Couple wins national wedding contest

Sarah Markiewicz, Asst. Opinion Editor

Many couples can only dream of beginning their married lives on the tropical island of Jamaica, but this hope has become a reality for Diamond Bar High School student teacher and volleyball coach Katie Kelly, after winning a destination wedding through Brides Live Wedding, a competition held by Brides Magazine.

After holding a competition for a million-dollar wedding last year, Brides Live Wedding began an online contest that would award the couple with the most votes a wedding in Jamaica.

“The destination wedding is perfect for my fiancé and me because that is what we were planning anyways,” Kelly said via email. “We want to get married on the beach, so this is perfect— it will be in Jamaica on the sand.”

Kelly learned about the competition on Instagram, and she was encouraged by her mother, DBHS English teacher Shannon Kelly, to join. At first, Kelly was hesitant, but she and her fiancé, Sean Swetnam, joined the competition two hours before the deadline.

“Thank God for a mom’s intuition,” Kelly said.

After answering questions and sending in a video to Brides Live Wedding, Kelly and Swetnam were selected as one of the final three couples. From there, the public cast in votes and the results were out on April 29.

“They called me right before I was going to teach to tell me the results of the voting,” Kelly said. “I was waiting, staring at my phone in anticipation of their call. Finally, my phone rang, and they told me the good news.”

From then on, as it is with any other wedding, it has taken a lot of planning, especially with the couple’s involvement with Brides Live Wedding. While the website allows people to vote for the physical aspects of the wedding like the cake and attire, Kelly and Swetnam are working on being the feature couple. This has included one week of filming in Los Angeles for a Brides Live Wedding web series.

“In the series, I got to try on dresses, test out makeup options, look at decor, and wander around Hollywood with Chelsea Briggs [a famous YouTube user],” Kelly said.

This will be featured on the web series’ third episode, which will become available on June 3. The wedding itself will take place on June 14, and will be shown in another episode.

“I have never been to Jamaica before, but I am so excited,” Kelly said. “We will be there for four nights, and then honeymoon at another Caribbean island for six nights right after.”

Kelly first met Swetnam while they were in college. Both having been involved in athletic teams, they became good friends and their relationship developed.

Now that they have won the contest, they are not only ensured a dream wedding in Jamaica but also a chance to help others, since the winners donate to a charity of their choice.

“We chose the Wounded Warriors Project because my brother is a U.S. Army veteran,” Kelly said. “We wanted to be able to help the returned soldiers who suffer with physical or mental injuries on their journey to recovery.”