How it started
Honestly, it was a fluke that I found the contest at all. I recently got engaged in December and my good friend sent me information on a wedding expo she said I HAD to go to. (Trust me, once you get engaged, everything is a must do in the eyes of friends.) I went, thought it was ok, but at the end they drew names for prizes. After pulling at least 5 names of people who were not present, my name was called and I won $500 worth of cake! Who doesn’t need cake (whether you’re engaged or not)?! I was hooked and started researching ways online to win more stuff for my wedding.
I read a post on a wedding website from a seasoned win-a-lot expert and followed her advice to religiously check twitter and blogs everyday for giveaways (note that I was not even thinking about contests yet). Through this, I was able to win a wedding inspiration book, free services at a name change website, and a year supply of diet supplements. I entered a lot of contests, even bookmarking ones that you could comment to win daily until the drawing, but even though I was not winning a lot, the cake was spurring me on.
About two weeks ago, I was randomly searching the internet for giveaways when I stumbled upon a contest to win MY ENTIRE WEDDING! The hotel that was hosting the contest is within walking distance from my apartment. All I had to do was get the most votes by March 13, 2013 on a picture on facebook. In my naiveté, I thought how hard could that be? The city that I live in (St. Petersburg, Florida) has been nicknamed God’s waiting room for the number of elderly that reside here. Therefore, how many young couples are actually around waiting to enter this contest? Furthermore, both my fiancé and I went to large public universities (him, West Virginia University, and me, the University of Michigan) so I felt confident that our networks were strong enough for us to win.
How wrong I was.
The first night I sent out facebook pleas to everyone I knew. I grouped them in categories of how I knew them and posted on one person’s wall then tagged the rest. I had tennis kids, work friends, old dorm mates, school club kids, extended family, etc. This got us around 100 likes.
(At this point I want to say that the contest does not release how many votes people have until around March 6th. Therefore, we can kind of guess what the rankings of the couples are based on how many people have liked the picture, since a lot of people like then vote. However, it is a very rough estimate, since people can vote everyday and only like one).
We were racing to get to first, since another couple was only a little ahead and had started in the morning. We had started at 8 p.m. the first night. Imagine my complete surprise when another couple entered the next morning and absolutely blew ahead. I was definitely concerned but I kept hard at work doing things such as:
- Creating a Facebook Event Page and inviting all my friends. My sister and fiancé also invited all their friends and my bridesmaids invited select friends. We have over 2,000 people who have been invited in all.
- I create funny pictures every day and post it to remind people to vote (since it is a daily vote).
- I started networking my friends so that not only would they vote, but they were in charge of finding three others to vote as well.
Through this competition, I have actually gotten to know people again that I had fallen out of touch with. I thought we were doing pretty well with over 250 likes (and again, who knows how many votes), but the other couple had over 1,100 likes! I read all the blogs to see how I could tell if they were cheating, but I like to believe the best and they may have a better marketing strategy. This is when I ran into the struggle of whether I should bring out the sob story.
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The Sob Story
I think everyone has had major problems in their lives, so I tend not to share this story, but it is easier to share with strangers (you, the reader), than actual people I know. My fiancé is in a lot of debt from college and I mean a staggering amount. I know debt, also having gone to a major public university, but I was still shocked by his. Eventually I learned that his father was going to pay for college originally. However, while in school, his dad got cancer and all their money and more went into treating it. His family is still struggling to this day to make ends meat, since his father is on disability and continues to have health scares.
Weddings are expensive. The average wedding is $27,000 (bet you didn’t know that, unless you’re a girl and engaged). We’ve considered eloping, but my mother would kill us. I come from a big family where everyone is expected to be invited to the wedding. Even the skimpiest of weddings would cost something major, since my family can eat! Therefore, it would be an absolute godsend to win this wedding. I am willing to wait the two years we determined before finding this contest to get married, but it would be nice to get married sooner is all I’m saying.
Why do we not share this story with friends/acquaintances to get the sympathy vote? Because it embarrasses my fiancé and his family. They are still proud people (as they should be) and although some of their close friends know it is bad, they are still not aware how bad. I love that all the people we know who are voting are doing so, because of their relationship with us, not because of pity. However, this does not help us win, so it becomes a struggle of what to do.
If you would like to vote daily until March 13, 2013 you can click this link http://woobox.com/7woa5m/vote/for/238302
If it does not take you directly to our picture, we are the couple in the New Year’s Eve picture. I am Asian American and he is Caucasian.
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