It started a few months ago, when Preview Editor Jamie Saxon decided it would be a lark to get some women friends together and all put on their wedding dresses to watch the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29. After all, you only get to wear your wedding dress for one day and it seems such a shame. She mentioned it to Mary Harris, a wedding planner. Harris said, let’s take it a step further — we’ll get a room at the Peacock Inn and have tea and crumpets and a limo to drive us around.

This lark morphed into this week’s cover story. Then Saxon decided to invite Harris and two other women for a Vanity Fair-style cover shoot. They scoured their rolodexes for two other women who would be willing and, um, able to jump into their wedding dresses. A little networking quickly turned up Cricket Allen and Jodi Stasse (see page 35 for more on this foursome).

For the venue Saxon approached the picturesque Inn at Bowman’s Hill in New Hope, which she profiled in last year’s cover story on romantic places for couples on Valentine’s Day (Princess Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, once stayed there, and that suite is now named the Regal Suite) but the photographer felt it was too small; something grander was needed.

Then Harris suggested Jasna Polana, perhaps the closest thing Princeton has to a castle. Saxon garnered a green light with the provision that the party be in and out in three hours, and it had to be on Saturday, April 16, from 8 to 11 a.m. CosmoBleu kindly opened its doors at 7 a.m. on the day of, to get everyone ready for their close-up. And David Kelly Crow, the photographer, made four brides’ wish come true — they got to be princesses for another day.

#b#To the Editor: DEP’s ‘Waiver Rule’ Is Good News#/b#

Something to cheer about . . . Too many times we have heard from businesses that the DEP is the greatest obstacle to growth in New Jersey. Horror stories have been conveyed to us by developers and companies about how costly and time consuming it is just to get a straight answer from the regulators and then apply their conditions to applications. All too often, businesses have resorted to leaving the state and taking jobs with them.

Well now for the first time that anyone can remember, business has something to look forward to if the “common sense” approach to environmental regulation is applied by the DEP through what is known as the “Waiver Rule.” The Waiver Rule contains a provision to allow for alternative compliance measures that would provide the same or better results at lower costs.

For the first time, it seems the business community has something to cheer about when it comes to the DEP. At a public meeting held by the DEP, I had the opportunity to testify on behalf of the Chambers of Commerce United for Business Growth in support of this business-friendly initiative. The Chambers collectively spoke for thousands of business owners and hundreds of thousands of employees throughout New Jersey.

Common sense is what the business community needs from the DEP. Waivers cannot be used to circumvent or ignore requirements under the law and will not diminish the value of environmental protection in New Jersey. However, environmental rules can be applied as originally intended and not in a manner that restricts responsible development. This is a rule that business can support. This is an initiative we should all stand behind.

Robert D. Prunetti, President & CEO, Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce

#b#April: Sexual Assault Awareness Month#/b#

Sexual assault continues to be one of the most underreported crimes in the United States. “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” began as a grassroots movement in the 1970s, comprised mainly of women engaging in protests such as “Take Back the Night” marches. By the late 1980s, one week in April was selected to promote national awareness. “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” was first officially observed in April, 2001. The month is observed by wearing a teal colored ribbon.

Much about sexual assault has changed since the days when it was not considered a crime or when it was something people knew was a problem, but dared not speak about. Victims are no longer hiding in the shadows. The voices of survivors are being heard, families are being protected, and the criminal justice community is trained on the complex responses to sexual assault. Yet, there is still a lot of work to be done.

One critical issue still affecting women and girls is acquaintance rape and its lack of prosecution. In a survey of more than 6,000 students at 32 colleges and universities in the U.S., data showed that one in four women had been victims of rape or attempted rape and 84 percent of victims knew their attacker. Yet only five percent had reported it to the police. It is so important for women and girls to educate themselves to the facts about sexual assault and prevention for law enforcement to strengthen our partnership in preventing this awful crime.

For information about sexual assault support and prevention contact Womanspace Inc. It is the leading nonprofit agency in Mercer County that provides a comprehensive array of services to individuals and families impacted by domestic and sexual violence and dedicated to improving the quality of life for women and their families. Please call the 24-hour hotline for domestic violence and sexual assault crisis assistance at 609-394-9000 or the administrative offices at 609-394-0136 or visit online at

Patricia Hart, Executive director, Womanspace

Editor’s note: Womanspace will sponsor its annual Barbara Boggs Sigmund Award fundraiser on Thursday, May 12, at the Westin Hotel in Forrestal Village. Call 609-394-0136 or visit Womanspace online:

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