published Friday, July 19th, 2013

Chattanooga area bride, bridesmaids to be on TLC show

Cassie Benford, right, is shown with two of her bridesmaids: Danielle Mincey, left, and Justin McArthur.
Cassie Benford, right, is shown with two of her bridesmaids: Danielle Mincey, left, and Justin McArthur.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Cassie Benford, left, is shown with bridesmaid Hannah Barrett.
Cassie Benford, left, is shown with bridesmaid Hannah Barrett.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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This story is featured in today's TimesFreePress newscast.

Simply put, bride-to-be Cassie Benford did not want to choose between her good friends Hannah Barrett or Danielle Mincey when it came time to choose bridesmaids.

She's known Barrett since their high school days in Ringgold, Ga., and she's known Mincey for about five years.

"I'm really close to both of them," she says.

Benford wanted them both to stand beside her on her special day. The problem is Barrett and Mincey don't like each other. At all.

And, there is a third bridesmaid, Justin McArthur, a young man with a strong opinion of his own, which Benford says adds to the drama.

If it sounds like the makings of a reality show episode, the folks at TLC thought so as well. The four will be featured on tonight's episode of "Say Yes To The Dress: Bridesmaids" at 9 p.m. on the network.

The reality show follows brides and their bridesmaids as they search for dresses, but it also focuses on the turmoil that often surrounds the endeavor.

It was Mincey who suggested applying to be on the show.

“I didn't want to do homework one night, so I filled out the form as a goof,” she says.

Producers heightened some of the drama between her and Barrett, but Mincey says it is true that they do not like each other.

“She didn't like me after we met and she voiced her opinion on Twitter and I saw it,” Mincey said.

Barrett, who did not immediately want to comment on the situation, said on Friday that she feels the show is overshadowing her friend's big moment.

"This just isn't as big a deal as everyone is trying to make it," she says.

"My friend's engagement is being defined by one episode of a silly TV show, and I just can't abide that."

Filming the show took all day, Mincey says, but it was a fun experience that she would do again.

Benford knew her friends didn't get along, but "at the end the day they are going to shut up and deal with it," she said on Wednesday.

"They can stand next to each other for 15 minutes [during the ceremony], and then be nice for three hours. We are adults," she says.

A news release from TLC says that, in the show, Benford is searching for a long purple dress but she cannot focus when trouble erupts between her two best friends. Hannah and Danielle are extremely vocal about their hatred for one another and they threaten to ruin the bride's appointment.

Most of the action takes place at Atlanta's Bridals by Lori.

During the taping of the show, Benford, who didn't want to give too much away in a telephone interview, says having the cameras around heightened the tension between her friends, but that everything was unscripted.

"I feel like the arguments and issues were real, but that if we had been shopping in a normal setting, it would have been different because Hannah and Danielle would have stayed away from each other."

Benford would do it all over again as well.

"We all thought it would be fun, and it was," Benford says. "I'd do it again. I'm not sure if they would."

She adds that she is planning on having a small viewing party tonight, but that Barrett has said she would not be there.

Contact staff writer Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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