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A Los Alamos couple, Jeanette Trujillo and Chris Rondeau entered a contest called the $50,000 New Mexico Dream Wedding Giveaway a few months ago.
In order to win, they had to gain the favor of the 20 sponsors that will be organizing and supplying the wedding, and they also had to raise more money than the other four couples entered in the contest, money that will go to directly support the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital.
Well, they won it, which is remarkable in itself, but it’s even more remarkable that not only were they the first Los Alamos couple to enter the contest since it began in 2008, but they raised the most money than any other couple in the history of the contest — more than $8,000.
Trujillo and Rondeau said it was all in a day’s work — and that they really had the community to thank for their success.
They also said teamwork and preparation played a part, too.
“When we became one of the 15 semifinalists, we knew we were going to really have to work hard,” Trujillo said.
Even before they knew they were in the top five, they discussed what their plan would be before they got there, added Trujillo. That included writing a proposal letter to take around to the businesses in Los Alamos that explained what they were doing and why.
“We started typing up a proposal letter to businesses saying that we’re trying to reach a goal of $7,500 for UNM Children’s Hospital. ‘If you could help us with a $200 donation, you could really help us with this goal,’” Trujillo said.
Other activities they did included a Zumba party with Zumba Fitness instructor Natalie Smith, a jazzercise event and even the Los Alamos Fire Department helped Rondeau out with a car wash at the Crossroads Bible Church.
Then there were the individuals who bought the lottery tickets.
The couple was given an allotment of 200, but they ended up selling about 300 at $10 a piece.
The couple had some pretty stiff competition, as many of the couples were from Albuquerque, where the competition is headquartered, but that didn’t seem to faze them, as living in a small town like Los Alamos only served to make their hard work and fundraising efforts stand out more.
They recounted how people who read about them in the Los Alamos Monitor recognized them on the street and would donate on the spot. It also helped they wore T-shirts advertising what they were up to as well.
“Having everything working together, the newspaper articles, the t-shirts, the fliers around town really put us above the Albuquerque couples,” Rondeau said. “Also being part of such a close knit community, we just stood out.”
All in all, it really was a community effort, they said.
“We are very very thankful to everyone that donated and helped out,” Trujillo said. “Without them, this would not have been possible; with everybody in their community just stepping up and helping us the way they did.”
Rondeau said every little bit helped.
“Whether they donated big or small it got us to our goal of over $8,000,” Rondeau said.
Susan Caplan, founder and executive producer of the contest said she was very impressed with Trujillo and Rondeau.
“They raised $8,141, more than any other couple in the history of the Dream Wedding,” she said.
“Combined, all five couples raised a total of $26,000, which is just remarkable.”
Caplan said the wedding is planned for Sept. 22 of this year, and will be held at the Downtown Historic Bed and Breakfast Inn in Albuquerque.
Before that date arrives though, Trujillo and Rondeau have a lot of “work” to do. Trujillo has an appointment with Alfred Angelo Bridal to get fitted for a wedding dress and of course they have to plan what to bring on their seven-day trip to Cancun, Mexico via Rio Grande Travel.
If you missed the event last year, don’t worry; you can apply online starting this December at nmdreamwedding.com.