Evening Post makes £15,000 wedding dream come true for Bristol couple
BREATHS were held as the Evening Post's newspaper sales manager pulled a golden envelope from his pocket to decide who won a dream £15,000 wedding.
At a tense ceremony in the Mercure Holland House Hotel and Spa yesterday, 10 hopeful couples clasped hands on their fancy seats, waiting nervously to hear who had collected the most votes from coupons in the Evening Post to win a sensational wedding this summer.
As the names were announced there was a moment's silence as the result sank in – then the tears and euphoria started for the lucky pair sitting at the front of the room.
Winners Kirstie Ford and Mark Perrett, from Whitchurch, rose slowly to their feet in shock before excitement took hold and they embraced to a round of applause from their magnanimous competitors.
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Ms Ford, 23, and her 25-year-old fiancee Mark were so determined to win the competition they raised nearly twice as many votes as the second-placed runners-up.
And the effort that went into capturing those 42,000 votes was evident in their reaction to their win.
"I can't believe it," exclaimed Mark, wiping a tear away from his partner's eye. "I've never won anything in my life."
After researching last year's competition Mark and Kirstie set out to reach the 60,000-vote mark and as a result they were convinced they had not collected enough to win the prize.
But their efforts trawling round newsagents buying up copies of the Post, setting up a website appealing for people to send them coupons and pestering neighbours and loved ones to help clearly paid off.
"We were even going round the black boxes looking for coupons," admitted Mark, an aviation security guard at Bristol Airport.
"It is the beginning of a good year," he declared, having been made redundant before Christmas but now in a new job and with £15,000 worth of wedding to savour.
He said: "It started as a bit of a joke. Then we decided if we were going to do it, we should do it properly.
"We've got a mortgage and other responsibilities at the moment so we just couldn't have had a big wedding without this."
Ms Ford, who works in claims for a health insurance company, said they had to thank their family and couldn't wait to get home to tell them.
"It was a group effort," she said. "We very nearly didn't enter. It was my mum pestering me.
"It's a great feeling."
The happy couple met after mutual friends set up a blind date and they have been engaged for five years.
Mark proposed during an evening out at the cinema and they now live together in Whitchurch.
The prize, offered by Mercure Bristol Holland House Hotel and Spa, includes a civil ceremony, three-course wedding breakfast and evening buffet for 45 guests, toast drink, half-a-bottle of wine per person for the wedding breakfast and a complimentary night's stay for the bride and groom on the night of the wedding, which will take place on Friday, August 20.
Every detail of the wedding will be taken care of, from the wedding dress, from Charisma Bridal Wear, to the decorations, by Aisle Be Yours.