The Daily Gamecock

Couple wins wedding

HRTM class chooses recipients of student-planned nuptials

One couple’s journey has taken them from a blind date to a pumpkin patch to the Eiffel Tower and, finally, to the altar, where Sterling Dye and Whitney James will be wed this fall.

Dye and James, both 26, are the winners of this semester’s HRTM 362 class wedding giveaway, announced Wednesday afternoon on the steps of the McCutchen House. Their story — submitted by Dye — was chosen from 12 applicant couples.

“I am so excited, it’s just a blessing,” James said. “I’m so grateful and thankful that he wrote such a beautiful story ... I’m so excited about the next chapter in our lives and also about having Carolina plan it for us — that’s my home.”

Dye, who works as a personal trainer in Irmo, and James, a sociology student at USC who hopes to enter the nursing program, were engaged last December in Paris. When James lost her job in May and decided to return to school, their wedding plans were put on the back burner.

“We kind of put off the wedding plans for until I graduated, however long that was going to be, several years down the road — if we even had a wedding. We were even going to elope,” James said.

Annette Hoover’s Wedding Planning and Management class will plan the wedding and secure donations and services from Columbia-area retailers. They have already set the wedding location at the Mitchell House and Gardens in Lexington — a value of about $7,500 according to owner Phyllis James.

And what are the two winners looking forward to most about their wedding?

The bride: “The dress!”

Her groom: “Saying ‘I do.’”

“That too!” James said, with laughs from both.

The ceremony will be held Sunday, Nov. 18. It is the 14th wedding planned by Hoover’s class.