Happily Ever After: Congratulations To Our Giveaway Recipients
If youre applying for the 2023 Happily Ever After competition, click here.
If this initiative has taught us anything as a team, it is the complexity and diversity of the human experience, even during what many would perceive as the “happiest time” of a person’s life. While organising and working together on this giveaway felt incredibly empowering to us, during a time when you can feel so powerless in being able to help others who are struggling, making our way through each application was an incredibly sobering experience. Not only did it highlight to us how unpredictable life can be, but it also gave us an overwhelming sense of perspective, especially during the last year.
The Happily Ever After Giveaway attracted close to 200 nominations, with over 30,000 words of heartfelt life summaries, from all corners of Australia and the USA. As a team, we read each story in depth, learning of the heartbreaking experiences of some of our followers. Before launching the initiative, we pondered what kinds of applications we would receive, with the general assumption being that they would be largely pandemic related, with a small selection outside that category. What we came to discover was that while each story tore us apart, each application was entirely different from the last, and expanded across everything from illnesses, to financial struggles, to loss of loved ones and miscarriages, and so much more.
Our strategy to decide on the final recipient was to each go away with all of the applications and shortlist those which we deemed the most deserving before coming back together. What we came to find was that once we compared our shortlists, there was absolutely no overlap, which highlighted how this was never a black and white decision and how inherently subjective this process would be. It also demonstrated how our individual experiences influenced which applications would resonate the most.
As we slowly began to narrow down the list, Karen shared a thought that gave incredible clarity to why we seemed to be struggling so much, stating that, “at the end of the day, each individual bride deserves nothing more than happiness and it is without a doubt that every application that we have received could be seen as an incontestable recipient of this giveaway”.
After a long discussion over several days, we finally decided on a group of finalists. At this point, we thought contacting them to learn more about their situation would help us identify a clear recipient, however as we got to know each of them better we only became more stuck.
As a result, Karen generously decided to expand the giveaway to more than one recipient, as she felt there was no way we could objectively decide on one person.