There's a bride war brewing in Tampa Bay.
Two local women and their fiances are finalists in a bridalwear company's destination wedding sweepstakes. Jasmine Robinson of Tampa and Nadia Beharry of St. Petersburg submitted their love stories to Jasmine Bridal's St. Lucia Lighthouse Dream Wedding Giveaway. Out of more than 1,000 nationwide entries, contest staff chose both women's essays for the top 10. Now it's up to the public to determine which bride will win a wedding gown, a Sept. 4 wedding in St. Lucia and more.
Read their stories, then vote online at coconutbayresortandspa.com/ jasminewedding to help make one woman's dream come true. Voting ends June 5.
Jasmine Robinson and Kenneth Cutler
Robinson met Cutler in 2006 while she was a pharmacy student. She had a clinical clerkship at Tampa General Hospital, where Cutler works as an accountant. They occasionally ran into each other in the hospital, but when Robinson's clerkship ended, "I just thought I would never see him again," the 25-year-old said.
But soon after, Cutler came to buy cold medicine at the Walgreens where Robinson is a pharmacist. He asked for cold medicine and — after a few more not-so-accidental encounters — her phone number. In December 2009, Cutler took Robinson to the Bern's Steak House Dessert Room, where he proposed.
Robinson was doing wedding research online when the Jasmine Bridal contest caught her eye because of the name. She believes she and Cutler deserve to win "because first of all, my name is Jasmine," she said with a laugh. "I'm not a Bridezilla type. I really want something simple and family-oriented."
In case she and Cutler don't win, they've set a backup wedding date for March 13, 2011. They'd like to get married at Davis Islands Garden Club. And for the honeymoon?
"We wanted to go to the Caribbean anyway," Robinson said, "so St. Lucia would be gorgeous."
Nadia Beharry and Tyson Le Monte
Three years ago, Beharry met Le Monte on Match.com.
"I had just moved up here from Miami and was doing my residency, and it was hard to meet people," said Beharry, 31, who is — get this — also a pharmacist. (She works at the VA in St. Pete.) After a few weeks of chatting, the two went on their first date at Byblos Cafe in South Tampa.
"He wasn't like anybody else I had ever met. He seemed so cultured. He was born in Europe, and he spoke five different languages. That in itself was very impressive," Beharry said. "He was really funny. It was really easy to fall for him."
Fast-forward to February 2009, when Beharry and Le Monte were vacationing at a Paris hotel that overlooked the Eiffel Tower. Le Monte had a vanilla cake delivered to the room. On top sat an antique diamond ring.
Beharry says she and Le Monte deserve the free wedding because she's helping her mom pay for nursing school. Still, if Beharry and Le Monte aren't chosen, she's ready with Plan B: a budget-friendly ceremony in the Dominican Republic.
"It's a good back-up plan, still," Beharry said. "That one would be in December, when hurricane season is over."