Kiss For A Cause

I was browsing Instagram last week and came across a bride who turned part of her wedding into an amazing cause. And I became a little obsessed with this bride. I immediately commented asking her to email me so I could say hi, how proud I was of her (even though I don't know her), and I just wanted to tell her what a great thing she had done in my eyes. While it didn't seem like much of anything at the time, for some reason I felt compelled to talk to her.

A couple minutes later, I was ecstatic when I received an email from that very bride. I am sure she was a little confused why she was emailing me, but for some reason she did. And it made my day! I told her how amazing I thought she was, she thanked me, and told me her story. And once I heard her story, we were immediately connected.

My mom passed away in 2008 after a seven year battle with cancer. I couldn't call her to tell her that he had put a ring on it. I couldn't go dress shopping with her. I couldn't plan all of the fun details with her. And I couldn't take all of the adorable mother-daughter photos with her on my wedding day. It was hard, but I got through it. And this very bride I met on Instagram had gone through the same thing as I did, except she took it a very special step further and that is why I am here sharing her story.

I am sharing this story for three reasons:
   1. First and foremost, to share a beautiful story of a bride with an amazing heart
   2. To show any of you out there that are going through a similar circumstance that you can get through it
   3. To show you an amazing idea that many of you may want to use for your own wedding day!

So here it goes!

The Story of Tyson & Dwan

Tyson and I have always known of each other. Being four years older than him, when I was in grade 12 we went to the same high school - he was just in grade 9. He didn’t catch my eye until we were both set up on a blind date with some mutual friends in Lethbridge, Alberta. I didn’t think I would have ever ended up with a hometown boy on a blind date, never mind getting engaged after 7 months.

Read more about the amazing proposal here!

Our wedding was held in Sparwood, BC Canada at St. Michaels Catholic Church. Reception was held in Fernie, BC Canada which is 20 minutes away from Sparwood. Sparwood just didn’t have the building size we needed to hold all of our guests. We both have large families and a big group of friends. So we decided to have our reception in Fernie. Also having a New Years eve wedding, I wanted to have lots of snow. Fernie is known for its amazing ski hill so I knew we would have the snow I wanted for pictures.

What did you do that was so meaningful?

At my wedding instead of clinking glasses or ringing a bell for us to kiss, I choose a charity! If guests wanted us to kiss they had to bring money up to the MC who would announce how much and who it was from and we would kiss. The bigger the donation, the bigger the kiss. As the evening progressed, tables started to pool their money together and the donation amount brought up to the MC started to get very large. So our kisses needed to become even “bigger” and more creative. It was really fun seeing the tables try to one up each other.  When the money was brought up the to the MC,  everyone just waited and watched for what creative way Tyson and I would engage in a kiss. We pecked, he dipped me, we stood on the chairs, we Eskimo kissed,  he “threw” me down on the floor and leaped into the air and down on to me. My personal favorite was when a table brought up a large sum donation and said this money was donated to have the groom and best man kiss. And it was just hilarious!! Tyson grabbed his best man, dipped him (away from the crowd) and kissed him. They both say they didn’t actually kiss, but it sure looked believable. The whole hall was filled with laughter.

How did you think of that?

I researched and researched new cute ideas for clinking glasses because I wanted to change the way our guests got us to kiss. I went to a wedding earlier that year that did a donation for the Canadian Diabetes Association. I thought this was a cool idea, and I had never seen that before!  I’ve seen couples getting their guests to donate for them to kiss for a honeymoon fund, but that’s just not me. I don’t like to ask for more money when guests have already traveled, paid for accommodations and have already given a gift.

Where did you donate the money?

It wasn’t until my mom passed away very suddenly with cancer a few months before my wedding, that I really struggled with how to incorporate her memory into the wedding day. I had a beautiful slide show with our pictures but I felt like that wasn’t enough.  My mom had the biggest heart out of anyone I have ever known. She literately gave the shirt off her back to help others in need even when all she had was that one shirt she was wearing. She once took in a homeless man off the streets of Vancouver. His name was Boggie, and he was my biggest fan during my singing performance during street festivals we had once a year; front row and centre.  My mom gave him a place to live, clothed and fed him until she was able to get him into a home where he died peacefully, with food in his belly and clothing on his back. I knew I had to have more than just pictures of my mom, I had to do something…something she would have done, something she would be proud of me for. So that’s when I remembered the donation idea. I was going to donate all the money the Canadian Cancer Society!!! Every penny of it!! That night every time the MC announced there was another donation, I knew my mom was up there cheering away and laughing at the events below.

Drum roll please...

Donations stopped coming in after dinner, which usually is the case with the clinking of the glasses. By the end of the night the money was tallied up and we raised $1388.95 to be exact. Every penny went to the Canadian Cancer Society and when I called to ask how they wanted me to send them the money, they were thrilled to hear about this idea for weddings and how much was raised during that short time.

Any advice for other brides who may want to do this?

First the pros: It raises money for nonprofit charities and all of the money got donated in our names so it became a tax write off for us.  It was fun and who doesn’t like to help others in need?

The Cons: I guess if you feel like your guests would be offended in having to donate, then that may be a con.  To me it wasn’t about raising thousands and thousands of dollars. My guest knew my story of why this charity was so close to my heart and why I was asking for the donations. I think if you gave a reason as to why you were asking for a donation and where it was going, then those who could would not hesitate to donate. I had some guests who couldn’t attend our wedding and when they heard what we did, sent money in on their own to the Canadian Cancer Society on behalf of Tyson and myself.  When your friends and family know why you are asking, they are there to support you. 

And how amazing is this?!! I stole this one off of her Instagram. Someone secretly nominated her and she won! I know you have a very proud mommy looking down on you :)

This story is one that touches my heart so I am truly thankful for Dwan and Tyson allowing me to share it with you all!