The free wedding winners: Alyssa Davis, whose fiancé Jake Walker serves in the Army, and Jessica Woychick and Chance McCahn.
Poplar Springs will give two couples free weddings at the Casanova inn on Friday, Oct. 15.
The wedding venue this summer solicited entries from engaged couples for the giveaway, which includes a wedding with 50 guests, rentals, invitations, catering, décor, a wedding cake, a DJ and photographer, floral design, wedding favors, a wedding dress or suit, and an overnight stay at Poplar Springs Inn.
To enter, each couple submitted a photo and a description of their proposal.
Poplar Springs planned to pick one winner.
A panel of judges interviewed the top three contestants at a cocktail hour reception last Friday afternoon, Aug. 4.
“After interviewing the couples, however, the judges’ plan took a detour,” Ellen Christie, the venue’s wedding coordinator, said in press release. “After their interviews, it was clear that there were two deserving recipients — Jessica Woychick and Chance McCahn, and Alyssa Davis and Jake Walker.”
The inn’s owners decided both couples would win free weddings Oct. 15 — one in the morning, one in the evening.
Together for 10 years, Ms. Woychick and Mr. McCahn are saving to start a business. Even though they dreamed of having a small wedding, the cost had kept it out of reach.
“The financial stress of wedding planning kept us from setting a date,” Ms. Woychick said. “Winning this wedding means the world to us.”
Ms. Davis and Mr. Walker grew up in Fauquier County and have been together since they were 16 years old. Mr. Walker, who entered them in the contest without his fiancée knowing, serves in the Army. He couldn’t attend Friday’s event.
“We weren’t sure we’d ever be able to afford a wedding,” Ms. Davis said. “Now we don’t have to settle for the courthouse!”
The panel of judges included Poplar Springs General Manager Marianne Postma-Harris, Chris Pearmund of Pearmund Cellars, Profecta Marketing CEO Lindsey Forsten and Piedmont Virginian Executive Editor Pam Kamphuis.
“Weddings are costly, and we wanted to create an opportunity for one couple who really needed and deserved it,” Ms. Postma-Harris said. “We were looking to award one couple with the most compelling story.”
“This exciting occasion is unprecedented,” Ms. Christie added. “I’ve been a part of the team at Poplar Springs for three years and have helped many couples celebrate their wedding day.
“I feel honored to be a part of this amazing opportunity for these two couples.”
Mike Eisele, Poplar’s property principal and managing partner, said: “We feel honored to have the opportunity to give two beautiful couples a head start on their new life together.”
Wedding vendors also will participate in the wedding giveaway. The giveaway excludes alcohol, and couples must pay for any guests beyond the first 50.