By Carly Schramm
Everyone knows that planning a wedding takes an enormous amount of time and effort (plus it can cost a fortune). From selecting a venue and catering company to finding the dress and creating the invites, brides-to-be are swamped with a never-ending to-do list right up until the “big day.” Even for the most organized of brides, this is no easy task, which is why Wish Upon A Wedding is here to help out couples with terminal illnesses, who might not have the time or resources to tie the knot.
Sensing a need for a wedding wish service, Liz Guthrie founded the non-profit a year and a half ago in California. Since then, about 30 couples facing life-altering circumstances throughout the United States have either wed or renewed their vows. The Minnesota Wish Upon A Wedding chapter, which launched on Tuesday night, will bump that growing number of nationwide branches to more than 20. “A lot of wedding vendors were starting to see that this was a need that wasn’t being fulfilled,” says Julie Lyford, Minnesota chapter president.
The Minnesota chapter will soon be granting wishes for couples in the state and within a 300-mile radius, including Iowa, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Anyone with a terminal illness, or anyone who is involved in a significant life altering circumstance is welcome to apply on the national website, regardless of sexual orientation. From there the application will be sent to the local chapter for consideration.
“We know expenses are horrendous . . . and most couples don’t choose to opt for that type of day because they’re spending all their money on chemotherapy and other doctor bills,” says Julie. “Our goal is to help take the stress out of that day or week for the couple."
After the application is approved, the chapter will interview the couple and send a planner over to coordinate. The planning process typically takes a minimum of six weeks, depending on the health of the couple. Then, Wish Upon A Wedding will look into their database to come up with a list of possible vendors, taking into account the bride and groom’s personalities. They try to find the perfect vendors and venues for everyone from the “landmark center bride” to the “outdoorsy bride.”
Wish Upon A Wedding offers two wish options for couples; one “wish” accommodates 25 guests and the other allows up to 50 guests to attend the ceremony and reception. Both options include a wedding planner, stationary designer, photographer and videographer, caterer and cake, florist, DJ, venue, and hair and makeup for the bride. Plus, Wish Upon A Wedding can include lighting, gowns, tuxedos, and more if the couple is applicable.
One of the greatest keepsakes is the professionally shot “love story” video that every couple receives. “It’s not just something documenting the day-of, it’s the story of the couple—how they met, how they fell in love—so they have that to treasure for later,” says Julie. “We want to help create wonderful memories.”
Wish Upon A Wedding has seen everyone from punk rockers to same-sex couples take the walk down the aisle. They avoid the cookie-cutter wedding and instead tries to make each special day unique.
Nick + Beth: April 18, 2010 (Chicago)
Rehanna + Christian: April 15, 2010 (San Francisco)
The Minnesota chapter is looking for vendors and would love to start marrying couples! Apply or find out how you can volunteer your services at wishuponawedding.org