press - Saturday, April 19, 2014

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. (AP) - The bride wore white, with a veil and a flowing gown.

She also wore a nervous grin, the expression of someone who can’t believe what is happening.

That’s because the bride, Paige Collins, had just been given a $35,000 wedding.

In an historical farm recently, she married ArmySgt. Cody Bauman in a ceremony complete with flowers, drinks, horse-drawn carriage, DJ for the reception dance and food for 130 guests.

“This is really amazing,” said the bride, gazing around the party at the Hope Glen Farm in Cottage Grove.

She and the groom had planned a bare-bones courthouse ceremony, which was all they could afford. Instead, a new group called the Fairy Godmother Project Minnesota organized and paid for a wedding that left the couple nearly speechless.

“This just seems way too good to be true,” Bauman said. “Why would anyone do this for us?”

The idea for the Godmother Project, which pays for weddings for people in the military, came to Terri Uy-Lennon last fall.

Uy-Lennon, owner of Uy-Lennon Floral and Events in East Bethel, met the bride-to-be while working on another wedding-related job.

While asking about flowers for her wedding, Uy-Lennon said, Collins explained that her fiance was a soldier stationed in Afghanistan. The bride-to-be said they didn’t have much money or time to plan a wedding.

“Her story touched me. I have a soft spot for military families,” Uy-Lennon told the St. Paul Pioneer Press (http://bit.ly/1np8j2L).

So she approached a friend, Amy Coppersmith who owns Coppersmith Photography of Rogers. “I asked Amy, ‘Why don’t we adopt her and become her fairy godmother?’ “

They played with the idea, and soon the Fairy Godmother Project was hatched.

Coppersmith met with Collins. “She was struggling to get it together,” said Coppersmith. “We told her, ‘We want to be your fairy godmother.’ “

Recalled Collins: “I was kind of shocked.”

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