By Jade Mardirosian
In an age when celebrity diva Kim Kardashian can grab headlines by spending (and earning) millions on her nationally-televised wedding, only to implode her marriage 72 days later, one Baylor couple is hoping for something much less dramatic: a free wedding.
Baylor alumni couple Chase Mekaelian and his fiancee Ashley Green are one of 11 finalist couples of Entwined 2012, a contest in which the winning couple receives a completely planned and paid-for wedding. The winning couple is chosen by the amount of online votes they receive. Voting runs until Nov. 15.
The Entwined 2012 wedding features a collaboration of 28 wedding professionals and vendors who will provide everything for the wedding from the invitations to flowers, the catering, a live band, personal fashion styling, photography and more. The wedding is valued at about $75,000, according to an Entwined press release.
The wedding will take place at the Studio at Fischer, near Canyon Lake just southwest of Austin on March 31, 2012, which happens to be the date Mekaelian and Green picked for their wedding before they even knew about the contest.
Green, who lost her mother to breast cancer when she was 15 years old, said when she found out the Entwined wedding was supposed to take place the same day she and Mekaelian had already chosen, she felt her mother was looking out for her.
“When I found out about the Entwined 2012 contest, I was having a hard week,” Green said. “I was not looking forward to planning the wedding without [my mother]. Ever since she passed, a lot of the milestones [in life] became harder to get through, and getting married is one of the biggest ones.”
Green and Mekaelian met during her sophomore year at Baylor and the two became engaged in May, after having a two-and-a-half year long-distance relationship.
Green lives near Austin. She is the owner and of Armor of God designs, which creates the Baylor T-shirt dresses sold at Harts ‘N Crafts that are worn by many students at sporting events.
Mekaelian currently lives in San Diego and works as an admissions counselor at Ashford University.
Green said the long distance relationship has been hard and the couple has not yet decided where they will settle once they are married.
Graduate student Sara Bethune and Green were both sisters in the Kappa Chi Alpha Sorority at Baylor, and the two have been close friends since meeting.
Bethune, who will be one of Green’s bridesmaids, described the couple as strong and loving.
“They work well with each other,” Bethune said. “They are always just having fun and laughing. Really, when I think of Chase and Ashley, I just think of love because they have gone through so much in their relationship, being across the country from each other, and they’re just very steadfast in their love for each other.”
Green said it would be an incredible relief to win the contest.
“[Winning] would make it easy to relax and focus on what the day is really about and not have to worry about the stress of it all,” Green said.
Bethune said winning the contest would mean a lot to Green, especially after the struggle of losing her mother.
“She just has such a positive outlook,” Bethune said. “I think Chase has been a great testament to her. They’ve stood by each other through thick and thin, and I think this would be such a blessing for them. I think it would mean the world to her if she won because she thinks of this [contest] as a way her mom is looking out for her.”
Anyone with a Facebook account can vote for Green and Mekaelian by visiting their website, www.chaseandashley.com, and clicking on the Entwined 2012 link to the right of the page. The winner will be announced Nov. 16 on http://entwined2012.com.