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Win a free dream wedding in ‘Lemonade Wedding’ giveaway

By Staff | Jun 8, 2010

According to recent surveys, the average wedding in the United States last year cost $19,581. Area romantics may hope for a dream wedding, but with the economy turning sour for many, local businesses and a non-profit corporation are planning a special giveaway to make a dream wedding a reality for a local couple.
With the economy still in recovery, there are a lot of people who really can’t afford to have their dream wedding — or any wedding at all, said Kirsten O’ Donnell, Goodwill Industries director of public relations. “So we are partnering to give away a wedding with the help of local businesses.”
The main sponsors are Studio Six Eleven Events and Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida. They want to help a deserving couple “turn lemons into lemonade” for themselves and 50 guests, at the beautiful Edison & Ford Winter Estates.
Couples need to apply for the wedding giveaway at select Goodwill Retail & Donation Centers in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, and Hendry counties, or enter online at lemonadewedding.com.
The giveaway contest has started, and the deadline for entry ends on June 25. The winner will be announced on July 16, and the ceremony and festivities will be held Sunday, Sept. 12.
This is a way to help those who want to get married, but have been unable to because of financial obstacles, job loss, health risks, or other complications, said O’Donnell.
“We came up with the concept of the Lemonade Wedding by experiencing the struggles of starting a new business in this tough economy,” said Rachael Schoof, design consultant at Studio Six Eleven. “We can only imagine what couples are going through right now trying to find a way to plan and pay for weddings.”
“We’ve had strong support from the community and a delightful reaction from the public so far,” said partner and Studio Six Eleven Design Consultant Calleen Bonilla.
Bonilla and Schoof came up with the idea, and it is snowballing.
Original sponsors they recruited include Black Tie Tuxedos, Connie Duglin Specialty Linens & Chair Cover Rental, Duquette Photography, Elegant Affairs, Elle Events, Fort Myers Floral Designs, the Heitman House, Hotel Indigo Fort Myers, Kakes By Karen, LLC, Model T Chauffeur Services, Patty s Flower Shop, Provident Jewelry, and Shari Brownie Photography.
“We’ve had continuous support once people learned about the idea, and now have a new sponsor who just contacted us from Bridal Evening Gown Outlet, Kathy Weniger in Cape Coral, and she offered to donate a wedding dress.”
Another sponsor that just signed up is Faces By Frohmberg Salon International from Naples Bay Resort who will do makeup. More sponsorship opportunities are still available.
“We hope to get enough support to be able to give away more weddings in the future.”
Their firm specializes in event planning. “We do everything from interior deign to event design,” Bonilla said. “We realized how tough it is in this economy to afford a wedding when we started our business.” She and Schoof are based out of Fort Myers.
“And The Estates is a beautiful setting for a wedding,” she said.
The story has made the Goodwill national news, and bloggers and wedding sites have picked it up nationally.
“Before the actual wedding we are putting on a Lemonade Social, for all Southwest Florida brides to come meet the vendors, a date to be announced.
Couples have been sending their love stories, and from those they will pick the top three, and then a panel of judges will decide the winner.”
Goodwill associate Peggy Garces posed with a wedding gown and veil at North Cape Goodwill Store on Pine Island Road. “I think this is a wonderful opportunity for a deserving couple to make their commitment to each other.
Goodwill Shift Manager Jenn Brown agreed. “My cashiers are telling everyone about it, and we have had several very interested people apply.”
The Pine Island store on the border of Cape Coral and North Fort Myers is one of the select Goodwill locations that have the entry forms and information. At stores that are not participating, customers can apply on line.
For more information about the Lemonade Wedding giveaway, visit lemonadewedding.com or email info@lemonadewedding.com.