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Engaged with a Cause: above and beyond the Wedding Industry...

Whether your imprint in this world will be big or small, we can all make a difference. That is the inspiring feeling I get when I talk to these wonderful ladies like Julie from Engaged with a Cause. Yet another amazing blogger/ bride who wants to do more than just get married...

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1. In What Ways Are You Donating or Volunteering?

We are hiring socially conscious vendors for our wedding- whether that means that they are charitable, use sustainable practices, or have a record of helping others in some way.

Just a few examples of our "wedding donations"

~Our engagement pictures were done by SFCand 100% of our $500 fee went to helping local public television station WYESin New Orleans.

~10% of the fee fromDear New Orleans, which will shoot our rehearsal dinner, will go to Evacuteer.org.

~25% of the Groom's party's ties (Elizabeth St. John) will go to saving the Red Apes.
~50% of Save-the-Dates by Carissa Nee will go to UNICEFJapan
~We are registered with the I Do Foundation, so 3-5% of every purchase on our registry will benefit Donors Choose, Share Our Strengthand the Global Fund for Women.

~Our photographer, Fine Arts Exposure, for the wedding is donating $500 of her fee for our wedding to Operation Smile.~Baby Eliza Boutiqueis doing my hairpieces and donating a percent to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

In some cases, our fee will not go directly to charity, but the vendor will then in turn be able to help others who cannot afford the service otherwise- like our wedding planner (Get Polished) helps with Wish Upon A Weddingor in kind works like our videographer, Studio Vieux Carre, who will be doing pro-bono psa's for local homeless non-profits with the payment from our wedding.

As far as volunteering goes, we both do volunteer work regularly and we are trying to incorporate volunteer projects into our bachelor and bachelorette parties. Andrew's will be in New Orleans- so there is a lot of need there- habitat for humanity, etc. Mine will be here in DC and I would love to do something involving DC Central Kitchen or another similar program. We are looking into doing a day of voluntourism on our honeymoon (hopefully in Costa Rica).

It has been amazing to learn about all the ways our vendors volunteer their time and services. Our band, led by John Gray, doubles as music educators and do lots of free charitable performances. Horst Pfiefferthe chef for our reception at The Foundry, was honored as aculinary philanthropistfor his service to first responders after Hurricane Katrina.

continue reading about Julie and Andrew...

2. Why Did You Want to Put the Word out through Your Blog?

When Andrew (my fiance) and I got engaged, we were struck by the amount of attention that we were receiving. Both of us are more used to working form behind the scenes a bit more. I work for a non-profit and a charitable blog seemed like a natural fit. When I went to browse the web for ideas on how to make my wedding charitable, I found that there were vendors out there, but not in one place.The Charity Weddingand Just b.Causeoffer some great resources, as does the I Do Foundation. Engaged with a Causeis aimed more at philanthropic endeavors that apply to the wedding industry and not just weddings because that is where I have more experience and where I see potential to reach people who might not be getting married, but just want to do good. For example, in some of my recent posts I featured a designer who donated to Tsunami/Earthquake relief and cosmetics that give back. While my posts were relevant to weddings- save-the-dates and make-up for weddings, someone who is not tying the knot could use these services too.

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3. Who do You Raise Awareness for and Why?

This is an interesting question. I am using my blog to raise awareness for: 1) charitable vendors- either not-for profit (Cakes for Cause, Truffles for a Cause) orall-benefit organizations- (Lipgloss4lives, Haughty Cosmetics), 2) my personal wedding vendors- the blog is a platform by which I can recognize the charitable deeds of my vendors, like Walter Grio of Shoot for Change and Elizabeth St. John (bridesmaid dresses) and Carissa Nee (designer), 3) worthy not-for-profits whose work can be showcased, 4) other socially conscious websites/vendors- Kristin at Rose Pedals Veganor Alicia at The Charity Wedding, Rachel at Just b. Cause, etc. and 5) Eco-conscious groups.

I've learned about so many great causes during this process and I hope other have too. The main reason I decided to write the blog is awareness and one of the most rewarding aspects of doing it is hearing from people that they have learned something or that they will be incorporating a charitable component that they learned about from my blog into their own wedding. Weddings are typically a once in a lifetime event - and having people incorporate a good cause I wrote about into their day is incredibly rewarding.

4. Will You Continue to Blog about Charity Work after Your Wedding?

I hope so! I'm actually excited to continue after the wedding- I will be able to devote more time to the blog and less to my own wedding! I'm actually hoping to launch my own full website very soon. It will be a resource for people trying to incorporate charitable planning into their wedding.

Other notes:

It is important for me that people know it is really hard to have a wedding that is 100% charitable, but just by doing a few things that fit for you- it can make a big difference. The blog is meant to give people options to pick from that match their ideas for their big day or that help a cause that has meaning for them.

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