It was not long ago that Jorge Manuel came up with the idea over coffee at the breakfast table. The 'UPON A STAR' contest would give one lucky bride the opportunity to win a one-of-a-kind couture wedding gown. The name of the contest fits in theme with the designer's current collection, the NEBULA collection 2011 which is inspired on the stars.
After weeks of deliberation, consideration and observation, a team of 5 judges narrowed down the entries from 252 hopefuls to 5 semi-finalists to finally the winner!
The contest had many exciting moments! Brides-to-be interested in participating in the 'UPON A STAR' contest submitted essays to firstname.lastname@example.org. These hopefuls had a 30 day period to turn in their entries and essays. A sketch was first released on the designer's facebook page as a teaser before the beginning of the competition. It was not long after the sketch was released to the public that the contest officially kicked off at Maddison Row. (http://jorgemanuelweddings.blogspot.com/2011/02/commencement-of-upon-star-win-wedding.html) The unveiling party of the "Star" gown gathered wedding planners, wedding bloggers and hopeful brides for this special event along with the designer, Jorge Manuel at Maddison Row.(http://jorgemanuelweddings.blogspot.com/2011/02/star-gown-wows-in-south-carolina-any.html) Entries began to come in from all over the U.S. and it would not be long before the contest entry deadline reached a closed. The team at Jorge Manuel and Maddison Row began to choose their favorites soon after. These favorites were contacted via E-mail with a questionnaire that later determined their place within the competition. The questionnaires were then completed and returned to the Jorge Manuel Studio either by mail or E-mail. Five (5) lucky semi-finalists were selected on March 15, 2011. Choosing a favorite was no easy task and its safe to say that the judges were not always seeing eye to eye. In fact, at times the judges were torn between two or three favorites.
Ultimately, throughout the process a winner stood out from the rest. And it is with pleasure that this year's UPON A STAR contest winner is announced as JEANINE LALONDE!
Jeanine's entry essay and questionnaire:
(Received via E-mail - email@example.com 04:20:30 -0800 [03/10/2011 07:20:30 AM EDT])
princesses…with love they all found “happily ever after.” We leave those stories behind when
we grow up, but maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe we all have a brush with the fairy tales when we
career that I drew up when I was younger. For six months after my move, I wondered if I had
made a mistake and whether it was time to head home. I missed my family, my friends, and the
pace of life in the city. Virginia was beautiful, but it didn’t feel like the right place for me. There
were times when Charlottesville felt like a club into which I hadn’t yet gained entry. Everyone
was so happy here, so maybe the problem was with me. Maybe I had to change who I was to
find happiness. Thankfully, when I was contemplating all of this, I met Marc.
didn’t just stop questioning myself and my new home, I accepted and embraced who I was and
what I was experiencing. We fell in love exploring this small, diverse city with its amazing
history, great architecture (home of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and the University of
Virginia), and eclectic mix of academics, artists, and musicians. As I fell in love with Marc, I fell
in love with Charlottesville. When he asked me to marry him, there was no question about where
we would get married. Charlottesville was now home.
with a little innovation. We love our region’s vineyards, which date back to Jefferson’s days, but
want our wedding to be a little different from the dozens of vineyard weddings that happen here
each year. Our venue, Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyard, is still under construction. Most brides
would have run in the other direction if all they saw upon visiting their ceremony and reception
site was architectural plans, a few artistic renderings, and some wood framing, but I loved the
idea of being part of something new and different.
classic, the details are architectural and unlike anything I have seen before. The dress seems like
the perfect complement to our wedding. It fulfills what I have looked for: a dress that blends a
traditional shape with creative, innovative details. It’s a dream dress for a day I’ve been waiting
so long for.
Jeanine Lalonde Questionnaire:
1. Full Name: Jeannine Lalonde
I didn't know anyone in Charlottesville when I moved here for my job, but I had one rather new acquaintance who promised me that I'd meet people if I went to the opening concert for our new outdoor music venue with his friends. He was right...I met about 200 people at that concert, but it was almost impossible to remember any of them. Marc, my fiance, was one of the people I met. During that period, I was so lonely here. People were very nice and friendly, but it was hard to move from being friendly to being friends with people (this is something that I've heard from many people who move to this town). Marc finally asked me out, but I was on a week long work trip at the time. I told him that if he emailed me the time and location for our date, I'd see it when I got him from my trip that Friday (I know this sounds odd, but this was before everyone had a smart phone and I was in hotels where there were internet charges and I was trying to save my school a little money). When I got home that Friday, there was no email. I was so sad. I think I cried a little bit, unpacked, and went to bed. On Monday morning, we realized that the email had gone astray! Marc had been sitting in front of a restaurant for two hours with a box of chocolates, waiting for me. We finally went on our date a few days later.
The color scheme and decor has changed a little bit in recent weeks. I blog about interior design, do-it-yourself projects, and entertaining, so I've been collecting inspirational pictures of weddings and events for years, but not with the intention of using them for my own wedding. When we got engaged, I immediately pored over those images and decided that I wanted to use teal or peacock blue for our main color. I started assembling a digital mood board to fit the scheme. Over time, though, I started seeing more and more teal and blue weddings. The more that trend emerged, the less enamored I became with it. I realized that while I love reading and writing about new trends, I wanted the wedding palette to be classic and inspired by nature. We found a local florist who grows her own flowers on a farm just outside our city (we're trying to use as many small businesses as possible) and I see our space being full of white flowers with greenery sitting in antique bowls (I've been picking up old trophies at thrift stores to use) and beige, linen tablecloths. We'll add white candles to the tables, too.
10. How did you hear about the contest?
11. What would it mean to you to win this gorgeous dress?
After staring at pictures of the Upon a Star dress for a few weeks now, I know that I would feel special and beautiful if I were able to wear it. I've looked at plenty of dresses online and have been able to objectively say that they are lovely dresses, but the Upon a Star dress actually evokes an emotional response. It makes me excited. It makes me smile. I even find myself daydreaming a little bit about what it'll be like to walk down the aisle towards Marc wearing it.