Babine Forest Products employees, Dwayne Joseph and Leona West cheered in excitement as they were announced the winners of a $20,000 dream wedding package.
West and Joseph, along with 10 of their friends or family members will be whisked away to the four star Catalonia Yucatan Beach Resort and Spa Chameleon Gold in the Riviera Maya, Mexico. The prize package includes private round trip transfers, two hours of wedding coordinator services, a bridal bouquet for the bride as well as wedding decorations. Also included is wine and wedding cake after the ceremony for up to 24 guests, a romantic dinner for the bride and groom including wine, flowers and candles, $50 credit for hairdressing and makeup sessions for the bride and $100 credit for wedding photos.
As reported in the Lakes District News edition of Feb. 15, 2012, both Joseph and West applied to win a dream ‘passion’ wedding package through a Global TV B.C. competition.
She said, “After the explosion and fire everything paused. I wanted to cancel the wedding. I thought how can we celebrate after such a tragedy? My family said we should continue with our plans and that even though it seems like Burns Lake has stopped, the whole world is still going. They said that by September, many things may have changed in Burns Lake for the better. They also told me that it would give everyone something to look forward to … a happy celebration.”
A week later, West saw a competition to win a dream wedding and decided to enter the competition.
Their entry was chosen as one of the top 10 in the running for the prize and it was up to voters across the country to decide which of the couples would win through online voting.
West created a Facebook page to help campaign for votes, her sister created posters which were hung up around town and they did several radio and newspaper interviews.
West said winning the competition was a complete surprise.
“The producer phoned us two days before and asked us to download Skype. He said the finalists would all be interviewed live via Skype for the announcement, but it was just us. He tricked us,” she laughed.
West said just in case they did win, she had a speech prepared, but said in the excitement she forgot to thank Global TV for holding the competition.
According to Global TV West and Joseph received an overwhelming amount of votes. “We were very excited that we received so many votes. The Global TV executive assistant phoned me and said we were 1,200 votes ahead of the couple in second place. She said the judging panel was very excited when they were tallying the votes. We are really happy because all 10 [finalists] deserved to win.”
West said she wasn’t sure if they would win because all but three of the couples were from the Lower Mainland. “I thought they would have a lot more people voting for them. Aside from us, there was only two other couples from the North, there was another couple from Fort St. James and one from Williams Lake.”
West and Joseph have been together for almost eight years and have two daughters, Susan who is five and Vayda who is two months old.
Joseph proposed on Christmas Eve 2011 in front of his whole family.
“He said a lovely speech about how he loved me so much for giving him two beautiful girls and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. He is grateful to have met me. Once I said yes the whole room was in joyful tears.”
For Joseph this trip will be doubly special as he not only gets to marry his sweetheart, but it is also the first time he has travelled out of Canada.
For now the plans are still up in the air as to when the couple will jet off to their dream wedding. “We had planned for Sept. 29, 2012, but that was before we won the competition. We have to reorganize things a little. We have a lot of family and friends who are willing to pay their own way to join us for the wedding and we also want to hold a wedding in Burns Lake.”
A wedding dress is also still on the ‘to do’ list, but West said her bridesmaids will be wearing pink and red.