The Daily Gamecock

HRTM class plans annual wedding giveaway contest

Chosen couple will receive free nuptials for 12th year in row

 For the 12th year in a row, students in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and
Tourism Management enrolled in Professor Annette Hoover's HRTM 362 wedding planning and management class have asked for applications to win free nuptials. Applicants are asked to submit video or written entries about their love story, including when they met and how long they have been engaged.

"Our class will review all submissions and vote on our favorite and most deserving couple," said Amanda Sirak, a fourth-year HRTM student.

The applicants must be affiliated with USC in some way. The average number of submissions per year is around 30 couples.

"I wanted experiential learning, which is why I started teaching this class," Hoover said. "This can differentiate my students from everyone else because they have actually planned a wedding and I require a portfolio. I have a firm belief that you cannot claim to be able to plan a wedding without experience."

Mostly local vendors and friends of the HRTM class will donate everything from the flowers to reception food and even the bride's dress. The couple is allowed up to six people in the wedding party and up to 100 guests. There is an area available at the Inn for the ceremony, or it will be held at the religious establishment of the couple's choice.

"We have a few surprises in store for the couple. The weddings change from year to year as we try to tailor the event to the specific couple. It all depends on the bride and groom," Sirak said.

As if that wasn't enough, the HRTM school works to set the couple up with a honeymoon, depending on available donations. The Inn at USC will also provide a honeymoon suite.

Previous winners include a pair of USC alumni who had reunited after 49 years when they reconnected on Facebook. After briefly dating in high school, the couple went their separate ways. After years of separation, the couple renewed their romance and captured the hearts of the HRTM students to be the free wedding recipients.

The winning couple will be picked Monday, Jan. 30, and the announcement will be made at 4 p.m. Feb. 6 on the Horseshoe, with the winners in attendance. The wedding will take place Sunday, April 15, 2012.