Charitable giving through your Wedding | an overview of some charities

Special Gift, Special Day

It’s 2019 and culture is changing. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and instead apply this idea solely to the context of wedding registries. 

Many couples are making charitable giving a part of their wedding plans. This may mean the couple donates funds to an organization in lieu of wedding favors, food at their after party, upgraded napkins, or any other detail they feel they would have otherwise included if they did not consider the charitable gift more worthwhile. 

Commonly, and most meaningfully, these donations might be made in honor of a loved one who has passed, or a family member or friend who has faced a significant challenge. 

Additionally, the average age of couples getting married has risen and has always been higher in the New York area, where the greater majority of our clients reside. Couples have already made a life for themselves that obviously includes flatware and bedding, so they are forgoing signing up for wedding registries, instead suggesting places where guests can make donations in the couple’s name, or in their own. Furthermore, it is uncomfortable asking people to purchase things for you at the quality you would perhaps purchase for yourselves. You also do not want to accumulate more stuff just to accumulate more stuff, that does not feel good, especially if you live in a NYC apartment. 

We know there are many nonprofits and charitable platforms out there, so ADE is here to help you get a head start on choosing one! JustGiving.org, crowdrise.com and CharityNavigator.org are all search engines to use to start your search if you are in love with the idea of setting up a charitable registry but still need to find an organization. You can give back, or encourage your guests to give, to any charitable organization you love, such as Charity: Water, OceanX, FeedingAmerica, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and American Cancer Society just to name a few we love. You can do this quite simply by making a mention of this donation on the bottom of your menus, on the back page of your ceremony program, on your website, on the details card within your invitation suite, or by making an awareness table that shares literature about this organization. An awareness table can be placed near the entrance and exit of your venue. We have seen couples forgo the awareness table and instead include the literature for the organization in their hotel welcome bags. You may also opt, instead, to put literature about this organization out at brunch the day after your wedding. 

Below are just a few organizations, or companies, that sell products that give back. These items can be given as favors as well.  We write “organizations” because nowadays not all companies that give back are necessarily non-for-profit. Some are for profit, so that they can sustain themselves better while giving back. They can hire more capable talent for their teams, and those teammates can be grateful for being paid what they deserve, while also having work that is real. They can hire employees who need salaries themselves to get back up off their feet and enter the workforce again. The Giving Keys is an organization that does just that. Ashley herself has a few of the long necklaces from The Giving Keys and gave them as holiday gifts to vendors in 2018. The terrain of ‘give back’ companies is changing and, with for-profit companies sprouting up, perhaps giving back will become part of the norm and soon we can all do our part to contribute to closing the opportunity gap in this country and beyond. 

4Ocean: This organization was created by two surfing friends, Alex and Andrew, while away on vacation in Bali, a small fishing village in Indonesia. Simply constructed, fisherman remove plastic out of the ocean with their nets, so that they can save their livelihood, the fish.  The cost of each bracelet, made from recycled materials, helps to clean up 1 lb of plastic from the ocean. 

The Giving Keys: This company was created on a social impact employment model. Instead of raising funds through the products they sell they sell products that provide jobs to those transitioning out of homelessness - hence giving keys; keys to someone’s future. 

Truffles for a Cause can help you create the perfect wedding favors that will give back to a charity of your choosing! Within their box of chocolates is a charity card which provides details of a charity.  This can be a small but rewarding detail to add to your special day.

One Hope Wine was created over the love of wine but also to bring communities all over the world together. “To date we have made more than $3 million in donations, provided 46,000 people with global health care, 49,000 forever homes for shelter animals, 1.8 million meals for children, 163,000 life-saving vaccines and much more.”

Repeat Roses is a wonderful for-profit organization that we have worked with many times since its inception in 2014. It is a no brainer - you pay a fee for their staff to pick up, rearrange and deliver your flowers to a nearby organization of your choice. With this service you have the opportunity to claim a good portion of your flower bill as a charitable donation. If your flower bill is high enough, it is a win-win. You are even sent pictures of your flowers the next day, in their new location, making someone else’s day a bit brighter and albeit fragrant. 

Some more non-for-profits we love and want to shed some light on are as follows….

Wish Upon A Wedding “has helped over 125 couples say ‘I Do’  since its launch in January 2010.” This particular non-profit provides couples who are struggling with serious illnesses with grants for weddings and vow renewals. 

Changing the Present is a company that helps to channel funds to nonprofits through a donation given in a friend’s name. Instead of purchasing a birthday gift or a wedding gift, this company seeks to make the experience of donation feel like a rewarding gift. 

Vow to End Child Marriage is an organization started with the assistance of Girls Not Brides, The Ford Foundation and Hive. The mission of this organization is to end child marriage by raising funds that support local organizations across Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Both Vow and Girls Not Brides are active in working to end child marriage across the world.  

The charities listed above are only a few of the many remarkable organizations you can choose from. We applaud your choice to add charitable giving to your special day and hope we can help you find an organization that best fits your vision. 

