As part of our Wedding Wednesday Series, I wanted to take a moment to congratulate a new friend of mine, Julie Gerdes and her hubby-to-be, Andrew Becnel on their recent engagement. I met Julie a month ago, when she joined the DC Chapter of NEST, a non-profit that is close and dear to my heart. In many regards, Julie is a traditional bride; she's giddy about her special day and spends countless hours poring over the details, wants that magical dress, the favors, the photos, and the lovely venue. But what really impressed me about her was her desire to give back to the community and those less fortunate, all through her wedding.
Working in development for a non-profit, Julie is well aware of the barriers that NGO's go through to raise that last dollar. She has experienced first hand the difficulties of the fundraising process and has vowed to make a difference through 'Wedding Philanthropy', or how to GIVE BACK via your wedding.
Julie's philosophy through the planning process has been simple: you are spending the money anyways for the big day, so why not make vendor selections who take your money and give 100% of it back to charity or find other creative ways to help out the surrounding community with your payment.
Unfortunately, Wedding Philanthropy is not on the forefront of trends, like how to Green Your Wedding, for example. But through her blog, Julie highlights a number of vendors (businesses, non-profits, corporations, and plain ole' good Samaritans) who have found creative ways to 'Engage' in Wedding Philanthropy.
She writes about places like The Bridal Garden, the ONLY non-profit bridal boutique in New York City, where 100% of the profits go to helping fund education programs like the Brooklyn Charter School.
She highlights people like Walter Grio, from Shoot For Change (SFC), based here in DC. Walter does something extraordinary...in his spare time, he shoots events, special occasions, family outings, editorials, yet does not collect a single dime for himself. Instead, he asks that his clients donate 100% of what they would be paying for his services to a selected charity. Last year alone, SFC raised over $19,000!
Here at Green with Envy, we encourage our clients to be both environmentally and ethically responsible when selecting choices for their event (whether it's a wedding, a corporate event, or even a fundraiser). I think we'll be adding third 'enouragement' to our list.
Please check out Julie's Engaged with a Cause Blog to learn more about Wedding Philanthropy and how you can make a difference on your big day.
Happy Reading...xoxo, Laura