Kristen Deptulski was working her second shift job — as an international clerk at the Waterford UPS — when she got the call that she and her fiance, Jason Desaulniers, had won theday.com's wedding contest giveaway.
"Oh my gosh. Really? REALLY?" she said, on hearing the news. "Everyone kept telling me, 'A lot of people are going to enter this. Don't get your hopes up.'"
"We really didn't think we'd win," she said later. "But we saw the contest and thought, 'why not?'"
Couples were asked to share their stories in short essays on theday.com, and the winner was chosen by popular vote.
The Desaulniers' story - of standing together and making the best of things in bad times - resonated with readers:
"Jason and I have not done things by the book, and we are happy about that," Kristen wrote. "About 3 years ago we were blessed with the birth of our son Liam. Jason was then laid off from his job and enrolled in a trade school to start a new career. He has since graduated school and is still in the process of finding a job. I work part-time myself, so saving up for a wedding is not an easy task when our finances go towards bills and providing for our son.We are looking for a way to have some kind of wedding ceremony so that we can get married and take our love to the next step as husband and wife."
A couple of times, Kristen had suggested to Jason that they go down to City Hall "and just make it official," Jason said.
"But I kept telling her, you'll regret it."
He said he worried she would look back someday and wish they had done a more elaborate celebration. "Besides," he said smiling, "she deserves this. She deserves a great day."
Kristen and Jason have the kind of rapport you see between people who enjoy a connected, close relationship. They refer to one another when they talk. They finish each other's thoughts, switching back and forth during the interview: "OK, you tell this part." They crack up when talking about Jason's proposal. The couple co-hosts a podcast for movie and comic fans, and Jason snuck the words: "Will you marry me Kristen?" into the "news" portion of the program that Kristen reads aloud.
Jason: "So there she was reading..."
Kristen: "and then I got to, 'Will you marry me Krist-' OH MY GOD!" she laughs. "And I got up and ran over and hugged him."
The couple, who shared their first kiss at a Journey concert, said their relationship has endured challenges which have tested and proven their love. Challenges like Jason's layoff and Kristen's struggle with postpartum depression.
"It was like I lost her," Jason said. "For a while there, it was like she became a stranger." But they held fast to their commitment to each other and their little boy. Kristen recovered. Jason completed training as a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning technician at Lincoln Tech Institute in East Windsor, is now universally EPA certified and holds an OSHA 10 certification.
And they look on their past with confidence that surmounting the dark times has seasoned them for what lies ahead; and all the experiences that come with sharing a long life together.
Joining Kristen and Jason at their celebration were Jenn Cass of Colonie, N.Y. and Katherine Reale of Plainfield as matrons of honor. Kristen Deptulski of Norwich, sister-in-law of the bride, served as bridesmaid. Matthew Desaulniers of Canterbury, the brother of the groom, served as best man.William Deptulski of Amelia Island, Fla., brother of the bride, and Daniel Reale of Plainfield served as ushers.
The ringbearer was Liam Desaulniers of Moosup, the son of the bride and groom. He was escorted down the aisle by his "Amma," Deborah Moeckel of Amelia Island, Fla., the mother of the bride.
Raymond Deptulski Jr., the father of the bride, escorted her down the aisle. Also in attendance were his wife, June, of Preston; Raymond Deptulski III of Norwich, brother of the bride; and Leo Desaulniers of Canterbury and Pamela Desaulniers of Coventry, parents of the groom.
Please scroll through the photos for details on the local businesses that gave so generously and worked so hard to create a memorable day for this special couple - on a three-week timetable. Special thanks to Alona Comito, events manager at the Garde Arts Center; Michael Ferreira, executive director of catering of The Coastal Gourmet Group, and Seth Jacobson Photography for serving as the de facto wedding coordinators and guiding everyone through the event. An extra-special thanks to the winning couple, who handled the time constraint with great humor.
(We have also learned from Facebook that Jason recently found work as an assistant maintenance technician. Congratulations Jay!)