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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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

NICOLE + ROSS | Blue Hill Stone Barns | Tarrytown, New York | October 2017

This wedding was a joy to plan. During the planning process, Nicole and her mother had somewhat different tastes in aesthetics. However, it was their combined love for the beautiful venue at Stone Barns coupled with our own ability to be not only diplomatic but also showcase ideas that they would both love which, in the end, set them up for success.

One element of their design that was different than most of our weddings is that they both favored paper that had considerable detail. They both moved forward with intricately designed invitations and save the dates a bit on their own and had good renderings early so the over all design fit into the paper details.

Being cohesive was super important to them both and, in particular, the Mother of the Bride. The family entertains enough at home and had learned from past experience that they love consistency. There are many details you cannot see in their photography. Details such as the ribbon and name tags on the flip flops and blankets. Other details like their specialty coffee and hot cocoa station, their enormous and cool outdoor lounge with plenty of games for those less inclined to dance.

You never know what is going to stick after a wedding. The couple’s adorable and memorable first dance, well rehearsed after months of classes, made the whole room tear up. Then the best man speech had so much love you wanted to hug your neighbor. The surprise, albeit less emotional, was the guest’s love for their linens and napkins. Multiple guests asked the Mother of the Bride where their beautiful La Tavola linens came from and they also asked about the dinner napkins, which also came from La Tavola. In fact, two ladies called us separately asking where to purchase their velvet ecru linen lined napkin!

We anxiously await July of 2019 when we will be back at the one-and-only charming Blue Hill at Stone Barns for another buyout!

Happy venue shopping and congratulations again to Nicole + Ross.

Photography by Craig Warga Weddings

Planning + Design | Ashley Douglass Events

Venue | Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Band | FAZE 4 Orchesteras LTD “Scott Yunney Band”

Photographer | Craig Warga Weddings

Videographer | 15 Minutes of Frame

Florist | Blade NYC

Photobooth | New England Selfie

Lighting | Pegasus Productions

Hair | Indulge Salon

Make Up | Hope Landry

Bridal Attire | A Little Something White

Rental Company | Nuage Designs

Rental Company II | Party Rental LTD

Rental Company III | La Tavola


AILEEN + SHAI | The Liberty Warehouse | Red Hook, Brooklyn | January 2018

Aileen and Shai had a ton going on during the time of their engagement and wedding planning process. For one, they were pregnant! The couple was super happy and over the moon. On top of this, they were already renovating Shai’s loft for Aileen to move in and had to incorporate a new design into the renovation to accommodate their baby. If any of you have renovated any place of your own you know that renovations alone can be like giving birth to a baby with joy and pains along the way. All on top of renovations, preparing for a baby and careers of their own, the couple was still eager to plan a beautiful wedding.

Aileen is very feminine and did not imagine that one day she would get married in a place with any sort of industrial feel. However, in the end the Liberty Warehouse was a perfect fit! The couple did not have a long time to search out a venue so it was a good thing they came to a planning before signing. As their wedding was close to the holidays they were competing very much with holiday parties and events that venues had already booked and were still booking. We started, I think, in early November and this wedding took place in January! Aileen loved how the industrial details in the space were highlighted by the twinkle lights and chandeliers that were provided by Pegasus Lighting.

This wedding is a great example of an end result that is JUST what the clients dreamed of, which always makes our job worthwhile. We have the imagination and experience to put ourselves not just emotionally but visually into the shoes of our clients and we happily do so. Variety is what makes our role more fun! I can appreciate that this wedding was beautiful and we did a good job balancing the different elements that were needed to make Aileen and Shai’s dream come true!

Happy bees they all are now with a beautiful, happy baby boy! Mazel Tov to Aileen and Shai and their new family!

