As you probably know by now, the votes of our Modern Bride of the Year contest have been tallied and our top five finalists are preparing to make the trip to NYC to compete for this coveted title. And we couldn't be more excited to get to know them. But all of our 10 semifinalists were so incredible, we're sorry we won't get to meet each of them. Still, it's nice to know they enjoyed participating in the contest, which is why we were thrilled to get a lovely e-mail from one of the runners-up, Courtney Smith. Those of you who voted know her inspiring story: After losing her mother to breast cancer and leukemia, Courtney founded a nonprofit organization called Package of Prevention that educates people about early detection. Here's what she said:
"Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to participate in the Modern Bride of the Year Contest. It was a great honor to be amongst such a great group of women. I have to tell you that this contest really helped to bring my family and I some fun, joy, and great memories. My fiance and I had the best time making my video, my brother (the man of honor) got so into the contest and got all of his friends involved, and my dad was going around telling everyone that we was the semi-finalist for Modern Dad of the Year because he is both mom and dad of the bride now.
More importantly, I am very appreciative I was able to share my love story about my fiance and Package of Prevention with others. I fully understand the vows and meaning of through sickness and health after watching my father care for my mother. I think a lot of people understand what it means to care for someone while sick, and as a modern bride, I vow to pay close attention to the "in health" portion by ensuring that I do everything to ensure I take care of my health and also encourage my future husband to do the same! I hope that my video may have helped to encourage at least one person out there to get screened and talk about their health."
We are so impressed with Courtney's strength and conviction for her cause. And we feel so privileged to have had her and the other four amazing women who made it to the semifinal round be part of our contest. There's no question that they are all modern brides in their own right. —Elaine Stuart, senior associate features/travel editor, Modern Bride