As wedding season approaches it can sometimes be difficult to remember what’s important. Seating plans and colour schemes can all too easily take over, leaving DIY wedding planners baffled by a to-do list full of things they never knew they would care about so much. I know because I’m planning a wedding myself, and have just emerged from the depths of centrepiece research (conclusion: it doesn’t matter). Amidst all the decisions - real or silk flowers? whether to brave the first dance? - we shouldn't forget what weddings are really about. Find out how brides and grooms can choose to send a message of love, and change lives for good, on their wedding day.
What are weddings about?
I received some wise words of advice from a friend this week: “Your wedding is about celebrating love. The love you have for each other and your friends and family. Let that shine through, and everything else will fall into place.”
Your wedding is about celebrating love. The love you have for each other and your friends and family. Let that shine through
She is exactly right. And with that sentiment in mind, I am thrilled to introduce a new ActionAid gift registry for down to earth brides and grooms who want to share their love with the world by making a real difference on their wedding day.
Introducing Wedding Gifts in Action
I know what you might be thinking: "Please do not give me something else to add to my list!". Don't worry. Our gift list is extremely easy to set up and manage and, to say thank you, we'll send you free wildflower seeds for your wedding favours so you can get that ticked off too.
Wedding Gifts in Action is ActionAid's gift registry, which enables couples to build a personalised page complete with a bespoke list and totaliser. You can swap the saucepans and spiceracks for school books, mosquito nets and more life-changing gifts.
The money you raise could help communities to access education, support and sustainable livelihoods, ensuring more girls can choose who, when and if they marry.
Changing women and girls' lives, for good
This choice is still not a reality for many girls around the world. Rose, 16, from Kenya, was 13 when she found out her father was arranging for her to be married. She was scared and ran away to her paternal uncle, who was a chief.
He helped her get back into school, and threatened to report her father to keep him away. Her mother, Salome, is against child marriage and is supporting her schooling now. Salome is part of the Action Aid supported girls' forum where they advocate against violence and early child marriage.
Mariam, 21, from Tanzania, was attacked when she was 17 by a friend’s brother, who then began to stalk her after school. Her male relatives suggested that she should be married off to avoid scandal, but she decided to go to the police instead.
I was very happy and felt safe and secure.
Mariam was referred to an ActionAid funded shelter. She says "I was very happy and felt safe and secure, knowing that he could not follow me". Marian has also found the ActionAid counselling services really helpful and made good friends at the shelter.
Send a message of love, hope and unity
The gifts you choose for your gift list could help more women and girls to change their lives and their future. You can add our “Educate a child for a year” gift, for £35, to ensure more girls like Rose can stay in school rather than marry at a young age. You could also choose to add our “Bed for the night” gift, for £45, to make sure girls like Mariam have somewhere to stay where they are safe from harm.
There are lots more gifts to choose from to create your bespoke list. One thing they all have in common is their power to change lives, for good, and send a message of love, hope and unity on your wedding day.