How much would you spend for limousine service, a 20-minute plane ride over Utah Valley, all-you-can-eat pizza and a dance?
"I can do it for about $15 a person," said Brigham Young University student Joel Ward, 23, who set out to prove that there must be more to life than going into debt for expensive dates.Ward is majoring in secondary education and wants to teach American government to high school kids, but right now creating fun activities seems to be his hobby.
"He is Mr. Organizer," said Kim Kauwe, a friend who helped him put together one particular evening's festivities that involved 42 couples.
The unusual date lasted from about 5 p.m. to midnight, and each couple received a limousine ride to the Provo airport, a plane ride around Utah County, all the pizza they could eat and entrance to a dance.
The best part was watching him get the pizza places involved in bartering back and forth for the opportunity to supply the meal for the dance, Kauwe said.
Finally Pizza Hut gave Ward an offer he couldn't refuse. "Working with the businesses in the community has been great," he said.
According to Ward, the 42 couples paid $7.45 per person for the plane ride, $4.27 per person for the limousine service, $1.19 per person for all-you-can-eat pizza, and $1.11 for everything else, including a photo of the evening and a bottle of Martinellis for the ride to the airport.
The extra 98 cents a person went toward a few tickets that Ward gave away free.
"The bottom line is we came out even," said Ward, who emphasized that he did not do this just to make money.
He put together a plane-ride date last year but decided it would be nice to add a dinner and dance as an alternative dating idea for Utah Valley.
Ward's extravaganzas are not limited to BYU students. Anyone is welcome, said Ward, who is thinking about planning a trip to California this summer, which would include transportation, room and board, and Disneyland for about $60.
Lisa Schwendiman was one of the lucky ones invited on the date, though Ward said girls were doing the asking just as often because it is the time of year for "preference," or girls-choice, dates.
Schwendiman said the evening was absolutely amazing. "It is great to have a different kind of date."
And it is something far different - and better - than just sitting down to watch a video.