A Long Sault man and his beautiful bride have won a Hawaiian honeymoon and national bragging rights after coming out on top in a televised wedding competition that has aired on a Canadian cable channel.
Brian Kulick and his wife Melissa were featured on an episode of Four Weddings Canada, which airs on Slice!, and their eco-friendly wedding was voted the best of the four ceremonies spotlighted on the show.
The show was shot over the course of last summer, and the plot consists of brides voting on their competitor's wedding, awarding points for things like food, decorations and the look of the bride.
The winner is revealed when brides meet at a mansion in the Greater Toronto Area, and anxiously wait for one of the grooms to walk through the front door - the shtick being the brides don't know who has won until the groom enters the house.
When Brian, a Long Sault native who now lives in Ottawa, walked through the door, Melissa's jaw literally dropped.
"You have no idea," she said in an interview. "We never had any kind of honeymoon - we were hoping for this. I've never won anything in my life."
The couple will likely jet off to Hawaii in March or April. Their decision to host their wedding ceremony in a nature preserve, consistent with an environmentally-friendly theme, certainly set their wedding apart from the competition.
But Brian said there was another secret weapon that propelled them to the win.
"Melissa looked stunning," he said. "What won it for us was how wonderful she looked in her dress."
The couple won by just half a point, 86.5 to 86, over the second-place finishers, and Brian said the score for Melissa's dress was the highest of all the competitors.
Brian said the win is somewhat bittersweet. The couple found out in August they had won, but Four Weddings rules stipulate they must keep that fact a secret until the show airs.
For much of the autumn Brian's father Mark Kulick, a well-known member of Cornwall's business circle, was fighting a losing battle with cancer. Mark Kulick passed away just days before Christmas.
"I told my father we had won the trip," said Brian. "It was a very difficult time for him (being sick). He was overjoyed that we had won. We wanted to bring him a little bit of joy."
The show will air the Kulick's episode again this weekend, Saturday at 9 p.m. and again Sunday at 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.