Nichole Guzzo and Brian Johnston are in the running to win a dream wedding in New York next month, and they need online votes to get there.
Guzzo, of Geneva, and Johnston, of St. Charles, entered a national competition a month ago through The Knot magazine shortly after they got engaged. If they get enough online votes between noon Monday and 4 p.m. Wednesday, they’ll win a dream wedding that would be Feb. 14.
Guzzo, 24, is a senior at Purdue University studying public relations and marketing. Her fiance, Johnston, 23, is a firefighter and is attending school to become a paramedic. They’ve been narrowed down as one of five couples in the running.
The two got engaged Oct. 2, when Johnston told Guzzo that he would be taking her out to dinner to meet his grandparents. He told her to meet him at Francesca’s by the River in St. Charles – where they had their first date – and he surprised her by riding up in a fire truck dressed in full firefighter gear.
“It was crazy. I thought there was some kind of emergency,” she said. “He walked up to me and it wasn’t until he kneeled that I realized he was proposing.”
If they win the competition, they’ll be married next month at Citi Pond at Bryant Park in New York.
Guzzo said the dream wedding is worth more than $90,000. The competition winners receive a ceremony and reception for 100 people; a personalized congratulations and performance video by Matchbox Twenty; a wedding gown from Kleinfeld Bridal; designer wedding bands; a cake; flowers; honeymoon; and more.
Carly Zipp, a spokeswoman from The Knot, said “hundreds upon hundreds” of entries poured in each week after the competition started in October. She said five couples had been selected based on their submission videos to move onto the next phase of the competition.
“We felt Nichole’s and Brian’s story was so organic and so sweet,” she said. “They need the money, and they’re great people giving back to the community.”
The couple met one and a half years ago while Guzzo was working as a waitress at a St. Charles restaurant. She said she saw Johnston come in and convinced a fellow server to switch tables with her so he would be her customer. She said Johnston came back about two hours after leaving to ask Guzzo for her number.
“We’ve been pretty much inseparable ever since,” Guzzo said.
If they don’t win the competition, Guzzo said she and Johnston are planning for a summer 2014 wedding. She said the two are living with their parents while they save money and plan to move in together after they get married.
But they’re keeping their fingers crossed for a New York wedding next month.
“We figured this would be an amazing story to tell our grandkids,” she said.
Vote between noon Monday and 4 p.m. Wednesday for local couple Nichole Guzzo and Brian Johnston to win a dream wedding by visiting wedding.theknot.com/dream-wedding-contest.