Happy Planning!

Ashley Douglass Events Team! 

Written by Christina Madden, Spring 2019 Intern and Ashley Douglass

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Amanda + Nick | Private Residence | East Hampton, NY

Amanda and Nick Cvetic planned their wedding on the extreme go, while working between Atlanta, New York City, and at some points Dallas, Austin and London, and maybe a few other cities I am forgetting. Amanda, a career woman herself, works for the impeccable, lovely and loyal Nina LeSavoy, owner of Avec Capital. Nina generously loaned her historic and noteworthy home in East Hampton to her long time loved employee and right hand lady Amanda. The home made for a weekend wedding location, one where the couple took over the place just like you would your own vacation home. Generous is an understatement.

Nina’s notable home’s most interesting detail was the silo at the front door, a perfect location for the couple’s first look and also where Amanda walked from with her father for the ceremony.

Amanda is originally from Atlanta, which is where the greater majority of the couple’s guests flew in from. Smaller than the big weddings Amanda and her friends often attend down South, the couple kept their wedding intimate, just hitting above 100 guests. However, Amanda is a southern girl at heart, so the smaller feminine touches such as the lace edged napkins and rose gold flatware satisfied any southern wedding regrets.

Ironically, Amanda had worked for Jenny Yoo years prior and also was an intern for a Wedding Planner in Atlanta. That being said, Amanda was great to work with because she immediately saw how one detail on a screen would play out in real time, she herself not being able to attend too many in person meetings.

We also became very lucky regarding photography. Amanda and Nick’s original choice of photographers became pregnant during the year leading up to their wedding. Unfortunately, she was put on bed rest in the weeks before the wedding, so they needed a replacement photographer. I suggested a few that I knew they would love and Eric Kelley stood out on my short list. Gosh, we were so lucky that he was still available and willing to head out to the Hamptons from Virginia given his packed fall season. Could not thank him enough! What a talented photographer and lovely person to work with!

Thank you to Hamptons Aristocrat for doing a fabulous job on BOTH the rehearsal dinner at Salt Drift Farm and the wedding day!

… and last but not least, thank you to Sunny Limos who navigated well over 30 pickups and drop-offs throughout every town and village in the Hamptons with Saturday traffic! We cannot thank them enough for their attention to detail prior to the wedding as well as the weekend of the wedding.

Amanda and Nick’s wedding was a special and beautiful one that rounded out or 2018 season. We wish them the best of luck with their journey together and thank them for being a great couple to work with.

Cannot wait for our 2019 and 2020 weddings that are all in development!

ADE Team!

Photography by Eric Kelley

Planning + Design | Ashley Douglass Events

Venue | Private Home

Tenting | Sperry Tents Hamptons

Band | Laurel Music & Events LLC

Photographer | Eric Kelley Photography

Videographer | AJ Ingoglia Films

Florist | Sag Harbor Florist

Lighting | Ambiant Lighting

Hair | I Do Glam

Make Up | Jackie Schneider

Caterer | Hamptons Aristocrat

Invites | Paper Daisies Atlanta

Cake | Blue Duck Bakery

Rental Company | Party Rental LTD

Rental Company II | Smith Party Rental



Divide + Conquer

Divide and conquer: your task list. The to-do list for planning a wedding is way longer than some anticipate at first, and will seem to only get longer as planning progresses. Too many cooks in the kitchen is usually a recipe for endless stress.  You are more likely to cave to someone else's opinion because you just want the conflict to be over with, which is different then consciously and happily choosing for one person to have what they want to make them happy. You may even begin to agree with a cook you have a conflict with and then walk away and wonder when the heck just happened, no! 

Divide up all your tasks and then let the cooks in the kitchen know which course they are being assigned to. Who is most passionate about what? Who has a better eye or mind for one task versus another? Where will they feel and be of most value? You can always give them a few choices, that you have chosen, so it feels like they are making a choice too, and they are! Having a few ideas to choose from is always better than just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.

Think of the larger areas of action like hotels, catering, decor and music as subheadings for planning. Then collaboratively conquer each to-do with the one or two people assigned to that area. You can do this with or without a planner involved. A great wedding planner is able to navigate multiple relationships with you that may all funnel into the planning of one wedding, to help you stay sane, organized and cohesive. 

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Only real friends should be your wedding guests

Couples who have been married only a few years often remark how there were so many people at their wedding, or even bridal party, who they no longer speak to. They have fallen off the face of the Earth since the wedding. Maybe life shifts, attentions divert, people move away. For the most part, included in this group are people with which your bonds may have been superficial. 

Do not invite certain people to look good. Do not fear you will look less than if this or that person does not attend your wedding too. So what if they were in your fraternity - be the cool discerning outlier and do not invite everyone. There are other innovative people in your alumni association that will accomplish more and be a better contact for life, and they do not care about being invited to your wedding. Similarly, do not invite people that will attend your wedding just because they too have FOMO. Your wedding day is too meaningful for that. 

