Breath of Fresh Art Fundraiser

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Weddings aren't all we do around here! I was happy to serve on the planning committee for the Breath of Fresh Art fundraiser last night. The event benefited Wish 2 Breathe, a National Foundation for Transplants' campaign in support of Jacksonville resident Lindsey Miller. The campaign's goal is to help raise money for expenses related to Lindsey's double lung transplant and the lifelong care she will need as a result. The fundraiser was held at one of Jacksonville's newest event venues - The Fountain View Room. Several area restaurants and caterers donated food stations for the event, including Nippers Beach Grille, Davoli's Catering, Renna's Pizza, Red Elephant, Flippin' Good Cookies, and Edgewood Bakery. PRP Wine International also offered wine tastings to the events' guests.

The event also featured a silent auction (with some heated bidding at the end!) as well as an art exhibition by two local artists -  Mobarick Abdullah III and Adam Brett. It was a fun night for a great cause!

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Charitable Donations as Wedding Favors

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tabatha-dustin-favor-card"What do you mean, you aren't having wedding favors?" We hear it a lot, usually from the parents of the bride and groom. The history of the wedding favor isn't really well known, but party favors in general have been around since the 16th century. Think back to your birthday parties as a child - didn't you always give your friends a little sack of goodies to take home?

While there are lots of great wedding favors out there, many couples are choosing instead to donate cash to their favorite charity instead of buying little chocolates or scented candles. There are so many reasons to choose a donation over a physical favor:

  • A specific charity or cause is near and dear to your heart.
  • It's more environmentally friendly.
  • Remember a family member with a memorial donation.
  • It's more personal.

So how do you do it?

First, contact the charity (or charities) you would like to donate to.  Most charities have websites where you can make a donation via credit card, however if it is a local charity you may need to mail a check.

Next, find a way to let your guests know about your donation. You may chose to have a card placed at each place setting describing your charity of choice, or have two or three placed on each table. If your cause is environmental in nature, consider printing your message on plantable paper - seeds are embedded in the paper, and flowers will bloom when your guests take it home and plant it.

As an alternative, you can make a little framed sign and place it somewhere in the cocktail hour space, rather  than having cards on the tables. Most people attending your wedding will know why you chose the charity you did, so long explanations aren't necessary.

Non-Traditional Wedding Registries

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With so many couples living together before the wedding, or merging two households together, the traditional gift registry may not be the most practical for every bride and groom. We've put together a list of some alternative registry options for you to consider.

Honeyfund: Register for travel and activities for your honeymoon! Also, ask your travel agent if they offer a registry program.

Wed&Wish: Register for anything you want, from honeymoon travel to items for your home. All gifts are received in the form of cash, so that you can buy exactly what you want! You could even ask for money towards a down payment on a new home.

I Do Foundation: If you truly don't want any gifts, consider a charity registry. Your guests can donate to a cause close to your hearts, and their gift may even be tax-deductible.

Whether you are registering for traditional gifts or fun adventures, be sure to keep track of the gifts you receive and send thank-you notes promptly! For gifts received before the wedding, you should send a thank-you note within two weeks.

Wish Upon A Wedding Auction

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First Coast Weddings is proud to be part of The Wedding Party's donation to the Wish Upon A Wedding auction!  Wish Upon a Wedding is the world’s first nonprofit wish granting organization providing weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and serious life-altering circumstances regardless of sexual orientation.  Our organization offers couples a chance to enjoy a very special day, without any thoughts of existing health or other serious issues, while surrounded by their closest family and friends.

Our destination wedding package valued at $5,800 is perfect for a weekday wedding with up to 50 guests.  Check out The Wedding Party's blog for complete details, and visit the Wish Upon A Wedding auction site to bid on this and hundreds of other great items starting October 1st.

Brides Against Breast Cancer Gown Sale

The Brides Against Breast Cancer Nationwide Tour of Gowns is coming to Jacksonville! This unique opportunity allows brides-to-be a chance to find the gown of their dreams at a remarkable price, while helping to make wishes and memory-making events come true. Most gown prices range from $99 to $799, including hundreds of beautiful new name brand and designer gowns valued up to $8,000.  More than half the gowns presented during each event are NEW designer gowns that arrived directly from designers, manufacturers and bridal retailers.

You won't want to miss it!

Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront 225 E Coastline Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32202

VIP NIGHT Friday, July 23: 6 PM – 9 PM $45 per Bride and guest, $20 each additional guest In addition to getting first pick of the gowns, enjoy hors d'oeuvres, a mini-bridal show, and a wedding expert panel discussion Buy tickets in advance

GENERAL SALE Saturday, July 24: 10 AM – 8 PM Sunday, July 25: 10 AM – 6 PM Free Admission

(this is me, volunteering at the Brides Against Breast Cancer gown sale in Orlando in 2009!)

Free Photos for a Good Cause

Photographer Ezra Ayala (http://www.ezramarcos.com) is doing something wonderful on Sunday!  He's offering free 15 minute photo shoots in exchange for a donation to help the people of Haiti. Here are the details from his blog:
So this is the deal. From 10am until it gets too dark, on Sunday, January the 24th, I'm booking 15 minute photo sessions in front of Anomaly (1021 Park Street - 5 Points). No appointment needed...I'm taking walk-ins! All you have to do is write a check to the Yele Foundation or UNICEF (any amount...just give!)...I'll have stamped envelopes already addressed to Yele or UNICEF...we'll put the check in the envelopes...and then give you the envelope...yes, we're using the honor system...you'll be responsible for mailing the check! During that process, we'll get your contact info so that we can deliver your images! Pets are welcomed!

Brides Against Breast Cancer VIP Party

Last week I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Brides Against Breast Cancer gown sale in Orlando.  It was two days of hard work but also incredibly rewarding.  Here are two shots of me at the VIP event on Thursday, March 12th at the Fairwinds Alumni Center at UCF:

Thanks to Allan Saltman of Allan Jay Images for capturing these memories!  Check out his blog post about the event: http://allansangle.wordpress.com/2009/03/15/brides-against-breast-cancer-vip-party/

Free Military Weddings

An organization on Florida's First Coast is giving weddings to our most deserving citizens - our Armed Forces, police officers and firefighters. Thank You Weddings was created by David Hanscom of Y? Entertainment, and will be giving away four weddings during 2009.  Applications are being accepted through December 31st for spring weddings.

The current Thank You Weddings package includes Wedding Coordination, Photography, Videography, Entertainment, Rentals, Linens and Decor valued at $12,000.

Check out this recent interview from First Coast News about Thank You Weddings!

Wedding Gowns $99 to $799!

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Browse through more than 1,000 name brand and designer wedding gowns while helping men and women who are fighting breast cancer!  The Brides Against Breast Cancer Nationwide Tour of Gowns in coming to Florida in March, and you won't want to miss this opportunity if you have not already purchased your wedding dress!

Gown sales will be held in Orlando March 14 & 15, and in Tampa March 21 & 22.  More than half of the dresses are brand new, arriving directly from bridal shops, trunk shows and the manufacturers.

Have you already purchased your dream dress?  There are other ways you can get involved:

To find out more, visit the Making Memories website at http://www.makingmemories.org.

What Do You Do With Your Wedding Dress After The Wedding?

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You spent months searching for the perfect wedding dress, and also quite a bit of money! The wedding day has come and gone, and you looked absolutely perfect in your dress, and now it is a little bit dirty, hanging in your closet, holding lots of wonderful memories. What are you going to do with that fabulous wedding dress? The first thing to do would be to get the wedding dress dry cleaned. Many bridal shops provide a free dry cleaning gift certificate with the purchase of a wedding dress. Also some bridal shops offer a wedding gown preservation process. This process enables a bride to preserve the beauty of her wedding dress for years and years. Brides Against Breast Cancer LogoAnother great idea for your used wedding dress would be to donate the dress to a charity of your choice. One example is the Making Memories Foundation's Brides Against Breast Cancer. By searching online or maybe even speaking with the bridal shop where you purchased your dress, you will be able to find out lots of information on what to do with your wedding dress after the big day.

If you or someone you know is interesed in donating a wedding gown to Brides Against Breast Cancer, contact heather@firstcoastweddings.com.

Brides Against Breast Cancer Nationwide Tour of Gowns

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"Brides Against Breast Cancer" is the Making Memories Foundation's top fundraising event across the nation, and the tour will soon be in Florida.

Events will be held in March in Orlando and April in Tampa. Thousands of gowns are available for purchase, and the money raised is used to grant wishes to terminal breast cancer patients. Gown prices range from $89 to $799 and are available in sizes 4 to 24.

While some gowns are donated by brides, over half of the gowns are new and come from manufacturers and bridal shops. Find out more by visiting the Making Memories Foundation website.

If you or someone you know in the Jacksonville area would like to donate your wedding gown for an upcoming sale, please contact Heather Trimboli at heather@firstcoastweddings.com.