When they exchange vows, engaged Playa del Rey couple Molly Mouchka and Jason Waggoner could become a lot more familiar to Americans.
Mouchka, 36, and Waggoner, 37, are less than week away from a chance at winning the seventh annual Today show series “Today Throws a Wedding” on NBC.
The couple has reached the finals of the seven-week contest and if they win Wednesday, September 20th, they will have their free wedding soon after — Friday, October 6th, before a nationally televised audience.
This is the first year of the “Today Throws a Wedding” series, in which couples have had to compete against each other for a chance to get married live in New York City on the Today show.
Throughout each week of the competition, viewers have voted for the couple they thought performed the best, and Mouchka and Waggoner have made it from being one of the original group of seven couples to one of the final two.
By winning “immunity” in the challenge Wednesday, September 6th, the Playa del Rey couple could not be voted out the following week and secured a spot in the finals.
The other final couple, that avoided elimination Wednesday, September 13th, is from Richmond, Virginia.
Viewers can cast their vote at www.today.msnbc.com for one of the final two couples. Voting for the contest finals began September 13th and closes at 2 p.m. Pacific standard time Monday, September 18th.
The winning couple will be announced Wednesday, September 20th, and the wedding planning period on the show for the October 6th live wedding will begin Monday, September 25th.
As Mouchka and her fiancÈ headed into the final week, she said they were “relaxed, grateful and real excited” to have made it this far, but they know they haven’t won just yet.
“We’re not taking anything for granted,” said Waggoner, who is originally from Encino and is president of StarWaggons, a studio location equipment company.
“We’re going to continue with the same amount of campaigning and will talk to everyone we can about voting.”
The couple proved their desire to win by capturing immunity in an impressive come-from-behind victory in the obstacle-course challenge September 6th.
Mouchka said they accomplished the feat through their determination to earn a spot in the finals.
“It was pure determination turned into rocket fuel,” said Mouchka, who is originally from Sacramento and works as a mortgage broker in Manhattan Beach. “It really bolstered our confidence and made us believe that we could win.”
But Waggoner attributed the comeback victory to the couple’s “tricycle skills.”
Mouchka and Waggoner have been together for nearly three years. Waggoner asked Mouchka to marry him after she had defeated him in a game of tennis while they were on vacation in Hawaii.
As part of the engagement, Waggoner had also asked Mouchka’s stepfather to write a letter on behalf of her late mother, expressing her thoughts and feelings about the couple’s future engagement.
“My mom was the most important person in my life and the fact that he included her made me feel that she was actually there,” said Mouchka, whose biological father also died when she was younger.
Waggoner said he wanted to include Mouchka’s mother in the special moment because he knew she had an “extraordinary” relationship with her daughter.
Mouchka said the couple decided to enter “Today Throws a Wedding” after they were having a difficult time planning their wedding while she was grieving the loss of her mother.
Mouchka said she had trouble making decisions about the wedding plans, but then she saw the advertisement for the Today wedding series.
“I’m a loyal Today show watcher and I thought, ‘This is an omen,'” she said.
Over the last six weeks of the show, Mouchka and Waggoner say they “have had a blast” with the various challenges and being able to meet the other couples, as well as the Today show cast.
The couple has also traveled over 40,000 miles back and forth between Playa del Rey and New York City during the competition, Mouchka said.
Most important for Mouchka, she says the experience has brought her even closer to her fiancÈ.
“Having to work as a team has been by far the best part,” she said.
If the couple wins the contest, Mouchka said it would be a “total feeling of victory” because it is something that took the utmost of strength and teamwork.
When the couple first entered the contest they didn’t even think they would be selected, but they feel “fortunate and blessed” to have come this far, she said.
“It would be an honor to be married in front of America, Mouchka said.