June, of course, is the busiest month for weddings. My friend Clara has been feverishly planning her daughter Faith's wedding.

She clued me in on how the plans were going.

"All the invitations have been sent out," she said. "We expect 500 people. It will be a church wedding, and then the reception will be at the country club."

"It sounds like the wedding of the year," I said.

"We want our own caterer because the club's chef is not up to it," she said. "And we are having the cake made by Balducci. It will be four tiers, with likenesses of Faith and Waldo, the groom, on top."

"Tell me more."

"Faith has selected a Vera Wang off-the-shoulder ivory wedding gown. The bridesmaids will have pink ones."

"That's sounds great."

"We have ordered flowers for the wedding party and, of course, a beautiful bouquet for the bride. Faith says she wants to have flowers on all the tables. It costs a lot, but she told me she hopes to get married only once.

"We have signed up Peter Duchin's orchestra for the dance music."

I said: "The rings? Let me guess. They're from Tiffany."

"Right. The same place where Waldo bought the diamond engagement ring," Clara said.

I told Clara I was impressed. "It's going to cost you."

She replied, "Yes, but it's an investment."

"An investment?"

"Faith is going to be a runaway bride. Jennifer Wilbanks of Georgia ran away days before her wedding, and when they finally caught up with her she got $500,000 to write a book. If Faith does the same thing, it will not only pay for the wedding, but she and Waldo can use the rest of the money as a down payment on a house."

I said, "The publicity will be better than just a wedding notice in the paper."

Clara continued: "We have it all planned. We'll report Faith missing. Then she'll call in and say she was kidnapped. The FBI will be looking for her everywhere."

"Where will she run away to?"

"Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, Niagara Falls. We're keeping our options open," Clara said. "But finally she'll turn herself in and be reunited with Waldo and our family, and with the book advance live happily ever after."

"Why the kidnapping story?"

"No publisher is going to pay $500,000 if a runaway bride just runs away."

"Katie Couric has done an entire hour on Jennifer Wilbanks. Who will you approach?"

"We'll talk to Diane Sawyer or Barbara Walters. The contract says Faith will sit down with only one anchor person."

"Will Waldo go along with all this?" I asked.

"He's part of the package. He loves Faith, and he's against a big wedding in the first place."

"What will Faith and Waldo do about their wedding gifts?"

"They'll keep them. The guests can brag that they were at a June wedding that never was."

I said: "I can't wait. Leaving a groom at the altar always makes me cry."

(c) 2005, Tribune Media Services