USC announces lucky couple chosen to receive free wedding

Couple chosen for USC wedding
Published: Sep. 6, 2018 at 5:05 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2018 at 9:02 PM EDT
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(WIS) - The University of South Carolina has chosen a lucky couple who will receive a free wedding.

CJ Lake and Jon Tamasco will receive a beautiful special day courtesy of USC.

All decision making for the special event will be taken care of by students who are taking a wedding planning class at the university. 

From rings to dresses and tuxes to rehearsal, reception, and honeymoon, the bride and groom don't have to worry about a thing. Students reach out to local businesses to donate everything needed, making the wedding free for the finances. In the process, students learn first hand what it takes to plan a wedding from start to finish.

READ MORE: 'I just wanted to be a Kardashian for a day' says would-be bridezilla in rant on wedding guest deposits

The couple is invited to attend classes and their wishes are taken into account, but the student event planners make all the final calls.

The wedding will be held Oct. 29, 2019.

Below is a copy of the winning essay that was submitted by Lake and Tamasco that won them their free wedding.

Hi, we're Jon and CJ,

During my junior year at USC, my dad suffered from a series of strokes that ultimately turned my family's world upside down. No part of our lives were the same. My daddy, who had always been the backbone of our large family, was forced out of work due to circumstances beyond our control. My mom, overnight, became the sole provider for our family. We adjusted to our new reality and moved on, thankful to still have my dad after all he went through that year, but I set out on a mission.

I knew I needed to begin looking for work that would allow me to commute to and from home to be there for my family as much as I could. I was so fortunate to receive an offer here in Columbia as the social media strategist at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, allowing me to do just that. I lived at home and commuted 1.5 hours each way, each day -- happy to fill in the gaps when my mama couldn't be there because of our new reality. About a year and a half later, two life-altering things happened to me. First, I received a life-changing job offer from my alma mater and then I met an incredible boy at Cool Beans.

I'll never forget walking in and seeing him at the table at the bottom of the stairs. I can still see him, glancing up from his phone as I walked in. I remember locking gazes with him and thinking how incredible his big, brown eyes were under his swoopy hair. We sat and had coffee that night (interestingly enough, I had Cool Beans' drink called "The Perfect Man") and, as two people do when they don't want something to end, he stalled by asking me if I wanted to take a walk around campus.

He swears my eyes lit up as I accepted his offer because he didn't know it yet, but during my time at Carolina, I was a university ambassador – and he had just signed up for my signature campus tour. I hate how cliché this sounds, but after that night, the rest was truly history between us.

A week after our first date (and the day before our second date catching a Fireflies game at Spirit Communications Park of all places), I began my dream job as the University of South Carolina's social media strategist and, because of my love for and dedication to this place, Carolina became a part of our story as a couple. Jon attended events with me and supported me while I worked all the extra hours required to do this job well. He was patient with me during the many crazy times and, quite quickly, as he was falling in love with me, he couldn't help but fall in love with the place that occupied such a large part of my heart. He often joked that he knew I wouldn't accept his proposal unless it was on the Horseshoe.

After our engagement, my parents sat down with me, weepy, and confirmed what I already knew – despite their dreams for my wedding day and what they thought I deserved for the most special day of my life, their financial situation would not allow them to help with any costs – it was heartbreaking to see them so broken over this reality. They'd give me the world if they could and I know that. An opportunity like the one provided by this class would mean every bit as much to both our families as it would to us. We can't say thank you enough for your time and consideration.

For Carolina, CJ Lake + Jon Tamasco, engaged 6.29.18 on the Horseshoe

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