Tweeting For Votes

A Kiss By the Pool

Local Couple in National Nuptials Contest

OK, so maybe it isn’t quite infinite, but it is a cause célèbre that is reaching quite a few people in South Florida and beyond. And it is being promoted by such high profile local luminaries as South Florida über promoter Michael Capponi, beloved South Beach Wine & Food Festival head honcho Lee Schrager and local publicist Lisa Silvera, to name just a few.

Just what “it” is, is the stuff of quintessential South Florida public life, complete with requisite color and characters. It’s a slip of a tale of the community’s tight-knit glitterati. It is, in fact, a marketing movement. But is also the tale of the impending nuptials of local celebrity couple Tara Solomon and Nick D’Annunzio.

Just this week, Capponi spelled out the effort in an email to his widely coveted email list. Its message was simple: “Please help Nick and Tara make it into the top 50 in Crate & Barrel’s Dream Wedding contest! Only one week left to get 1,500 votes. Please vote today! (Each email account can vote once.) If everyone receiving this would just vote once, we can make our goal!” It was followed by the web address for interested parties to vote.

At issue is a contest sponsored by the estimable retailer and DailyCandy.com. In it, couples planning weddings have the chance to win a grand prize of a $100,000 gourmet wedding. First, though, they must earn enough online votes to make the top 50. Then the winning couples (there are awards besides the grand prize) will be chosen by the sponsors and A-list planner extraordinaire Jo Gartin (who will also organize the grand prize winners’ big day).

Solomon and D’Annunzio were on holiday in Palm Springs when Tara came across mention of the contest. The two are no strangers to public life. Solomon is a writer, television personality and co-principal of TARA, Ink, a public relations, special events and creative marketing firm with offices in Miami Beach, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. A resident of Miami Beach since the late 1980s, Tara is considered a South Beach pioneer, credited for helping to shape South Beach’s demimonde through her popular Miami Herald nightlife and social column, “Queen of the Night,” which she penned and photographed in the 1990s.

D’Annunzio specializes in strategic marketing, event coordination, product development and public relations. He has worked with many of the most successful companies in the beauty and fashion worlds in creating national event strategies and product development. He has partnered both personally and professionally with many local organizations and national charities including D.I.F.F.A., National Parkinson’s Foundation, Fashion Group International, Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, Miami City Ballet, Boys and Girls Club and Cystic Fibrosis. Nick has also co-produced and sponsored numerous regional fashions shows for designers including Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Cynthia Rowley and Betsey Johnson.

These days the couple of 12 years are partners in TARA, Ink. Still, they weren’t looking for anything high profile when, on a whim, Tara suggested entering the contest. “I hadn’t entered a contest in, well, decades. I thought it would be fun and it reminded me of these harebrained, campy things I did as a kid to entertain myself,” Tara said. “I don’t think Nick even heard me when I told him I was going to enter us.”

Not long after they entered the contest, the couple discovered that garnering enough votes to make it to the top 50 was no easy thing, despite their marketing prowess and massive contact list. Hampering the effort were Solomon and D’Annunzio’s very different perspectives on the contest — perspectives that have amused and entertained circles of Facebook and Twitter friends and social contacts for weeks.

“It began quite innocently and it became a campaign,” muses Solomon. “Nick is, well, a reluctant co-entrant. I’m not allowed to promote it to his friends, our clients or people he considers mutual friends. So those people I’ve known longer, I claim. I have to speak in code so he doesn’t know what I’m doing.” Solomon said her husband-to-be has actually canceled contest participation four times.

“The first time Nick went off the edge was when he got in the elevator and someone recognized him from the flyer I had made and put under doors,” Solomon said. “He told Nick he recognized him from the flyer. Nick asked what flyer. So, the guy showed it to Nick.” The second cancellation came after Nick’s friends posted it on the future groom’s Facebook wall. “The third time was just because,” Solomon said.

