How the Generous Event Community Gives Back
The holiday season has us feeling especially grateful for our friends, families, and homes to celebrate in. But our good luck reminds us that not everyone is as lucky. Professionals who work in the events community get to see people on their happiest of days, yet they also know how to leverage their many skills and connections to give back in times less joyful.
We’ve heard stories of good deeds ranging from venues treating families to Thanksgiving dinner; caterers feeding first responders after tragedies; school mentoring; company-wide acts of kindness; and post-event flower and food donations. Then there are the many, many fundraising galas to which planners, décor professionals, photographers, bands, venues and more donate their time and talents to.
We at PartySlate are so heartened by their efforts and want to highlight a few here — but know there are many more unsung helpers in this big-hearted industry.
The Birthday Party Project
The Birthday Party Project (TBPP) is the brainchild of Paige Chenault who stepped away from her role as a Dallas wedding planner to fulfill her goal to “make every child feel known and loved” through the joy of birthday celebrations. While Chenault enjoyed being part of couple’s celebrations, upon the birth of her first child she realized that there are children out there who may never feel celebrated and it saddened and inspired her. She decided to use her talent and skills to give back — and started in her own community of Dallas by partnering with a local homeless shelter. It was a grassroots effort that began when she pledged to come to the shelter once every month for a year to celebrate all of the resident children having birthdays that month.
When Chenault shared her mission with the Engage Summits community of luxury wedding planners in 2012, they rallied around the cause and gave TBPP an opportunity to grow outside of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Now, TBPP hosts 45 parties a month at homeless and transitional living facilities with help from seven employees, an active executive board and ambassadors, and more than 115 party coordinators in 13 cities across the United States. The dedicated team has celebrated more than 6,000 birthdays with 38,000 children in attendance. And that gift of celebration comes courtesy of the generous volunteers who give their time and energy — many of whom work in the events industry.
Stay tuned for an exciting development with PartySlate and The Birthday Party Project at our Palm Beach launch party later this month…
The Confetti Foundation is a non-profit organization that supplies boxes of themed party materials to children who are hospitalized on their birthdays. Generally families with sick children postpone celebrations of milestones until the child feels better, until the child comes home, and so on. Stephanie Frazier Grimm of Rhode Island’s Couture Parties started the foundation with the hope that families will be able to shift their focus from their child’s sickness for a little while to enjoy a celebration, providing some much-needed levity and a welcome distraction in the sterile environment.
Through volunteers, The Confetti Foundation gathers party supplies, fills party boxes, and then distributes them to participating children’s hospitals across the country. As of August 2018, 209 hospitals have agreed to pass out party boxes to children who are hospitalized on their birthday. These “birthdays in a box” come in more than 70 themes such as emojis, safari, and superheroes, and include fun items like pom-poms, banners, and streamer décor, hand-written cards, confetti (of course!), grippy socks, a toy, book, or themed coloring book with crayons, and more. Hosting hospitals keep five boxes on hand for impromptu birthday fun — two for teens, two for school-aged kids and one gender-neutral themed box. Each hospital has a “birthday fairy” volunteer who makes children’s birthday wishes come true by pairing the birthday box with other celebratory items like a cake, balloons, and character visits.
As of August 2018, 4,889 boxes have been packaged and distributed to 209 hospitals!
Wish Upon a Wedding
Wish Upon a Wedding grants weddings and vow renewals to couples facing serious illness or a life-altering circumstance. The nonprofit has helped more than 125 couples say “I do” since its inception in 2010. Often with mounting medical bills and declining health, the cost and effort involved in creating a dream wedding is out of reach for soulmates struggling with illness. California wedding planner, Liz Guthrie, was producing a large-scale wedding giveaway in 2009 when she realized just how generous many event pros and venues are and how many more couples were in need. Guthrie dedicated herself to the task of matching those resources and started Wish Upon a Wedding, which has now grown to include chapters across the United States.
Wish Upon a Wedding relies on the generosity of individuals and businesses — and the industry’s response has been nothing short of amazing. Couples chosen to have their wedding wishes granted receive a celebration for up to 50 friends and family. Everything from the invitations, wedding planning, and floral décor to the venue, catering, and entertainment are taken care of for these special celebrations. A photographer and videographer capture lasting memories of the day. For many such couples the event is about so much more than the celebration; it’s about being forever spiritually connected to their loved one, and Wish Upon a Wedding makes that possible.
The Good Beginning
The average wedding guest spends $127 dollars on a wedding gift — often on a home good from the couple’s registry. The Good Beginning offers a great alternative (that does good) to traditional gifts. The online registry allows couples to solicit donations to charitable causes throughout the world, in addition to or in lieu of other gifts. Couples can multiply their joy by giving to others as well as serve as an inspiration and build awareness for their family and friends. Founder Beth Helmstetter, a California-based destination wedding planner, was inspired after traveling to Haiti following the devastating earthquakes in 2010. She felt an overwhelming need to give back, and found that many of her wedding couples felt the same way; she conceived of the idea as a way to offer well-meaning couples an easy way to help others.
Couples are able to choose up to five charities to support — from categories like “in crisis” and “animal welfare” — then integrate The Good Beginning registry with their wedding website to share with guests just as they would a traditional online registry. Since launching in early 2016, more than 1,200 registries have been created through The Good Beginning, with over $600,000 charitable contributions to date!
Started by Belief Wedding Planners (BWP) — a worldwide community of wedding planners focused on connections, sharing, and exposure — Two+Us offers weddings to those in need throughout the world. Since BWP has a global membership, the group is able to arrange assistance and services from member event professionals to host charitable weddings at venues worldwide. Every wedding detail from the efficient planning to the lush flowers, the beautiful location to the gorgeous photos, is provided for.
The project began only a year ago and has already gifted two weddings — one in Mexico and another in El Salvador. In addition to producing the nuptials in Mexico, BWP raised money for an electric wheelchair for the couple’s daughter, who has spina bifida. The native Mayan couple were touched by their Cancun wedding and the generosity displayed by all of their wedding vendors, who donated every element of the event. Two+Us is donating a wedding to a deserving couple in Italy next.
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