College alumni enter magazine contest to win dream wedding
Students on the Hill can all remember hearing the somewhat frightening statistics on marriage rates between students at the College on their first tour of the campus—but seeing one of these love stories in action is still beautiful.
Recent graduates Nick Planeta ’09 and Alyssa Kavanagh ’10 dated throughout their time on the Hill and are currently engaged and entered in the Real Maine Weddings’ “Wedding of the Year” contest and are to be wed in Portland, Maine this summer. They are counting on help from the Colby community to make their dream come true.
The two met in the spring before Kavanagh’s first year on the Hill at Gifford’s Ice Cream. “We were on a double date…with other people, but we hit it off right away,” Planeta said. “We stayed in touch and became close friends throughout the summer and started dating during the following fall.”
During her time at the College, Kavanagh was an English major who obtained her teaching certification through the education program and also captained Hypnotik, one of Colby’s dance groups. Planeta was a mathematical science major, an administrative science minor and a starter on the men’s basketball team.
But like many things, maintaining a relationship on the Hill had its pros and cons.
“Colby is a truly incredible place that exposes its student body to a wide array of unique experiences, and it was really great that Alyssa and I were able to share those moments with one another—it brought us closer together,” Planeta said. “On the other side of the coin, Colby is a very small, close-knit campus, so sometimes it felt as if our private, personal relationship was very public.”
After Planeta graduated in 2009, the couple experienced a year apart, which he described as “one of the most challenging times in our relationship.” He took an economic consulting position in Orlando, Fla. and started out in a new city on his own. However, that same year Planeta’s father was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, so he made the decision to move home to Westwood, Mass. to be with his family.
“Alyssa and I both needed each other for support during such a difficult time, so even being just three hours apart was difficult,” Planeta said.
Planeta went on to become a project manager for a small market research consulting boutique in Waltham, Mass. and currently works in the product management group at Liberty Mutual Insurance. Following her graduation in 2010, Kavanagh spent the summer completing the Columbia Publishing course in New York City and then received her Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She now works as an Employer Relations Coordinator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The couple took their relationship to the next level at the end of 2011, when they went on a trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City before the holidays. “I asked a young guy to take a picture of us in front of the skating rink at Rockefeller Center, and then got down on one knee and proposed,” Planeta said. “Unfortunately, we both knew there would be limited photos of that special moment, as we overheard the photographer’s girlfriend shouting, ‘Take the picture! Take the picture!’”
As the couple began planning their wedding, Kavanagh purchased a copy of the Real Maine Weddings magazine, and the two saw an advertisement for their wedding contest. Kavanagh is a Winslow, Maine native, and the two met for many dates in Portland during their year apart, so the city holds a special place in both their hearts.
“Portland has had such significant meaning in our lives, so it would be really, really special if we could win a $100,000 dream wedding there,” Planeta said.
The Real Maine Weddings’ “Wedding of the Year” contest currently features eight couples competing for the prize. Three finalists will be selected on March 9, and then another round of voting will take place with the winner selected on April 1.
To vote, go to RealMaineWeddings.com, click on the 2012 Contest tab and then the link for the Entry Videos to find Alyssa and Nick’s video. Simply click on the fifth star below the video to vote for the video. Votes can be recast every 24 hours until March 9.
The couple has had much success with people sharing the link with their friends and family on Facebook, and encourages students to do so as well. They currently hold the lead and hope that the Colby community can help their wedding dream become a reality.
And as far as their post-marriage plans are concerned, Planeta said they just want to keep it simple. “Our plan is to just enjoy being married and do some traveling for a few years before settling down, buying a home and starting a family.”