June 22, 2011 14:21 ET Awards Real Weddings Contest Grand Prize

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - Jun 22, 2011) - held the inaugural installation of its Real Weddings contest this spring, and the winning couple were awarded the grand prize: a three-night stay in a luxury suite at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas!

Mitsuko and Blair Sato of Tuscon, Ariz., were the winning couple. They are getting married July 28, 2011, in San Diego at the Point Loma Naval Base. "We are naming our tables after San Diego attractions," said the couple, who happen to share the same last name.

The Satos were one of eight couples who competed for reader's votes on in order to win wedding prizes. Based on those votes, the couples were narrowed down to three finalist couples. Mitsuko and Blair went door-to-door in Tuscon to ask for votes, utilized family and business networks, and even set up a table at a local shop to ask strangers to vote. The couple amassed an astounding 13,000 votes in the first round to carry them into the finals. In addition to the Satos, Nicole and Scott from Orange County, Calif., and Deanna and Justin from San Diego, also made it to the final round.

"Participating in this contest has been an incredible experience," said Deanna and Justin, another finalist couple. "We love that this competition allowed us to involve our friends and family members in the wedding planning process. Their votes helped win some really amazing prizes for our wedding! Thanks to, we now have wedding cupcakes, hair and makeup and amazing accommodations for the bridal party. We are eternally grateful to the folks at and all of the vendors for helping us plan the wedding of our dreams." awarded prizes to all couples after the first round. Prizes included a $700 package from High Energy DJ Services, a $500 discount to Happy Tiers Bakery, and a $925 film package from Russell John Films. Excluding the Palazzo grand prize, gave away more than $8,000 in total prizes to the eight couples; each of the three finalist couples received more than $1,000 in prizes.

As finalists, Mitsuko and Blair blogged about their wedding planning on They also visited a wedding vendor with a camera crew documenting the process. The couple raised an additional 1,873 votes and eked out the two other finalist couples to win the grand prize. Mitsuko and Blair are planning to take a mini-honeymoon at the Palazzo, valued at more than $800, in February.

"The team, as well as our readers, really enjoyed getting to know each couple throughout the contest," said Hannah Martine, contest manager. "Especially in this economy, planning a wedding is expensive, and we were very happy to be able to help eight couples throw their dream weddings."

The next installation of's Real Weddings will be held in late fall 2011. For information on participating or sponsoring the contest, contact Hannah Martine at 619-220-8601 ext. 6009, or

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