Chances are, you’ve attended at least one wedding this summer. You’ve contemplated over the perfect outfit, decided between steak or salmon, and picked out a gift for the couple as they begin their new life together. Or maybe not. Instead of a gift, maybe you made a donation to the couple’s favourite charity.
It’s becoming increasingly popular for couples to find creative ways to incorporate their philanthropic values into their wedding day – from asking for charitable donations in lieu of wedding gifts to donating their flowers and other décor used in the ceremony.
Take Amanda Gazdewich and her fiancé, Aaron, for example, who recently decided to include Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta in their special day.
“I guess you could call it a summer fling,” Amanda says, recalling the summer she and her soon-to-be-husband, Aaron, met nearly 20 years ago while working at the same children’s camp. They hit it off right away but without social media, the two lost touch once summer ended. As fate would have it, their paths crossed again ten years later and the two have been together ever since.
Amanda and Aaron have now built a life together that includes two beautiful children and a home in Innisfail, Alberta. Their love story culminated last December when Aaron proposed on Christmas morning.
Once wedding planning began, the couple agreed they wanted a part of their wedding day to focus on helping others. In lieu of clinking glasses, they will ask their guests to make a donation to Ronald McDonald House – an organization dear to their hearts.
“I was born with a cleft pallet and had many surgeries as a child,” says Amanda. “We lived three hours away and staying in a hotel would have been a huge expense for my parents. Luckily, we were able to stay at RMH.”
While Amanda was young and doesn’t remember much of this time, she will never forget her second experience with Ronald McDonald House, when she and Aaron welcomed their first child, Daxton, in 2014.
“It was January. The weather was horrible and so were the roads,” recalls Amanda. “On the second night of being induced, they didn’t want me to leave the city and offered the option to stay at Ronald McDonald House.”
Amanda and Aaron spent the next four days in and out of the hospital before Daxton was delivered by C-section. During this stressful time, Ronald McDonald House provided them with a home away from home.
“I was amazed by the generosity of everyone there. Upon leaving they gave us a baby welcome package with amazing things inside including a crocheted blue blanket that Daxton still uses.”
Having the opportunity to give back by including the House in their wedding festivities means a lot to the couple.
“I just hope this will help other families during their time of need.”