By: Trish Adkins
When Jackie was planning her wedding to Bobby, the couple decided that their celebration would be about much more than the white dress and big cake. They wanted to share their love with their guests and the world. That’s why they decided to make charity an important part of their celebration.
The couple chose Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) as their charity of choice at their bridal shower.
“We came together for love in more ways than one that day,” said Jackie, of her wedding shower.
Couples all over are choosing to incorporate charity — specifically ALSF — into their wedding celebrations.
“Your wedding can mean something to someone else,” said Chris Katt, Community Engagement Coordinator at ALSF. “No matter how big or small your donation, brides and grooms have a unique opportunity to make a huge impact by raising awareness among their loved ones.”
From your engagement party to your destination wedding, there are endless ways you can give back while celebrating your marriage. Here are five ideas that we know you’ll love:
1. Engage your Loved Ones with your Favorite Cause
Childhood cancer was not unfamiliar to Molly and Garrett. Both had been touched by the stories of Liam Kane and Molly Cavera, two family friends who had died of neuroblastoma. The couple also lost friend Austin Cohen to osteosarcoma.
After their engagement, the couple agreed that they did not like to make people feel obliged to shower them with gifts at every wedding-related event. So, since their engagement party was in June — which also happens to be the same time Lemonade Days is celebrated by ALSF — the couple decided to turn their engagement party into a lemonade stand-themed party!
Molly and Garrett asked their guests to wear something yellow and come prepared to make a donation. They honored heroes Liam, Molly and Austin at the event. Guests loved the positive feeling of the party and helped raise over $5,000 in just one afternoon.
“Unfortunately it seems that almost every person’s life has been touched by cancer in some way. Because of that, everyone could appreciate and support the cause. They were all more than happy to donate rather than buy us gifts,” said Molly.
2. Shower your Guests with Inspiration
Jackie became aware of ALSF when she was playing lacrosse as a student at Temple University. Her team adopted a young teammate, a then 3-year-old little girl named Lily, who had battled a brain tumor. Lily quickly became like Jackie’s little sister and when Jackie planned her wedding to her husband Bobby, Lily was her flower girl.
To honor her little sister, Jackie incorporated ALSF into her Breakfast at Tiffany’s themed bridal shower.
She donated in honor of her guests and then treated everyone to some ALSF swag.
“There were close to 100 people at my shower and that is now 100 more people that can try to make a difference,” said Jackie.
3. Show your Support with a Signature Cocktail
As engaged couple Jillian and Chris planned their August 1, 2020 wedding, they knew two things: It would be a hot summer and they wanted to support a local charity at their wedding.
ALSF immediately came to mind. When Jillian was a young girl, she volunteered with her family at a friend’s lemonade stand to benefit ALSF. Jillian remembered giving out lemonade on a hot day and collecting donations.
“Being so young, I may have not fully understood the seriousness of a fundraiser like this, but knew I was doing such a special thing and helping out to make a difference,” said Jillian.
Now, grown-up Jillian is continuing to be part of something special. The couple will honor ALSF at their reception by serving a Limoncello Margarita, an icy-cold lemonade-inspired cocktail. They will also make a donation to the foundation in honor of their guests.
4. Invite your Guests to Donate
Twenty-one percent of all weddings in 2019 were destination weddings. When Ira and Andrea began to plan their destination wedding, they knew they wanted to make sure that their guests could travel light! The couple decided to request donations to ALSF in lieu of gifts.
Ira, who is the President of Triose, a healthcare solutions company that is also a corporate partner of ALSF, believes that you get what you give — so trading wedding gifts for donations would give the couple a sense they were helping their favorite charity.
The couple set up a fundraising page on the ALSF website, shared it with their wedding guests and raised close to $1,500.
“Childhood cancer research is such an important cause because we believe no child should suffer or be afflicted with this terrible illness. If we find a cure for this, it will benefit generations to come who will then make a difference in the lives of others,” said Ira.
5. Stand Up for Love
Danielle and Michael Harrison are no strangers to ALSF. For the past several years, Danielle worked with her preschool students to host school lemonade stands to benefit ALSF. When it came time to discuss a party favor for guests at their wedding, Danielle and Michael both instantly knew that they would make a donation to the Foundation on behalf of their guests.
To make the donation an obvious part of their reception, they set up a lemonade stand for guests to grab a cup of lemonade as they left the reception. Guests enjoyed the lemonade and were so moved that several began making donations of their own, adding to what the Harrisons already donated.
Ready to take the plunge? ALSF has several great resources for couples planning their wedding, including donation acknowledgement cards, fundraising pages and support from a fundraising coach. Head over to the ALSF weddings page to learn more.