Do not invite work friends that are not going to be friends after you change your job. Invite no one for work. If anyone asks say it was your in-laws rule. Just think how much less annoying it will be if you plan on keeping your job. No endless stories for years to come about your gross cake (joking) or the time Timmy decided to use the bushes to relieve himself and your grandma saw. Joking again or maybe not. Additionally, your parents should not be allowed to invite their work friends either, and that goes for both sets of parents.

Lastly, in the New York City and surrounding suburban areas it is really hard to find many attractive venues that have a guest count at or exceeding 250 people. There are enough venues that push their max capacity to be more attractive to more couples. If you doubt how comfortable their max capacity would be for you and your guests, then you may want to ask your coordinator to tell it like it is - is your guest count pushing it? Maybe ask for some photos of past weddings with a higher guest count or stalk instagram.

Having problems with your guest count? Ask yourselves who really will be there for you in five years. Those who are there for you for the long run do not need an event or milestone to take place in order to stay in touch and vice versa on your end as well. Plus, a smaller wedding makes for a more intimate wedding, which often times equates to a more relaxed atmosphere.

True friends = wedding guests

New Year’s State of Mind 2018

Every year I give books as gifts and below are this year’s picks. 

Waking Up by Sam Harris

Oh and download the app too. Harris’ book is an exploration of spirituality for those of you that are as interested as I am in the nature of reality.  Both knowledge of and the experience of reality come about by way of our minds. I’ll leave it at that. Headspace is also a great app too and I have heard of some other great meditation apps. Try them all!

Thirst by Scott Harrison 

The biography of charity: Water’s founder Scott Harrison. I adore this organization as many of you do I am sure. Not just because of its mission but because of its transparency. Harris is someone who has truly thought outside the box and gone far. He is truly an inspiration. 

Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris

I am a Tim Ferris fan. Pick up Four Hour Work Week too if you have not already and do not poo poo it because of its catchy title. In Tribe of Mentors, Ferris asks a bunch of successful people questions such as; ‘what is the book, or books, you’ve given most as a gift and why?’ Or ‘what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?’ ‘What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months, or recent memory?’ For me, that would be the app Waking Up. Headspace is both a great read and purchase because you can read one of these entries before bed say without needing the added concentration a novel calls for. 

Happy Reading! 

Enough of that….

Each year I do this New Years end blog. Unbeknownst to me, my year-end blog post has really resonated with those who read it. A few vendors and friends have asked about this years post. A few of you also know that this past year has personally been a noteworthy one, which for us all here is the same thing as a professionally noteworthy year. I am sure many of you are probably thinking ‘something went horribly wrong; or ‘something really good happened.’ Well, both inclinations are entirely wrong. It is this year that I have grown the most and subsequently ADE has grown the most.

I did have a health scare earlier this year, but this noteworthy of a year began well before that.

Each year I ask myself where I want to go and how I’m going to start down this renewed path. This is why I love the New Year - Planning! To drive this idea home, more often than not I will only have one glass of champagne on New Year’s Eve! New Years is the most religious of holidays for me.

About a year ago, I began to take a good inventory of my life. I literally wrote a mini pamphlet for myself on living my own life. No, you will never see this. It went through revisions, discoveries and more revisions. I can narrow it down to this………

I have three words: Simplicity, Intimacy and Wealth. If you fancy the word abundance more you can replace it with that.

I greatly value Time. Our mind is the primarily tool for making use of that time. Time looses its value if our mind cannot show up to meet it. Time is all we have.

Do not look at your emails on your phone and perhaps include in this list your texts as well, until after you are ready to show up for the day. For me it is after having had my morning coffee, some water and meditation.

What is most important to us here on a day-by-day basis is productivity. I am a recovering perfectionist that has resolved herself to excellence instead. As technology is designed to distract us, I do not let technology take control of my time or productivity.  If we allow each bell, whistle, prompt, text and alarm to take our attention there will be nothing left of us. We will loose ourselves and our ability to create whatever we have to offer. 

I have been meditating for well over a year now, every single day, sometimes twice a day. Just try meditation. I promise you, after some time, you will “get it” and not know how you ever went without it! Maybe I will write another blog post on this soon.

I also write in a journal every day and have been writing pretty much my whole life. I think you should too.

I work out at least five days a week. I always have and if I do not, I am not ‘normal Ashley.’ 

I read every day. I think you should too, and social media does not count. 

Nothing is ever about you. I repeat, nothing is ever about you.

Show up more and do less.

You really do feel, look and think better if you predominantly eat veggies. And living longer is worth it. 

We crave authenticity and we hope you do too.

Struggling is a habit. You can stop struggling and still accomplish as much, maybe even more!

Most days I commit to tackling the hardest thing first and move on from there.

We schedule time in the office because the more time we spend outside of the office; the less work we get done.

Everything that happens to you, happens for you. This is my life motto. 

You really have to take care of you first to take care of others. Doing otherwise is not a badge of honor but a selfish cry for attention, its you making it about you. 

That is all folks! Until next year! xo