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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

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Enter now: Love story wedding

Posted on: August 24, 2018

By: Allen Wallace,

The application period for the Fall 2018 Love Story Wedding has closed. The students reviewed all 58 entries in class and voted as a class to select a winner and runners up. The finalists have been notified by the students, and the winner will be announced at a special ceremony with the students at Sprit Communications Park on the evening of 9/6/18. Thank you so much to everyone who applied and please feel free to apply again next semester. 

Calling all South Carolina fiancés: the University of South Carolina's College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management is looking for one lucky couple to receive a free wedding this fall!

Each semester, students in Professor Annette Hoover’s wedding planning class gain hands-on experience in event management by planning and implementing a real wedding. From rings to dresses and tuxes to rehearsal, reception and honeymoon, the bride and groom need not spend a dime.

In exchange, the bride and groom turn over all decision-making for the wedding to the students. The couple is invited to attend classes and their wishes are taken into account, but the student event planners make all the final calls.

The free wedding is possible only thanks to the generosity of local businesses, who donate everything needed. Part of the students’ responsibility is seeking out those donations as they work, under Hoover’s direction, to plan every detail.

The Love Story Wedding tradition began in 2001, and was originally an annual event. Increased demand both from students wanting to take the class and from couples hoping to be chosen led to it becoming a biannual occasion. The class is part of the hospitality management degree program

The Fall 2018 ceremony will be the 32nd UofSC Love Story Wedding.

How to apply

To apply, send your love story in the form of a 500-word essay or 3-minute video to Tell the students why you and your soon-to-be spouse deserve a love story wedding. For video entries, please email a link to your video entry.

To be eligible, a couple must already be at least 18 years of age, already engaged at the time of application, and be a legal resident of South Carolina. They must also be willing to allow the student planners to make all wedding-related decisions, including the date and venue. The date for the fall 2018 Love Story Wedding is October 29, 2018 and the wedding will be held at Spirit Communications Park.

Applications for the fall 2018 semester must be submitted by midnight on September 3

The students will review the applications and determine how to pick this semester's winner. The winner will be publicly announced in September.


The College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management’s Love Story Wedding is part of a college course on wedding and event planning designed as a hands-on learning opportunity for students.  One lucky couple is selected by the class to receive a free wedding based on criteria established by the students.  All aspects of the event, including selection of the wedding date, venue, theme, décor, photography, food, cake, gown, flowers and other services, are handled by students and secured through donations from local businesses.  

All couples that are engaged, legal residents of South Carolina, and at least 18 years of age are eligible to apply.  The winning couple will be announced publicly.

The winning couple understands and agrees that they (1) relinquish all wedding planning decisions to the students, (2) grant the University of South Carolina and the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, in perpetuity, the right to record (both audio and visual) and publicize or otherwise make use of, in any manner and in any medium, the names, images, likenesses and history of the winning couple, and all aspects of the event, including pre-wedding planning through wedding day celebration (“Wedding Event”), and (3) waive any and all claims against the University of South Carolina and the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, their employees and agents, arising out of or resulting in any manner from the winning couple’s participation in the Love Story Wedding.

The College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management does not guarantee a minimum value or quality of the wedding and reserves the right to cancel the wedding in its sole discretion.

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