Monthly Archives: January 2011

Giving the Gift of Charity

When Prince William marries Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011 at Westminster Abby, the couple’s ceremony will be followed by a celebration. Maybe royals are not too unlike commoners after all! Both the ceremony and celebration are likely to be attended by well-known figures from the royal family to Sir Paul McCartney, who is rumored to be performing at the wedding reception though the music has not been confirmed. There is one other specific aspect about this wedding that will make it different from many others – the couple is thinking about asking for charity donations in lieu of wedding gifts.

Giving the gift of a charitable donation is noble, but in the case of this royal wedding, it will also take some of the pressure off of guests. What does one buy for a Prince and Princess-to-be? Prince William and Kate Middleton are already involved in numerous charities, so it would only make sense for them to ask for donations. However, for other couples who are not tied to a charity (or have a royal status), it may seem like a bit more of a challenge. While this may be the case, according to the charitable gift giving website, The I Do Foundation, 10% of couples consistently visit the site each year to learn more about incorporating charities into their wedding day.

The I Do Foundation was founded in 2002, and in 2009 the organization merged with another charity organization, JustGive.org. Through this merger, it is the mission of both companies to make charitable giving as easy as possible. On its site, the I Do Foundation not only outlines how couples can request donations in lieu of gifts, but in an idea index, they also suggest how to “go green” and even how to book honeymoon reservations while still giving back.

If a couple is seriously thinking about requesting donations, JustGive.org has information and links outlining how to create a wedding registry for charity. In addition, donations can go beyond what guests give to the couple. The I Do Foundation also provides ideas for wedding favors.  One of the suggestions is to present guests with a charity gift card whereby the guests can donate to the charity of their choice rather than the one the newly married couple has chosen to support. (This favor idea also works for other events, such as showers, birthday parties, and bat mitzvahs too!)

The coffeemaker, teapot, and china will always exist. However, the opportunity to seamlessly involve close friends and family with the charity of the couples’ choosing may not. With the help of the I Do Foundation and JustGive.org, all couples can be in the company of royalty, at least for a day, through giving the gift of charity.

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For Love of THE Dress

Leanne Fontana falls in love with her dress at Kleinfeld.

Every Friday night, my mom and I have a ritual – we watch Say Yes to the Dress on TLC. We love to see which dresses brides decide to try on, whether it be a ball gown or mermaid, contemporary or classic style. However, aside from watching brides try on designer gowns much to their families’ delights, one of the best parts of each episode is learning the bride’s dress budget.

Last week’s episode showcased two brides – polar opposites – standing on opposite ends of the wedding dress spectrum. The first bride, Liza, was going to get married not once but twice, to the same groom, of course. The first wedding was held in Nigeria in 2010, and the second wedding is going to be held in May 2011. Liza’s parents supplied her with an unlimited budget for her wedding dress. This may explain why she was back at Kleinfeld, the scene of every Say Yes to the Dress episode, to look for a dress to top the $17,000 Swarovski encrusted dress that she had already purchased. After trying on numerous dresses, Liza left Kleinfeld without a dress, but instead with an idea – the designer of her first wedding dress could design a second dress costing upwards of $40,000-$50,000. Maybe with the help of a designer, Liza will be able to fulfill her dream of wearing an “amazing, over-the-top dress.”

Like Liza, the second bride, Leanne, was also shopping for her second wedding dress. However, she was seeking to find a dress that she truly loved because although she loved the price of the dress she had already purchased – $249 – she was not in love with the dress. Not only was Leanne’s budget much simpler – $2,000 – but her wedding was much more down to earth too. She is getting married in the same church where her parents were married years ago. After trying on several dresses, Leanne chose a flowing dress, which featured a sweetheart neckline and a beaded band around her waist. Leanne’s dress happened to be my personal favorite of the night.

Not only was Leanne’s budget much more down to earth, but her overall outlook was much more realistic too. She wanted a dress that she loved, not one that would top a Swarovski encrusted gown. How does one even top that anyway? She also was getting married in the same church as her parents. It’s an action that is both endearing to others and reassuring that she is making the right decision for Leanne, especially since it sounded as if her parents had been married for a long time. In the end, Liza, along with future brides to be, should take a page out of Leanne’s book: a wedding should be about love – love shared between the couple, family, and friends, and, of course, a bride’s love of THE dress that does not break the bank.

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Going to the Chapel

“Goin’ to the chapel, and we’re gonna get married.” This lyric from the 1964 song Chapel of Love by the Dixie Cups at one time represented the venue where a bride walked down the aisle. She met her waiting groom to exchange vows, flanked on one side by her father, a veil covering her face. Not only did Chapel of Love represent the venue where the couple got married, but it also represented the simplicity of a wedding.

As time has past, weddings have lost much of their simplicity – if a wedding can ever really be simple – and have become much more of an event. Now, couples do not necessarily go to a chapel, or a place of worship, to get married. In fact, when the term chapel is mentioned some may first think of the chapels lining the glittering streets of Las Vegas. Instead of a couple getting married in front of their friends and family at a place of worship, having a ceremony at a local reception hall, and jetting off to an island for their honeymoon, the ceremony has become an event in and of itself.

Receiving an invitation in the mail inviting guests to attend a ceremony at a beach resort, for example, is more normal than ever because 20% of weddings are held at destinations around the world. The popular bridal website Brides.com even posts destination wedding location ideas, including places such as Tuscany and Maui. An article explaining a Maui wedding suggests where to hold the wedding, as well as the resorts that should be booked to accommodate guests.

Although weddings may have lost some of the innocence that once surrounded them since the release of Chapel of Love, weddings still represent a union of two people. Whether a ceremony is held at a chapel or a place of worship, followed by a reception at a local hall, or if the entire wedding occurs at a beach surrounded by tropical landscapes and a blue ocean, the basis of a wedding should always be love.

“Gee, I really love you, and we’re gonna get married. Goin’ to the chapel of love.”

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