It was all good fun. And then recently Solomon discovered that the couple was lagging way behind the top vote-getters and in serious danger of not making the first cut. “That’s when I had to go into hard-core mode,” joked Solomon. Being both extremely busy and hamstrung by D’Annunzio’s reticence, Solomon said her friends stepped in either voluntarily or after she asked.

Of course, those friends are hardly low profile. Schrager solicited support, tweeting to his almost 2,700 followers. Silvera launched a campaign for national support from other publicists, on her own. This week’s eblast by Capponi reached… well, no one knows how many people. But many. His e-list is considered to be massive. His Facebook fans list is more than 1,100 names long. Friends assisting in the effort are more than happy to help the respected couple.

“Nick and Tara are amazing and we have been friends for many years,” Capponi said. “We have always been supportive of each other and I wanted to help. Sending an email out was the least I could do and with the outreach to thousands of people that are continually involved, I hope it will give them the votes they need to win. The response has been outstanding and the comments, heartfelt. I wish them the best.”

Well-known spinning celeb DJ Irie said she thinks a Nick and Tara win would be good for more than just the couple and their friends. “If my girl T needs my help, I’m there,” DJ Irie said. “Nick and Tara are good friends and do a lot of good for others. They have a shot at this if we all show our support and vote. How great would this be for Miami?” DJ Irie has 3,310 fans on Facebook and almost 18,000 followers on Twitter. Solomon said she is very grateful for the help of friends — and that she has learned a lot.

“This has given me hands-on experience with Facebook and Twitter 4.0,” she quipped. “I’ve dealt with this promoting clients all the time. But this is taking it to the guerrilla level.” Solomon said she personally felt like maybe, just maybe, she was getting over her head when she posted on a site defined as “Hot Jewish Girls.”

“I realized later, it was like a swinger’s site so I deleted it,” she said. “But, hey, Nick has left me no choice with his rules!” More recently, Solomon said, “I even tweeted to Lady GaGa last night!”

There will be some advantages to the campaign being concluded — one way or another. “Despite doing what we do, we’re both very private people,” Solomon said. “We were anticipating very quiet nuptials… well, no mas.” However the contest turns out, Solomon said she knows one absolute result. “I’ve already won — I’ve got Nick.”

Crate & Barrel Ultimate Wedding Contest Nick & Tara

Tell us your love story.

We met at a club in South Beach, a chance encounter with mutual friends. He liked my legs, but complimented my Gucci stilettos. He knew the instant we met that we were destined to be together. Worried that he was too young, too smooth and perhaps too into my shoes, I took a bit longer. But his boyish swagger, megawatt smile and old soul eventually won me over. Twelve years later, the club has long since closed, but we are going strong. More in love than ever, we figured it was about time to make things official.

Describe three details of your wedding.

After a traditional church ceremony, we’ll celebrate with family and friends at an Old Hollywood-themed reception at an iconic hotel in Miami Beach — a tribute to my late parents, who were married there in 1957. Classic cocktails by a lantern-lit pool will kick things off, followed by a degustation menu with wine pairings. There will be lots of candlelight, voluptuous flowers and pink champagne. We’ll dance to Rat Pack standards; guest favors will be pouches of Italian love knot cookies. The wedding cake — adorned with vintage topper — will be semi-sweet chocolate with fluffy coconut icing.

Describe your dream day.

Our perfect day starts with kisses and breakfast in bed, followed by a workout at the gym (Nick) and reading the morning papers over chai-spiced coffee (Tara). We’d then hit a flea market to find vintage treasures for our home and stop at open houses on the way back, collecting design ideas. Next would be sushi and a matinee movie, followed by a late afternoon walk on the beach and cocktails at sunset at a clandestine dive. Then home for a cheese course with condiments, and dessert tray of all things dark chocolate… and more kisses.

To vote for Nick and Tara in the Crate & Barrel’s Dream Wedding contest, visit here.

About Michael W Sasser

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