Today I’m feeling particularly inspired by the holiday spirit. This season feels like an appropriate time to talk about the aspect of our wedding that focuses on giving back to others, and I don’t just mean our guests.
First, a bit of personal background. I’m an only child, and I’ve been spoiled rotten my entire life. I have enough self-awareness to know that my selfishness is a character flaw I need to work on. But until a couple years ago, I never felt inspired to focus on anything other than my immediate surroundings. As Andrew and I became used to living together and were comfortable developing our own hobbies, he joined car clubs, developed workout groups, and bought a PlayStation 3 with lots of games. He seemed content having these hobbies, and I was kind of lost. My life in college was all about my sorority, and now I was in DC without my college friends. So when I received a flyer for the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation practically begging for folks to help handle animals at adoption events, I figured I’d see if this seemed like a fit.
I found my calling at that first adoption event. Since then, I’ve served as a volunteer coordinator, adoption counselor, and fundraiser, and even assisted the founders with retrieving animals from rural shelters. I finally found something that seemed more important than me, something I could do that actually made a difference to another living being. Needless to say, I’m a hooked.
When Andrew and I got engaged, we agreed that incorporating a charity into our celebration was something that we needed to do. The wedding industry is an expensive one, and I felt guilty spending a significant amount of money on the wedding when it could be going to save and recuperate animals. To ease my guilt (because we all knew I wasn’t giving up the wedding entirely), we found a few elements that we could incorporate into our wedding that would benefit the animals at Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation.
The simplest step was creating our wedding Web site through the I Do Foundation. Our Web site looks similar to the dozens of other free ones out there, but this particular site links couples to a charity. It also gives you the option to link your registry so the charity receives a percentage of sales. And you can set up a charity registry so folks can donate directly to the charity in lieu of buying a gift—a perfect way to let people know that Lost Dog and Cat is an important part of our lives.
I also asked my maid of honor for a charity bridal shower, in which attendees bring supplies needed by my charity instead of gifts for me. Although I rarely turn down gifts, I figure that Andrew and I are going to be overwhelmed with presents at the wedding, so I can afford to dedicate these gifts to a good cause.
The other charitable element will be our guest favors. In my experience, favors don’t make a big impression on the guests. They’re either consumed in 48 hours or they collect dust. My thought is to take the money that would go to those disposable favors and use it as a donation to Lost Dog and Cat. Sure, each favor doesn’t cost very much, but the dollars add up when you have a long guest list.
In the grand scheme of things, I know this isn’t going to make a significant impact. But it feels much better knowing that our wedding will celebrate more than just Andrew and me. Maybe a few dogs and cats will get an extra treat because of us.
Lisa Marie, a local bride-to-be, writes every Friday about planning her wedding, which will be in Washington in July. To follow her adventures from the beginning, click here.
If you like reading about Lisa Marie, make sure to check out our other blogging bride-to-be, Eleni, who writes every Wednesday. Follow her adventures here.
To read the latest Bridal Party blog posts, click here.