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The Kenneth Winston 2020 Gown Giveaway Finalists

Updated: Feb 4

We are reaching a milestone in our first ever gown giveaway! And we are absolutely blown away by the response we have received! Not to mention, reading all of the love story submissions really put us in all the feels... But after some very hard decisions we have decided on our finalists! This includes Marissa & Kenla!

Each of these lovely ladies has a post on our Instagram, and whoever receives the most likes on their post by Monday, February 10, 2020 11:00 PM PST will be the winner! Below is their love story as submitted to help you decide who to vote for!

Finalist #1: Marissa & Darius

Below is the love story that Marissa submitted with her entry...

Our love story is a combination of the cliche quote “If you love something let it go. It if comes back it was meant to be” and the famous romance movie “The notebook”. It’s hard to say when the story truly began as my fiance, Darius, and I have grown up in parallel since we were 11. We went to middle school where we were both in choir all three years (granted I was multiple inches taller than him back then), high school, and college together. However, the crazy thing is we never talked until the second half of college.

Long story short, in the summer of 2010, Darius and I ran into each other on the beach as we were there with mutual friends. We said hi and briefly chatted and then went about our days separately on the beach. It wasn’t long after that my best friend told me she heard through the grapevine that Darius thought I was cute. I didn’t think much of it at the time as that was someone I had known of for so long I never really saw him in that light. A couple weeks later Darius happened to invite me to his 21st birthday party and I decided to go. I didn’t go with any agenda in mind honestly, but at the party I ended up feeling brave and went up to Darius and told him “So I heard you think I’m cute”. Next thing I knew we set up our first date for the following week where it all truly began.

We started dating that summer and it wasn’t long before we were both absolutely smitten. As Darius and I grew up in the same area we lived fairly close to one another so he would bike me home at night, leave flowers on my car for me to find in the mornings, really just the whole shabang. And of course two months later we officially became a couple. It was a whirlwind love that I had never experienced before. We spent all of our time together at school, took a trip to New York City, went on road trips up and down the California coast, visited San Francisco often (as we’re from the Bay Area), would go snowboarding, and just about anything else that gave us an excuse to be together. We had a lot in common, needless to say.

Fast forward to the following spring Darius decided he was going to study abroad and you can guess what happened from there. We were up and down knowing he’d be gone for a semester trying to figure out what to do. A semester seems like such a long time when you’re 22. So we ended up splitting up although we of course couldn’t help but keep in contact while he was there. We tried working it out when he got home of course, but we just couldn’t seem to get back on the same page as before. It was just so tough for me I ended up calling it off altogether. Although I was beyond devastated about it I knew we needed to go our separate ways.

We went on to graduate college and move to San Francisco, separately. What’s crazy is out of all the places we could be we ended up working in the same building in San Francisco and Darius would sometimes wave to me as he’d see me working through the window on the bottom floor of the building. Then over a year after the break up we decided to have dinner together where I assumed it was a closure dinner to just let us both move on, forever.

After this we both went on to form new relationships. Mine went on for multiple years. Darius had reached out once or twice to wish me a happy birthday and see how I was doing, but I didn’t entertain it much. I didn’t want to think about the boy that I loved more than anything but couldn’t make it work with. Because as much as I hated it back then, I still thought about him often, too often.

Now fast forward to December 2014 where we had been broken up for almost three years, I got a text from Darius asking me to catch up for the holidays. I hadn’t seen him since our closure dinner. I didn’t respond at all as I wasn’t keen on catching up with an ex while I was in a relationship and this wasn’t just any ex to me.

Then Christmas rolled around...this time I got an email from Darius as I hadn’t replied to his text. I vividly remember the subject was “Christmas”. I had no idea what would be inside but low and behold it was a confession of the heart, saying more than I could ever expect. And not only was it a love letter but it was reassurance that I wasn’t crazy. Everything I felt and thought about Darius, he said about me. He told me “not a single day has gone by that I have not thought of you”. And I can honestly say it was the same for me as much as I hate to admit it. I won’t give everything away in the letter as it’s near and dear to me but here is a snippet to give you the gist:

“I know that you have someone now. And truly I wish only for your happiness. But if you feel anything like how I do; like we had something so special that it can’t be replicated with anyone else, then I owe this to you. And if I couldn’t tell you at Christmas, then when else could I say it?

I love you Marissa. I always will. I am so sorry I never fought for it in the past. And if you feel the way I do, I promise I will fight til the end of the earth for you”

Needless to say you know how the story went after this as I’m writing this story to win a free wedding dress. Fast forward four years later and I’m engaged to the absolute love of my life where we share four fur babies and sleep with a framed draft of the email he wrote on a napkin in a cafe before he typed up the email. We plan on getting married next year in Switzerland in front of our absolute closest friends and family and it would be an absolute dream to be wearing a dress I won with our love story. So just remember everyone, “If you love something let it go. If it comes back it was meant to be”.

Finalist #2: Kenla and Nathan

Below is the love story that Kenla submitted with her entry...

Nathan and have been together for 7 years before he popped the question. He did it on our 7 year anniversary, after our co-ed softball game. Something we've done together since the start. We are truly each other's best friend. We always pick each other up when we're down. We love and support each other everyday. We first met (so we thought) through high school bowling. We went to rival schools but bowled on a league together. We always made each other laugh and dance on the lanes. On the last day of league our senior year I was acting upset, he came over and asked what's wrong. I told him my prom date dumped me. He then asked if my school had an after prom, we didn't. So he said you should come to mine and see what it's like! After being friends for years I said sure! The look of pure shock and joy on his face was priceless! He said he was only kidding, but was so happy!! So went went to each other proms as friends first. But at dinner for mine, he leaned over and kissed me. One of my friends said "OMG ARE YOU DATING? YOU HAVE TO BE DATING TO KISS!!!" We weren't, but I look at him, then her and said yes! He looked at me like what?? I told him oh yeah Nathan, you're my boyfriend now! When we were getting ready for my graduation party, him and my mom were going through pictures when they came across a preschool picture of mine. He looked at it, then at my mom and asked her why she had a picture of him from preschool. She looked at it, and told him the redhead girl a couple people over was me! We found out we were best friends in preschool! Always playing with dinosaurs in the sand box! We knew we had a special connection but this just solidified it! It truly proved we were meant to be together from the start! Preschool sweethearts!

So get to voting! We are so excited who the winner will be, but we feel even more blessed to have read the love stories of so many couples that let us into their lives. Cheers to love, the love we find in ourselves, and the love that we share with our soulmates. Nothing is sweeter.
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