It was going to be a very small wedding for Taryn Vanderhout and Scott Doucette.
The couple had scraped together a few thousand dollars to cover everything, from Vanderhout's dress to the food.
"We started to scrimp and save," said Vanderhout. "We were just going to do a basic city hall wedding."
So the wedding would have as few as nine guests, just close friends and family. It would be held in a friend's backyard, with another friend snapping photos.
"My parents were going to do all the cooking for us, to keep the budget down," said Doucette.
Then Vanderhout stopped by the Langley Golf Centre with her friends and attendants, checking out wedding dresses at the Head Over Heels Wedding Show.
She was cajoled into entering a contest for a dream wedding.
A few days later, the call came. The couple had won.
"I didn't believe them!" said Vanderhout.
Neither did her friends when she told them.
But from a simple, small ceremony, the Clayton Heights couple will now have a $12,000 ceremony, with 40 to 70 guests, a DJ, cupcakes, professional photos, flowers, and all the trimmings.
It's a big reward for a couple who have faced an uphill battle over the past few years.
Both have battled drug addiction and faced time in prison, a time in their lives Vanderhout refers to as "hell."
Six years ago, they got clean, and stayed together even though they were warned that couples can often backslide together.
"A lot of people said that we would never make it," said Vanderhout.
Having stuck together through the worst, they were putting their lives back on track.
But after losing years to addiction, their financial situation was only slowly recovering.
The wedding prize came like a bolt from the blue.
"All our friends feel like we deserve a real wedding," Doucette said.
Sara Rampfl, one of Vanderhout's bridesmaids, said she's thrilled and honoured for her friends.
"It's an amazing experience for everyone," Rampfl said. They're so glad that all their family members will be able to sit back on the big day and simply take in the wedding. They won't have to lift a finger now.
The total wedding package was advertised as a $10,000 giveaway, but the value is actually closer to $12,000.
It includes funds for a tuxedo, manicure and pedicure, and a one-night stay at the Coast Hotel and Convention Centre, funds for bridesmaid dresses and accessories, wine for wedding attendees, hors d'oeuvres, chocolate dipped strawberries, special wedding invites, flowers, and an officiant.
The bridal party includes Rampfl, Leah Cleevely, and groomsmen Rob Engebretsen and James Bariner.
@ Copyright 2013