The Casino San Clemente announced the winners of the event venue's where two dozen entries were submitted from December 2012 through Jan. 31 for a chance to win the historic venue’s exclusive wedding package valued at $20,000.
Owners Linda and Shaheen Sadeghi launched the contest as their grand finale to commemorate the Casino’s 75th anniversary last year.
“I wanted to find something to mark the closure of our anniversary year,” said Linda Sadeghi, “We know there are so many people locally who love the Casino and have an attachment to it and cant afford it, per-se, so its a way to give back to the community.”
Local contestants were asked to submit a one-page personal essay or love story that demonstrated their connection to San Clemente and include why they would be the perfect couple to take advantage of the giveaway. Sadeghi was so impressed with the heartwarming stories that came in, she said she couldn’t select just one winner: she selected four instead.
“We got some incredible, mindblowing stories” said Sadeghi.
The grand prize winners were Jill and Cliff Gerhard, who won free use of the Casino's Grand Ballroom, Rock Garden space, and their Patio of the Stars along with special pricing for wedding photography, catering, event planning, florist, and live entertainment.
According to Jill Gerhard, her and her husband eloped in Tahoe but never had a wedding. Gerhard said she found out about the contest after reading the local paper. Before she submitted her essay, she had one very important question.
“We were out at a friend’s house for my birthday and I asked Cliff ‘If I win this contest, would you remarry me?’ and he said yes.”
The Gerhards have set a date to renew their vows at the Casino later this year.
Second place winners were Natalie Carrick and her fiancée Brad Kreowski, which Sadeghi states they met at San Clemente’s OC Tavern. They won use of the Casino’s West Wing and Patio of the Stars event spaces along with special catering pricing for their wedding day.
Third and fourth place winners were Nicholas and Caterina Ahrens along with Marshawn Clark and her fiancée Christopher Sheffield, who won a private “Sweetheart Breakfast” at the Casino’s forthcoming café.