University of Delaware
Office of Public Relations
The Messenger
Vol. 5, No. 1/1995
Helping the cost-conscious bride-to-be

     When Sharon Blahitka Naylor was a freshman at Delaware, she
wrote seven letters to American servicemen stationed overseas.
She'd never had much contact with people in the military, but the
program-sponsored by Dear Abby to spread cheer to American men
and women away from their families at the holidays-seemed like a
good one.
     It turned out to be especially good for Naylor.
     Less than four years after mailing the letters-and just two
months after graduating from Delaware in 1991-she married Ron
Naylor, who had been stationed in South Korea when he picked hers
from a massive pile of letters.
     Perhaps it didn't come as any great surprise to friends and
family that Naylor would have written such letters. Since the
third grade, she's had her sights set on a writing career.
     Today, Naylor is a free-lance writer who pens for national
women's and teens' magazines. She's also written a book, 1001
Ways to Save Money...and Still Have a Dazzling Wedding, that is
sold in bookstores around the country.
     Published by Contemporary Books in Chicago, 1001 Ways is a
step-by-step guide for brides-to-be. Naylor spent four months
during her senior year at Delaware-while also earning a 4.0 grade
point average as an English major-writing the first draft of the
book. At the same time, she was planning her wedding-a formal
church ceremony and reception with a five-course dinner and
     "I was lucky. My dad offered to pay for the wedding, but it
was my job to figure out what I wanted. I tried to find the best
values, and I did a lot of comparison shopping," Naylor says. For
example, she found the $2,000 gown she wanted for $300 at a small
bridal shop.
     A helpful book that covers every aspect of planning a
wedding, 1001 Ways begins with an introduction called "General
Cost-Cutting Rules." The book's 43 chapters cover every detail to
cross a bride-to-be's mind.
     "My editor didn't expect the book to have a second printing,
but now it's in its fifth printing. When I got my first copy, I
cried. It was something I'd been dreaming about and working on
for a long time. The first time I walked into a Barnes and Noble
bookstore and saw 10 of them there on the shelf, that was really
exciting, too," Naylor says.
     The talented 20-something, who gathered information for the
book from personal experience and interviews with friends and
recent brides, will appear on Lifetime Television's Our Home as a
wedding expert.
     Sharon and Ron Naylor's romance is storybook. They began as
pen pals, although it wasn't long until the friendship blossomed
to include telephone calls and videos and presents sent through
the mail. The long-distance love affair became reality when they
met for the first time in the summer of 1990-2-1/2 years after
Naylor sent her holiday greeting. After one day together, the
couple was engaged. One year later, they were married.
     The Naylors have moved a number of times since they married
because Ron, now a military police officer, gets transferred
frequently. Although they now live in Fort Dix, N.J., they expect
to relocate soon because the government is closing the base.
     Traveling is not a problem for Naylor, whose job moves with
her. With a computer, fax and telephone, she can do her work
anywhere. She writes from, and about, life experiences. Her
stories about relationships, finances and family and health
issues have appeared in national magazines, including Woman's
Day, Bride's, Better Homes and Gardens, Complete Woman and Teen.
     She keeps abreast of trends by talking with friends and
family members and by reading about 20 magazines each month. In
addition to her magazine and book writing, she plans to branch
out into other avenues. A screenplay she wrote is making the
rounds with agents in Los Angeles, she plans to write a
children's book and she's considering developing a cookbook.
      Naylor says she plans to give a percentage of her first
royalty check from 1001 Ways to the University's English
department. "I have to acknowledge where I started and learned
how to write," she says.
                               -Marylee Sauder, Delaware '83