Speed dating making its Hartselle debut

By Staff
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Give Terri Appleton six minutes and she will give you a fast, fun and safe way to meet single professionals just like yourself.
Appleton is the operator of Hartselle's only speed dating service, Casual Connections, which will hold its first event Saturday, Dec. 4, 6-8 p.m. at the Hartselle Wedding Chapel.
The event will feature a meet-and-greet with appetizers and door prizes prior to a 10-date speed dating session.
All participants, ages 30-45, will be screened prior to the event.
"Speed dating is for productive, adult members of society who just don't have time for traditional dating, are tired of the bar scene, or have met the same singles over and over again through their church groups with no luck," Appleton explained. "Speed dating lets people meet other people like themselves in a relaxed, safe environment without the awkwardness or obligation of a blind date or similar situation."
After pre-registration, speed dating begins with each person being assigned a card and a number. Before the actual dating begins, singles are treated to a meet-and-greet mixer to enjoy appetizers and chances for door prizes while mingling.
Afterwards, the speed dating session begins and each single has a six-minute "date" with 10 other singles. Participants use only their first names and are not allowed to ask specific personal information, like place of employment or residence.
At the end of each mini-date, a bell rings and each person takes a moment to mark their card by indicating whether they would be interested in meeting that person again for the possibility of a real date, friendship or on a business level.
"Even if you don't feel any chemistry with another person as a potential date, you might meet a lawyer and need legal services or just like someone as a friend," Appleton said.
"At the end of the speed dating, each person returns their cards to me and I'll let them know who their potential matches are and on what level within a few days. The rest is up to them at that point."
Though happily married for 10 years, helping others with romance is somewhat of a family tradition for Appleton. She is the daughter of Bill Partridge, owner and operator of Hartselle Wedding Chapel.
"There was apprehension about the wedding chapel when my father opened it three years ago, but it has become a very successful business," Appleton said. "I know there may be apprehension about speed dating, too, but I hope it will be just as successful. This is something that has never been offered before in the Hartselle and Decatur area. But, after talking with many of my married friends, they all knew someone who needed a dating experience like this. So the response has been positive so far."
After months of research and planning, Appleton and her assistant, Carmen Williams, decided to target the 30-45 age group because they felt it would include the largest dating population for the Hartselle/Decatur area.
"Most people who fall into this category work fulltime, are divorced and have children," Appleton explained. "They want to meet someone, but they just don't have the time to date. Speed dating means a little time, no commitment, no worries, and a comfortable environment to meet single professionals with the same purpose."
Appleton said, depending on the success of this first Casual Connections event, speed dating events for different age groups and Christian singles church groups will likely take place on a monthly basis.
Registration is required at a cost of $30 per participant. To register, email hartsellechapel@charter.net or call 318-3288. Registration deadline for the Dec. 4 event is Wednesday, Dec. 1. Dress is office casual. Appleton welcomes questions and visits prior to the speed dating event.

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