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MATURE Project hosts mock wedding Aug. 26
Director Phillippia "Flip" Faust, left, and educator Gale Sharp show off a few of the mock wedding accessories. - photo by William Brawley
Wedding bells will be ringing on Aug. 26 as the MATURE Project holds its 11th annual Mock Wedding at the Rockdale County Auditorium at 6 p.m.

The event, held as part of the MATURE (Marriage Appreciation Training Uplifting Relationship Education) Project's curriculum to teach healthy relationship skills and to help students avoid teen pregnancy, is open to the public, and families and friends of participating students are encouraged to attend.

MATURE Project Director Phillippia "Flip" Faust said they were inspired to hold the first mock wedding at Heritage High School more than a decade ago because many of the students they worked with had never been to a wedding.

"They didn't see people get married. Even their moms, grandmothers, aunties, and people that they knew were just not married. And those people that they knew who had been married were no longer married. They really didn't believe in marriage, they didn't aspire to marriage," said Faust.

"I wanted to demonstrate on a small scale what it felt like to walk down an aisle and have people applaud you and give you blessings."

Students will also learn about the origins of wedding traditions, such as throwing rice and wearing a veil. "So they could put together that it wasn't just happenstance, but it came out of family traditions, cultural traditions, and it had a meaning," said Faust.

The event, which will have about 25-30 students participating, is sponsored in part by David's Bridal, Savvi's, and Simply Marvelous Weddings, which is contributing the auditorium decorations. Afterwards, cookies and punch will be served.

The MATURE Project presents classes and workshops at more than 60 locations a semester in the Rockdale, Newton, and DeKalb county area and teaches about 2500 students a year. For information on how to volunteer or become a sponsor, or on the MATURE project in general, call (770) 918-3659 or visit