An Anchorage couple is the winner of the "$100,000 Wedding of the Century" contest sponsored by Ben Bridge Jeweler.
Jamie Newsom, who works for the Advancements Department of the Anchorage Museum, entered the contest on Facebook in January. The Seattle-based company held the contest to celebrate its 100th year in business. Some 10,000 contestants in the 11 states where Ben Bridge has stores threw their names into the random drawing event.
Newsom's name was included when the entries were narrowed to 100 entries, then to 25.
"Then they called and said we were in the top five," she said, "and they needed us at the store when the final announcement was made."
When Newsom and fiance Tom Eaton arrived at the Anchorage Ben Bridge store on Thursday evening, cameras were present but she didn't necessarily take that as a sign they'd won. She'd already received jewelry prizes by being in the top 100.
"And they needed to build up the suspense," Newsom added. "It worked."
The suspense was broken when Marc and Lisa Bridge, vice presidents of different departments in the firm that's been associated with their family for five generations, came running out of a back room.
"They had balloons, a big inflatable giraffe -- and the giant check," Newsom said. "It really was a surprise."
The giraffe is a reference to one of the prizes, a honeymoon in Botswana, South Africa, sponsored by Forevermark diamonds.
Newsom, who attended Bartlett High School and UAA and has previously written theater reviews for the Daily News, said the couple met at a friend's birthday party three years ago. Eaton works for Alaska Archives information and records management. The wedding is set for May 5. The date for their honeymoon in South Africa has yet to be determined.
Reach Mike Dunham at email@example.com or 257-4332.
By MIKE DUNHAM
Anchorage Daily News