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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Mac native wins $30,000 wedding

  • The average cost of a wedding is almost $28,000 according to www.theknot.com.
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  • The average cost of a wedding is almost $28,000 according to www.theknot.com.
    Coupled with this bill is the stress of choosing where to have it, what to wear, how to serve guests and many other difficult decisions.
    For Robin Clarke McPherson High School graduate 1996, however, she can throw all those cares away just like her wedding bouquet.
    Clarke and fiancé Jeremiah Smith recently were selected to receive a $30,000 wedding in Denver. Embassy Suites Denver-Downtown, sponsor of the contest, will host and foot the bill.
    In exchange, its Facebook fans will make almost all the decisions about the couple’s special day — from the cake to the invitations, and even the bride’s dress.
    Clarke said winning the contest is heaven.
    “It’s so overwhelming all the choices I didn’t even know existed for everything,” she said. “I’m just not the kind of girl that had her wedding planned her whole life, so this is really awesome people are picking out stuff. It’s just been a huge relief.”
    Since the Valentines Day announcement, Facebook fans have already chosen the invitations.
    Next on the list is her dress.
    Even narrowing down a general style to place for voting was difficult for Clarke, who is admittedly indecisive.
    “They asked me what style of dress I liked, and I didn’t even know what any of them were,” she said. “We (Smith and Clarke) are probably the most clueless couple ever.”
    Clarke enjoys the idea of others making her decision so much she even asked if the fans could pick the reception’s main entree, which the contest organizers were letting the couple decide.
    The organizers said no.
    But the couple isn’t complaining. The $30,000 ticket includes flowers, decorations, wedding cake and dress, tuxedo rental, photography and a catered reception for 100 guests.
    This does not include gratuity or some other wedding costs, such as bridesmaid dresses.
    “It’s been really fun and exciting,” Clarke said. “We know we’re really lucky to have this opportunity, and we know it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It’s pretty awesome.”
    This chance was made possible by the Embassy Suites’ Win a Wedding Giveaway. Contestants had to tell their story and explain why they deserved to win.
    Clarke and Smith decided to tell their story through a video. The couple has a series of humorous outtakes followed by a slide show of pictures of themselves, narrated by an auto-tuning rap by Clarke’s brother.
    Page 2 of 2 - Their story includes how they met three and a half years ago, their first date — which was skydiving — and that Clarke’s indecisiveness necessitates help with decisions.
    Three couples were chosen as finalists, and Facebook fans voted on the winner.
    Clarke received the phone Valentine’s Day while she was driving home from work.
    “We didn’t find out until the end of the day,” she said. “I was thinking there was no way we could have won. Then they called. I almost wrecked, and I was screaming. It was pretty crazy.”
    The wedding is scheduled for May 18 at the Embassy Suites in Denver. Until then, votes can be cast at www.facebook.com/ESDenverCCHotel. The couple’s video is also on the site.
    “I don't even know how to explain it,” Clarke said. “Who really wins a wedding and doesn't have to plan it? It’s perfect. I’m still soaking it in.”
    Contact Jenae Pauls at jenae.pauls@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel
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