Sweeps, Scams, and Sweet Deals

What does college life and engaged life have in common? Free stuff. If you’ve ever walked around on a college campus during a festival or sporting event, you’re bound to be handed SOMETHING free of charge. I’m not talking about flyers and things that will sit in your dorm for months until you throw it away. Here at Radford University, you’re bound to be given a free t-shirt, scarf, or rally towel. I don’t know about you, but free stuff gets me really excited.

Being engaged is a little different than being in college in this aspect. Instead of t-shirts, I’m now offered meals on the house. Instead of entering to win a Starbucks gift card, I enter to win a free honeymoon.  Freebies and high priced sweepstakes are all over the place when you’re engaged. Maybe I’ll just push back the wedding date a few years (Just kidding, sweetheart).

If you plan on entering in any sweepstakes or contest to win prizes for your wedding (or anything for that matter), always make sure it’s a legitimate give away. While that is important, I’m not here to scare you out of getting free stuff. 

This past weekend, Ian and I attended a quick event in order to pick up three gifts that we won since I attended a bridal show in Roanoke, VA. A woman from Virginia Bridal Gifts contacted me earlier during the week to tell me about my gifts: a three day, two night stay at the hotel of our choosing from the list given, two tickets to the Great Bridal Expo, and an on-time gift worth $1,000 (we wouldn’t figure this out until we got there). All we had to do was show up to the Hyatt in Roanoke, sit through a presentation where they feed us, then decide if we want to purchase anything (we weren’t obligated to purchase). I’m not going to lie, I was quite skeptical after receiving the phone call, but after some research online and with my mom, I found that it was not a scam and talked Ian into going. 

We were extremely tired when the day came because we just got a new puppy Thor; he’s a very hyper pup, but super cute. 


It didn’t help that it was a rainy day and we would have to take the 45 minute trip up I-81 to get to the hotel, but we still went. On the ride up we joked around about what the on-time gift would be. Ian hoped it would be a TV or X-Box, which I assured him it wouldn’t be. Finally, we arrived, sat with the other engaged couples, and filled out a questionnaire. When the woman I spoke with on the phone presented our prizes, Ian and I laughed. The on-time gift turned out to be $1,000 worth of grocery coupons. What a bummer, right!? She did, however, explain to us that if we purchased something from their cookware collection that night at half-price, they would upgrade our three day, two night trip to a seven day, six night trip, an all-inclusive second honeymoon, PLUS wedding bands. We were set on buying something… until she told us the prices: “Since you all are our last show of the day, I’m feeling extra nice so I’m going to give you all the 10-piece set for $1,999.99. It’s only $20 a week!” We didn’t purchase a thing. Yea it may have been worth it, but the thought of spending over two years to pay off our cookware sounded ridiculous! 

Not all gifts or sweepstakes are as much of a let down as the one Ian and I experienced. Bridal shows tend to give out TONS of great door prizes. From photography sessions, to free cakes, to honeymoons or even a completely free wedding (!) this is your best bet for useful gifts. If you’re looking for a way to get your attire for free, David’s Bridal and Men’s Warehouse constantly have sweepstakes going on for free dresses and tuxes!


There are some things that you get to experience when you’re engaged that you won’t after your wedding. Don’t be afraid to put you’re email down for a few or even one hundred businesses to get your name in a drawing. Yea, you’ll receive multiple emails, but if you’re lucky your wedding could be on the house!


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