Wedding Wishes: Organization Makes Dreams Come True
It’s only been in operation since January, 2010, but already Wish Upon a Wedding has made dreams come true for more than 20 couples in the United States. With the launch of a new Minnesota chapter this month, this charitable organization now has active chapters in 22 locations.
According to Liz Guthrie, founder and executive director, Wish Upon a Wedding provides wedding and vow renewals to couples facing terminal illness or serious life-changing situations. Local chapters recruit a variety of vendors such as DJs, venues, caterers and florists to provide their services for free. And of course, a wedding planner is part of the package.
Couples apply for a wedding wish online at www.wishuponawedding.org, and agree to have the wedding any day of the week so vendors’ normal business is less likely to be impacted. The guest list is limited to 50, to keep costs under control. A national board oversees and provides resources to the chapters.
“The national board provides a lot of help,” says Julie Lyford, who is president of the newest chapter. “Not only have they developed standard operating procedures, they do a great job of providing excellent communication among the chapters.”
Lyford, a wedding planner, was inspired to form the chapter as a way to give back to the industry. “I like the fact that this group has credibility, they’re legitimate and have accountability. For me, it’s a family thing—a way for two people in love to have a special day to share with family and friends, and not go broke when they’re coping with overwhelming medical bills and limited resources.”
Lyford’s first step was to form a local board of directors, which the national board requires before a chapter is started. Each board member has a specific assignment, from managing vendors to marketing to fundraising. The new Minnesota chapter already has more than 200 vendor wish granters in its data base, and because their region includes a 250-mile radius of the Twin Cities, they are including vendors and venues in Wisconsin and Iowa as well.
The Minnesota chapter officially launched at an evening reception in early August, and they are already planning an annual gala fundraiser as well as several smaller events. They even have their first wedding in the works, which will take place this Fall.
If you’re a wedding planner or vendor and want to get involved by either forming your own chapter or participating in an established group, you’ll find a plethora of resources at www.wishuponawedding.org.