Some folks usually ask me, “How did you guys manage to execute your wedding so soon after engagement?” The answer is God’s Favor & a local competition. Chris and I entered a local competition which provides a chance at a grand prize of a dream wedding – majority expenses paid! Unbelievably, the competition is here again and the nostalgia is real- this time last year we were in the swing of things. Here’s the 411 on what the competition is and what we did.
Forever I Do is hosted by Nation Publishing Barbados, one of the local newspaper agencies, this is what we had to do to enter.
- Write our love story. We had to talk about how long we’ve been together, what makes our love so special, the proposal and what our ideal wedding would be like. The funny thing about this is: Chris didn’t want to enter the competition initially because he was mainly concerned about the publicity it would bring but I managed to convince him that I think it’d be a great opportunity – especially if we won. What are the odds right?
- Submit an entry form. We needed to submit the entry form along with the love story.
- Await the call. Within in a few weeks, we heard back from the Nation allowing us to know that we had been selected as a finalist – YESSS!! Once you’ve been chosen as a finalist, then the work begins.
- Be ourselves. The competition brought with it some highs and lows. We had to attend sponsorship events, site visits and do photo shoots. It also had its stresses on some days, especially during the voting period. We literally had a campaign team rallying for us and sharing our posts online to ensure folks voted daily. Basically, the entire island of Barbados had the opportunity to vote for their favorite couple of the 6 finalists either via text, newspaper ballot or via Facebook. Each couple had their own entourage and the competition was stiff! Public voting accounted for 25% of the final tally and you had about 1 week in the first round and then another week in the last round just before the big announcement.
- Meet with the Judges. During our one on one with the judges, we had the opportunity to share more about who we were and where we were heading as a couple. We had to answer some questions and share our opinion on various scenarios. Q&A with the judges was nerve wrecking at first but again we were true to who Chris and Shaq are and after we came out I was still feeling a little nervous.
On May 20th, 2017 we gathered at the Hilton with the other contestants for the Forever I Do expo and seminar. The expo provides the various sponsors and other vendors to showcase their businesses and product offerings. The seminar consisted of nuggets from financial advisors, wedding etiquette and other professionals in the industry who offered tremendous advice on what was ahead of us. After a few hours, presentations began. NOTHING could’ve prepared me (especially) for what was coming. We mounted the stage to receive gifts of appreciation from the hosts. And let me just say my stomach was a mess! The MC started to announce the 2nd and 3rd runners-up – our names weren’t called and my stomach dropped. I thought, if they didn’t call our names then it’s not looking so good. Our family and friend base was present in custom made #MeetTheMillars246 shirts, standing nervously at the back. The MC graciously rattled on, stringing out the suspense. By that time I zoned out honestly, the nerves in my stomach felt like creepy crawlies lol! Few moments, after all, I remember hearing was “Chri…” my knees buckled! My mom dashed from the back of the auditorium to the stage! I grabbed Chris’ neck and was like we did it! We won, we won! Our entire crew started flooding the front of the stage with their support and it was an unreal experience.
Our big day took place 7 months later on December 16th, 2017 in a rustic meets vintage meets chic vibe. It was beautiful though we had showers. We knew for sure we were heading toward marriage, but having the tremendous jumpstart from the competition really aided in making our dream come true so much faster. If any of you are reading this, engaged and living in Barbados – I’d recommend checking out the competition. And no, this wasn’t a paid advertisement. 🙂
A few of the things we won included: My gown, Chris’s Tux, My bouquet and bridal party flowers, financial assistance from various institutions in Barbados, Gym Membership, Wedding day Photography, and SO MUCH more!
You can check out more brief coverage here: