Published online at Edmonton.Ctvnews.ca on Feb. 13, 2013.
Linda Hoang, CTV Edmonton: February 13, 2013
Edmonton couple wins $100,000 prize in Plenty of Fish wedding contest
An Edmonton couple who entered a wedding contest put on by an online dating website has 100,000 reasons to celebrate their love Wednesday, after finding out they beat out thousands for the top prize.
David Mazur and Andrea Ellis met on the dating website Plenty of Fish.
In December, the couple entered a contest put on by the site, for a chance to win $100,000 towards a dream wedding.
On Wednesday, the couple found out they had beat out thousands of couples from around the world for the ultimate wedding prize.
The couple was told the top three couples in the contest would be flown to Vancouver to find out who won – but no one else had been invited.
Plenty of Fish planned the surprise for the couple, who were shocked when they walked through the door of a dating website head office, greeted by confetti and cheers.
“We really won?” Ellis exclaimed, tearing up, before hugging her fiancé. “I’m so excited.”
Sarah Gooding, Plenty of Fish product manager, said the contest was put on to celebrate relationships.
“The contest for us was about reminding our users that love is out there and if David and Andrea found love on Plenty of Fish then they (other users) can too,” Gooding said.
“It was also about celebrating all of the relationships, the engagements, the marriages, that Plenty of Fish has really been a part of creating.”
Mazur said their relationship – and their upcoming wedding – would not have been possible without the dating website.
“There’s no way we would have met if it weren’t for Plenty of Fish. It really is a remarkable website,” Mazur said.
“I’m thankful too for Plenty of Fish because now I’ve got my future husband,” an emotional Ellis said, blinking back tears. “I can’t wait to start a family with him.”
While Mazur said the couple hadn’t completely planned what they would exactly do with the money if they had won – his bride-to-be has some plans for a portion of the win.
Mazur had sold his most favourite possession, his motorcycle, to buy Ellis’ engagement ring.
“I think a new bike is probably in the works and of course to have our wedding paid off,” Ellis said.
Mazur says winning the contest is the greatest wedding gift of all.
“$100,000 to go towards your wedding, whatever you want, that’s amazing,” Mazur said.
“We’re in shock. It’s such a large amount,” Ellis said. “This is going to set us up really well for starting our life as husband and wife so we’re very excited.”
The company says nearly two million people worldwide credit their long-lasting relationship to the dating website.
Markus Frind, founder and CEO of Plenty of Fish, says January and February are typically the busiest months of the year – and that more and more people are looking for love online and on the go.
“About 80 per cent of people are now using a mobile app or mobile device for meeting people or arranging dates and last year, the start of last year, everyone was doing it on a desktop or on a computer so it’s totally changed in the span of 12 months,” Frind said.
Mazur and Ellis say they’re grateful to everyone who voted for them in the contest, which began in December – with the winning couple being chosen in time for Valentine’s Day.
“Thank you so much everyone who voted for us, for the love, the support,” Ellis said. “We’d love to thank our friends and family and anyone who read our story and was inspired.”
They were the only Canadian couple who made it to the final round of the contest.
Mazur and Ellis plan to hold their dream wedding in September.
With files from Amanda Anderson