Within a week, Karyn Sampson and Mac Luciani have gone from dreaming about their wedding to feverishly planning for it, after the pair was announced as winners of the “A Wedding to Remember” contest held by the Westin Copley Place and Fox 25.
The competition, which awards one military couple an all-inclusive Veterans Day wedding, honeymoon, and housewarming gifts, began early this month, when Sampson, a Kingston resident, and Luciani, a Scituate native, entered the contest.
Their application told a story of college love at first sight, a surprise marriage proposal on a cliff in Australia, and their rescue of a dog while Luciani was deployed in Afghanistan as a US Army infantryman. The dog, Gemma, now lives with them.
On Sept. 12, the pair was announced as one of three finalists in the contest. From then on, the couple urged friends and family to vote for them in an online poll. The results of that voting would be combined with the decision of judges to choose the winners.
In the end, Sampson and Luciani pulled in more than half of the votes cast. And although the couple had led the voting since they were announced as finalists, Sampson said she didn’t truly believe they had won until she received the call.
“There was that chance that the judges would pick [someone else], so I wasn’t confident until I got the call, and then I got the call,” she said in a phone interview Thursday. “They were just like, ‘Clearly you were the viewers’ favored couple,’ . . . They said we got over 16,000 votes, [out of] 31,000, so that was exciting.”
Judges for the competition, including Westin Copley Place general manager Mike Jorgensen, said that making a choice wasn’t easy.
“We had three very deserving couples, so it was extremely difficult to only be able to choose one,’’ Jorgensen said. “Ultimately, it came down to a combination of what the judges felt was the most moving love story and the final results of the online poll. Based on both criteria, we’ve decided to give Mac and Karyn ‘A Wedding To Remember.’ ”
Now the whirlwind is in full force, with Sampson picking out her dress, meeting with wedding planners, and sending out invitations
“Everyone is so excited. None of us ever imagined anything would ever happen to anyone in our family like this,” Sampson said. “And we want to say thank you to everyone who voted and participated in the voting. . . . It was everyone else who helped us win.”