I've always known that Alicia from The Charity Weddingblog was a kind, sweet, wonderful person. But it wasn't until I read the email of her guest post that I realized how wonderful Alicia and her husband really are. They kept going with their idea even when some people told them it was crazy and that takes strength, heart, and perseverance. Read how Alicia's wedding gave back and how this beautiful couple continues to give back...
Table of contents:
- why did you decide to do this for your wedding?...
- what are the charities that you donated to?
- what vendors helped donate or give cheaper services?
- have you heard from other brides and grooms who were inspired by you to do the same?
- how much did you end up donating?
- what was the final cost of your wedding?
1 Why Did You Decide to do This for Your Wedding?...
The idea for a Charity Wedding popped into my head late one night while I was laying in bed stressing over wedding planning decisions, cost, details, and everything else that goes into a wedding. We had been engaged for over 6 months and had made little to no progress on actually planning the wedding due to our inability to commit and the stress over how much it would all cost. It wasn't necessarily the money in general that bothered us but rather the fact that we would be spending thousands of dollars on one day for ourselves. It really wasn't our style as neither of us like to be the center of attention so we were left feeling overwhelmed and burdened by the whole process- absolutely not how I thought wedding planning should be. I felt like I had to give the wedding a purpose, something that would motivate me to move forward, and something that would do more than just benefit me. The next day I woke up, typed up "the rules," started a blog, and emailed a huge list of vendors. The simplest version of how it worked is that we set a budget of $10,000 and we asked vendors to donate all or a portion of their time/service (the amount was determined by them) and then we would donate the balance of the budget to charity. Honestly I think if I had taken a few days to think about it and let it settle in, I would have never done it as I know it was completely crazy, unconventional, and a lot to ask of vendors who make their living on weddings. But none the less I went for it and the rest is history!
2 What Are the Charities That You Donated to?
We had never donated or volunteered with any of the charities that were selected but our goal was to find local charities that would really benefit from not only the money but also the awareness we hoped to bring to their respective causes. Originally when the concept began we determined that we would let the vendors involved select 3 charities through a collective vote but then as the process started rolling we wanted to have a cause to get started with and to get people more interested in what we were doing. Kyle and I decided to selectCamp Soaring Eagle which is a local organization that sends children with serious and terminal illness to Camp for the weekend or even for the week in the summer so that they can just get away and be kids in a medically safe setting. We had heard a lot about them because they had recently lost their lease on the property that they were building their permanent Camp facility on. It was a low blow to their morale and we wanted to show them some extra support. We then added Second Chance Center for Animalsand the American Heart Association which were both vendor picks. Melissa Dunstan, our photographer and first vendor on board, has a huge passion for animals and this organization meant a lot to her. She didn't think twice when I asked her where she would want the money to go.Kim Duncan, our** event designer**, had told us at our first meeting that her Mom had passed away much too soon of heart disease and so the American Heart Association had become an important cause for her. In an effort to show our support to them we made them a beneficiary of the wedding funds and to honor Kim's Mom all the girls including myself and the guests wore red shoes.
3 What Vendors Helped Donate or Give Cheaper Services?
(Alicia's gorgeous bridal sash made by Marie of Emici Bridal)
I can't not even begin to tell you how honored and humbled we were by the response from vendors and by the amazingly talented people that got on board wholeheartedly. Our vendors included Melissa Dunstan Photography, KD Event Designs,Glamorous Occasions(floral), The R2 Studio(engagement photos), Taltos Productions, Downtown Browne Productions(DJ), Carly Thomas Jewelry,Emici Bridal, Creative Custom Card Boxes, Heartline Cafe(rehearsal dinner), Red Rock Cafe, Sedona Sweet Arts, Sedona Woman Wine, and Sweet Grace Restaurant(favors). Honestly the only things we paid for in full were our outfits: dress, suit, and shoes, the venue and rentals. Of course several vendors thought we were out of our minds so the fact that so many wonderful people got involved- some even contacted me and asked how they could help- was truly incredible. In addition it was in mid-October- a very busy wedding season in Northern Az which made their sacrifice even more impressive.
Please continue reading about The Charity Wedding...
4 Have You Heard from Other Brides and Grooms Who Were Inspired by You to do the Same?
I do get emails and comments on my blog from other couples who are inspired in some way by our wedding and I love that! I am fully aware that not every couple can do what we did nor do we expect them to. The wedding industry would go broke! We just hope to inspire couples to think about their weddings just a bit differently and to redirect funds where possible to include little bits of charity into their big day. There are so many ways now to bring some good will into the most important day of your life with absolutely no sacrifice whatsoever. In fact, even as extreme as our wedding was, in every other way it was a completely normal wedding. Truthfully I think our wedding was so much more special due to not only knowing that we were helping other people but through the relationships we formed with various charities and organizations. Kyle and I now volunteer regularly with Camp Soaring Eagle and serve on their Steering Committee and I don't think we would have had that opportunity otherwise. We would seek out local charities to feature on the blog and so we learned a lot about some really great organizations in our community just because we had a reason to be looking! The process inspired and motivated us as well to do more for our community and to get involved.
5 How Much Did You End up Donating?
The total amount collected through our fund raising efforts and contributed by us was $6,429. In addition, a significant amount of money was donated by guests in lieu of wedding gifts
6 What Was the Final Cost of Your Wedding?
Including what we donated to charity we likely spent around $15,000 on everything. We wanted to only include main vendor services in the original $10,000 budget we set so that their work was represented through the donation. Even with all the discounted and donated services, it would have been difficult to create the event and still have a significant amount left over to donate. So we didn't include things like our wedding bands, bridesmaids gifts, and things like that into our original budget. We never wanted the vendors to feel like we were just trying to score a cheap wedding so we also made sacrifices as well by cutting things that weren't absolutely necessary and by making a lot of things ourselves.
Congratulations to Alicia and Kyle...thank you for an inspiring story and wedding blog!
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