Jose Herrera has never worn a tuxedo.
That will change Sunday, Jan. 30.
Jose and his fiancée, Veronica Valencia, will be getting married, courtesy of a giveaway package as part of the Las Cruces Bridal and Special Events Showcase.
When she got the news Jan. 21, Veronica was making chili dogs to take to Jose for lunch at his job working for the Town of Mesilla.
“I said, ‘No! Really?’” Veronica said. “I was shocked.”
The “Tie the Knot” contest, sponsored by Adams Radio Group, is part of the annual Las Cruces Bridal & Special Events Showcase, sponsored by Las Cruces Event Planning, the Las Cruces Convention Center and the Las Cruces Bulletin.
In “Tie the Knot,” couples from throughout the Mesilla Valley registered in a drawing for a free wedding. The wedding includes a free dress for the bride, free tuxedo for the groom, a free reception, free cake, free officiant, free DJ, free photography and more, even a free ring.
There was one catch.
The couple had to be prepared to actually get married live at the Bridal & Special Events Showcase Jan. 30, nine days after the drawing.
Jose and Veronica have been together more than 11 years, and actually got engaged five years ago, but between their jobs and three young sons, they never had time to put together a wedding.
“It just kept on getting pushed off,” Veronica said.
They first met on a set-up date in October 2010 coordinated by Jose’s best friend and Veronica’s sister.
Their first date was at the now-defunct night club Graham’s Central Station in Las Cruces.
“We hit it off right away,” Jose said, remembering their first dance to a Spanish song.
Both Jose and Veronica grew up in Las Cruces. Veronica was born and raised here. Jose is originally from California, but “moved here when I was really small.”
The couple has three small ones of their own now: Jose Jr., 9; Javier, 8; and Jonathan, 4.
The boys didn’t have a whole lot to say when the news of the wedding came about.
Neither did Veronica and Jose.
“It’s all still sinking in,” said Veronica just a few hours after the announcement they had won.
When she originally entered the contest, she figured it was a super longshot, but decided to go ahead and put her name in.
“Ah, what the heck,” she figured.
But when she got the call, right in the middle of making the chili dogs, she was glad she had entered.
“We’re just so thankful for this opportunity to celebrate with our family,” Veronica said.
Soon after the announcement, Veronica was sitting with Marisa Robles of the convention center, selecting fabric swatches for the reception and wedding.
Red and black will be the colors Jan. 30.
Learn more about the Bridal & Special Events Showcase on Page 8 of this week’s Bulletin.