WINSLOW — A local mother of the bride is off the hook for matrimonial expenses now that her daughter has won a contest for a $100,000 dream wedding.

Nancy Kavanagh’s daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law were chosen by online voters for the 2012 Real Maine Wedding of the Year Contest. The couple, Alyssa Kavanagh, 24, and Nick Planeta, 25, of Cambridge, Mass., will receive $100,000 worth of goods and services from Maine businesses for their Nov. 2 nuptials in Portland.

Kavanagh and Planeta are both graduates of Colby College. They have been engaged since Dec. 18.

On Feb. 12, the couple entered a two-minute video to plead their case for the grand prize. A panel of judges narrowed the field of submissions to three finalists, then online voters picked the couple, who learned of their prize on April 1.

Nancy Kavanagh, who is a foreign language teacher at Messalonskee Middle School and a single mother, said she’s elated by her daughter’s news.

“I’d want to provide a beautiful wedding for her — the wedding of her dreams — and this gives us that opportunity,” she said.

The average cost of a wedding in the United States is about $27,000, according to a 2011 survey by wedding websites and The grand prize from Real Maine Wedding is 270 percent higher than the national average.

The bride said the prize is all-encompassing. It covers all the traditional trappings, from the ceremony to the reception, to the rehearsal dinner, tuxedoes, the wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses and more.

The groom said the contest appears to avoid at least one tradition. The contest provides a dinner to kick off the bachelor and bachelorette parties, “then it’s up to my groomsmen to plan the party itself — when we split off from the bridesmaids.”

The couple will soon be meeting with two wedding planners to choose three top picks for honeymoon location, the cake and more and posted to the Real Maine Wedding website. Those top picks will be voted on by online readers beginning next month.

Kavanagh and Planeta met in 2006 at Gifford’s Ice Cream in Waterville. They were on a double date, but not with each other.

“My friend was on a date with him, and I was with my boyfriend at the time,” Kavanagh said. “We hit it off, though. We stayed in touch and became friends.”

Kavanagh added that her friend has given the wedding her blessing, and is happy she played a part in getting the couple together.

Nancy Kavanagh said the grand prize is a good thing, but it’s only one component of something larger.

“Let’s just say this wedding is icing on the cake after seeing my daughter exceptionally happy with the person she has chosen,” she said. “To find the man of her dreams and have a fairytale wedding … it just makes my heart and soul smile.”

Ben McCanna — 861-9239

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