A few tears of joy were shed when Casey and Jason Parker of Beaufort were announced as the winners of the Lowcountry wedding giveaway at the Best of Beaufort Bridal Show last weekend.
They were among 60 couples who applied for a free dream wedding, provided by local businesses. The Parkers were finalists along with two other Beaufort couples, Shannon Harmon and Ross Vezin and Dana Domino and Eddie Aiken.
The couple will choose a date between January and April for the all-inclusive Lowcountry wedding.
The only other work they have to do is send out their invitations.
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The couple touched the hearts of the award committee, said Susan Basile, director of sales at Hilton Garden Inn Beaufort, who was assisted by Jamie Leigh, an event and wedding planner and owner of the Green Room & Garden.
"He was injured while serving in Iraq and had surgeries," Basile said.
The couple met in 2002 and eloped in 2006 after the U.S. Marine's first deployment to Iraq.
"We felt most emotionally moved by their story," Basile said. "They ended up eloping, and life got in the way. It is just one of those things. Then they had a daughter and never really got to have a wedding witnessed by their friends and family."
"It is one of those love stories that really tugs at your heart," she said.
The couple will enjoy a beach wedding, followed by a reception featuring a Lowcountry boil, then a three-day honeymoon on a local island.
"It was fascinating to hear everybody's stories," Basile said.