Monday, June 29, 2015 at 12:52AM
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It’s natural to think about how others will express their happiness when you get married. After all, bridal showers and gift registries are a custom of the occasion. But what about giving, rather than getting?

For Calgary residents Jamie Solland-Khory and Jamshed Khory, giving was a natural and easy decision to make. “We are passionate about giving,” she says of their donations to a couple of favourite charities in lieu of take-home gifts for guests at their wedding last summer.

“Giving back is part of both of our upbringings. Rather than spending the money on party favours, we wanted to do something that was meaningful to us. We each chose one charity that felt close to our hearts.”

Solland-Khory made a cash donation to the long term care unit at Olds Health Care Centre. Her grandfather had been a patient in the unit, unfortunately passing away shortly before the wedding. Her husband donated to a drop-in centre in Calgary where his father was a volunteer.

 “Donations to any area of health care go a long way in complementing services at local hospitals and enhancing the patient care experience. Without these donations so many comforts and services just would not exist,” says Wayne Krejci, Site Manager at Olds Hospital and Care Centre.

Ashlee Hamblin, a Development Officer at the David Thompson Health Trust in Central Alberta agrees. “Rather than paying a couple of dollars per person for favours just for the sake of giving guests something from the wedding, you can donate that money and make a big impact on the lives of others.”

“Many couples already have plenty of stuff for their home so they request donations for charitable causes instead,” she adds. “Or they donate food hampers to the local food bank in lieu of putting centerpieces on each table at the reception.”

Hamblin says fundraising activities at the wedding can be part of the fun, too. Take the traditional clinking of glasses to get the couple to kiss: instead, guests are encouraged to put money in a donation jar for each kiss. A special ‘toonie bar’ can be set up designating proceeds from the alcohol sales to the charity of choice.

Solland-Khory placed cards on the reception tables letting guests know about their charitable giving, but the intention can be provided on the wedding invitations, as well. A description of the charity will give guests some background, for instance why the charity is close to the hearts of the couple.

Solland-Khory suggests asking your employer about a corporate policy to match charitable donations. In their case, both employers have philanthropic programs in place. Some companies may have a Community Investment Advisor on staff that researches and recommends charitable foundations and causes on behalf of the corporation.

“It’s worth looking into because it increases the overall donation,” Solland-Khory says.“It’s a win-win situation.”

“We have only had positive feedback about this idea: nobody ever complained that they didn’t get some mints to take home!”

Published in Red Deer Advocate Special Sections Wedding Guide February 2015. May not be reprinted without author's permission.


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