Ariana Thomayer and fiancé win all-expenses-paid nuptials courtesy of Binghamton radio station
(Feb. 9, 2004) BINGHAMTON, N.Y.–The city's mayor will take the place of a cleric, and instead of walking down the aisle, the bride will step up to the microphone. Everything else about the wedding of William Smith College student Ariana Thomayer and Michael DiRenzo should be fairly traditional, except for who picks up the tab. That's being handled by the good folks at WAAL 99.1-FM.
“The Whale,” as the radio station is known, is in its fifth year of sponsoring the wedding giveaway. Winners receive a gown and tux, hairstyling, rings, flowers, photos, a cake and a fully decorated reception for 50–everything provided by local merchants and all gratis.
Endicott, N.Y., natives Thomayer and DiRenzo were already in the final planning stages for a July wedding, but the radio contest seemed too good an offer to ignore. Thomayer says she wrote an essay about why they should be the lucky couple but scraped it in lieu of DiRenzo's, which had a more humorous bent. “Low and behold,” she says, “it was his essay that won.”
The wedding will take place in The Whale's studio at noon the day before Valentine's Day. At first Thomayer had reservations about being married on Friday the 13th, but now believes “I will be so wrapped up in everything that it won't matter.”
In keeping with this unconventional start, the newlyweds will spend their first morning as husband and wife in Brockport, taking teacher certification exams. A sociology major at HWS with minors in child advocacy and education, Thomayer plans to earn elementary and special education credentials. DiRenzo is in his last semester of graduate school at St. John Fisher College.
After that, Thomayer will return to Geneva and DiRenzo to Rochester, to complete their degrees. They plan to use the money they saved on their wedding to take a proper honeymoon in the summer, after graduation.
Making arrangements on the fly from various long-distance locales could make for one harried bride, but that's not the case with Thomayer. “We just make phone calls and tell them what we want. It's more simple than doing it ourselves!” she says.
The uniqueness of their “Whale of a Wedding” is not lost on the couple. “How many other couples can say they had what we are going to have?” says Thomayer.
Through an agreement with Time Warner Communications, Thomayer and DiRenzo's wedding will be simulcast on the Web. To watch the ceremony, go to www.991thewhale.com and click on the “Whale of a Wedding” link provided.
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