XO

Ashley + Team

Photography by Forged in the North

Planning + Design | Ashley Douglass Events

Florals + Design | Fleurs NYC

Photography | Forged in the North

Venue | Liberty Warehouse

Band | Hank Lane Productions, “ Pete Saunders Band”

Cake | Betty Bakery

Lighting | Pegasus Productions

Hair | Betsy Elisa

Makeup | Every Hue Makeup

Dress | Monique Lhuillier

Stationary | Katie Fischer Design

Rentals | BBJ Rentals

Rentals II | Party Rental LTD

EMILY + CARLOS | Cold Spring Harbor Beach Club | Cold Spring Harbor, New York | September 2017

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This wedding was featured on Carats & Cake in April of 2018.

What to say about this fun loving, super chill, smart, all around wonderful couple and refreshingly simple wedding celebration! Emily and Carlos met at work. More specifically - when Carlos interviewed Emily. Needless to say she was offered the job but don't read into this; she was running circles around Carlos in no time and technically he was not her boss when she came on board to the company. 

Both hail from incredibly fun families that do not take themselves too seriously. Both their sets of parents ripped up the dance floor as you can see in photos. Even grandma busted a move and Carlos's mom got up on stage with the band to dance and she even sang a tune with them as well! Nothing better than a packed danced floor with three generations. 

We have to give a shout out to Mama Mary Alice for being so much fun, gracing us with too many treats and always having the best attitude about planning her daughter's wedding. Seriously, while we were looking out for our clients she was always looking out for us and so appreciative, as was the whole entire clan. And they are a clan of loyal families these two -  their love was busting at the seams on their wedding day. 

Additionally, last year was another season where we found overlapping faces from that season, as well as, seasons past! It is always nice for us to see past clients, couples and wedding guests that we have seen at many previous wedding - it is icing on an already delicious cake. 

Emily and Mary Alice both already knew of the adorable, sweet and kind flower man Andrew Pascoe who has been a respected staple on Long Island for decades. Simple white flowers with grass-green greens - the freshest you can find. That was the note and what he does best. Andrew does procure the freshest flowers from his wholesalers, like they had just been cut down the road and arrived arranged to the tent. Emily, Carlos and Mary Alice (MOB) are not fussy people, so too much going on was not necessary. They didn't need to blow people away with things they have not seen before but wanted to engage them, find personal touches and make sure fun was number one. 

The cocktail hour had a beer tasting bar. Emily and Carlos are beer connoisseurs and went out of their way to procure beer from various places, some on their own and some with the help of the caterers they hired, Sterling Affairs. As an example, Emily and Carlos visited Other Half a few times to get enough of a particular brew that they limit customers to only buying a certain amount each time! This was a station separate from the main bar. We had a large chalk board describing the seven various beers, served as tasting flight or alone. 

Another personal detail were the menus that had a back side with a custom made MadLib. There were four versions - one version for Emily and one for Carlos, then one in Spanish for both. We preset these with tiny golf pencils that had their hashtag printed on them. So freaking cute! These answered MadLibs made for great entertainment the next day at brunch which was held at Emily's charming childhood home, with perfect weather to boot. 

Thank you to CSHBC! You guys were so flexible and willing to come on board our detailed insanity. It is not a club that hosts such weddings yearly - Gary and the team were truly hospitable! Not to mention the water being so damn blue right there! Love to CSH. 

Thank you to Carats & Cake for featuring this wedding. Thank you to the vendors for a job well done. Thank you to Emily, Carlos, Mary Alice, The Boss FOB Michael, Carlos's Mom, Dad, and family for their spirit as well! We cannot wait to see you at more tables at other weddings soon! ;-)

See link to Carats & Cake HERE and more photos below, along with the participating vendors.

Planning + Design | Ashley Douglass Events

Florals + Design | Andrew Pascoe Flowers

Photography | Karen Wise

Venue | Cold Spring Harbor Beach Club

Catering | Sterling Affair

Gown | Harbor Bridal

Band | LUXE from Hank Lane Productions

Hair | I DO! Glam

Make up | RJ West NY

Tent | Sperry Tents Hamptons

Rings | Van Busch

Invitations | Ipanema Press

Day of Stationery | The Printery

Rentals | Party Rental LTD