Love is on the air

Sulphur Springs bride-to-be finalist in TV contest

By PATTI SELLS | News-Telegram Feature Writer

Mar. 25, 2007 - With the cost of today's wedding averaging more than $26K, newly engaged couples are not only looking for something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue — they're looking for something free. ANYTHING!

Staff Photo by Angela Pitts

Ashley Reeves, daughter of Wayne and Kathy Reeves of Sulphur Springs, and her fiancé, Jeff Jones, are one of four couples in the "NBC 5 Throws A Wedding" contest. The winner will receive an all-expense paid dream wedding, parts of which will be broadcast in May. Voting continues through 5 p.m. Tuesday on www.nbc5i.com

That's why NBC Channel 5 could be a godsend for one lucky pair with its promotion of a free wedding giveaway. 

Wedding winner hopefuls began signing up for the "NBC 5 Throws A Wedding" contest in January, and one of Sulphur Springs own, Ashley Reeves and her fiancé, Jeff Jones, were introduced as finalists Wednesday during NBC 5 "First at Four."

"We are very excited to be finalists in the "NBC 5 Throws A Wedding" contest," said Ashley, the daughter of Wayne and Kathy Reeves of Sulphur Springs. "I will need lots of community support on this."

The winning couple will be determined by who gets the most votes. Viewers and supporters can cast their votes by logging on to nbc5i.com, not only to choose their favorite couple, but to also vote on everything from wedding venues to rings, the dress and more. The estimated value of the wedding package is $20,000 and portions of the wedding will be broadcast live sometime in May. The honeymoon destination for the lucky couple will be revealed on the day of the nuptials. 

The voting ends at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, and the winning couple will be announced Wednesday, March 28, on NBC 5 “First at Four,” (the 4 o’clock news). 

Jeff and Ashley are couple #2.

Ashley is a 1997 graduate of Sulphur Springs High School. She attended Texas Tech University, where in 2000 she earned her bachelor's of business administration with a degree in management information systems. She currently lives and works in Dallas where she met her fiancé.

According to Ashley, she and Jeff dated for about two years before he proposed on Feb. 2 this year, her birthday.

"Unlike me, Jeff is super creative," she explained. "And we've dated long enough to really know one another. He knows how much I like arts and crafts, and that painting pottery is one of my favorite hobbies."

Her birthday started off with Jeff picking her up, with flowers in hand, and driving her to work. That night they had dinner at her favorite restaurant and then went back to his place to open presents.

"I opened up some great presents that he knew I would like — none of them being a ring," she recalled. 

Later, he went to the kitchen to make some hot tea. When he came back to the living room, he was holding a handmade pottery mug.

"It was green, my favorite color, and it had question marks painted all over it," she said. "He handed me the mug, and rather than tea, it had a diamond ring settled at the bottom."

Underneath the ring, Jeff had painted the words, "Will you marry me?"

With tears of joy, Ashley gladly accepted Jeff's proposal.

"It was a moment that I will never forget," said Ashley.

The surprises, however, didn't stop there.

After regaining her composure, Jeff drove her to the home of three of her dearest friends, where seemingly hundreds of people awaited their arrival for a pre-arranged surprise engagement party.

"It was the most amazing night of my life," Ashley said. "We are so blessed to have so many friends and such wonderful families."

The family was already planning the April 28 wedding of Ashley's sister, Allison, when Jeff proposed. 

"I had no idea Ashley and Jeff would want to get married so quickly," said Kathy, mother of the brides-to-be.

"Allison is only 13 months older than I am, so we were raised a lot like twins," explained Ashley. "My parents seemingly had to buy everything in twos — two prom dresses, two cars, two college tuitions. Bless their hearts."

´┐ŻBut it was no real surprise when the girls got engaged within months of each other, according to their mother.

"I told them they just wanted to put us in the poor house," joked Kathy, who said she had been warned by her father-in-law after the girls' births that they would go broke buying panty hose and lipstick for two girls born so close together. "He was about right! The girls have always been close and even went to college together."

"We didn't know just how we were going to handle all the planning for two weddings," Ashley admitted.

According to Ashley, she heard about the NBCcontest one morning while getting ready for work.

"My ears suddenly perked up when I heard the words 'free wedding' on TV," she said, laughing. "The light bulb just went off in my  head when I heard the news anchor announce 'NBC 5 Throws A Wedding.' 

"I knew that this contest could potentially save our sanity," she added, laughing again.

Ashley said she and Jeff have had fun rallying the support of friends and family for the event. They had T-shirts made for everyone to wear and business cards get the word out. The also hosted a voting party, and White Rock Coffee and built their own website, which can be found at www.throwmywedding.com.

"It has been an honor to make it this far in the contest," Ashley said. "We would love for people to vote for us because we are a fun-loving couple that adds a lot of excitement to the contest and because of the story we can one day tell our grandkids. 

"We don't really have a specific dream wedding in mind. We just know that we want our friends and family to be apart of it. I am extremely grateful to have come from such a strong community of people who I know will support me in this exciting event."

Ashley works as an analyst for Accor North America. Jeff is a graduate from the University of North Texas with a degree in marketing. He is currently the student pastor at Fellowship Bible Church, and a part-time student at Dallas Theological Seminary. 

The voting ends at 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 27.

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