One of my favorite parts about being a part of the wedding/event industry is the overwhelming support, generosity and creativity that I am surrounded by on a regular basis. This is especially evident when I follow such a great group of professionals on Twitter! The subject of today’s Change The World feature is one of the greatest that I have seen so far.
When I first heard about Wish Upon A Wedding, I was filled with questions. How can I help? Who started this beautiful project? What is it all about? Well, these questions were answered when I was fortunate enough to speak with Liz Guthrie and Sasha Souza. Simply put, these two women are amazing and are doing something HUGE to move the industry in the right direction. We are talking world-changing here, people! Having the opportunity to speak with someone, like Sasha, who I look up to in so many ways, and someone, like Liz, who is beyond genius and compassionate, was definitely a highlight for me. And being able to learn about and share the details of WUAW is an absolute privilege.
To give you the basic idea, WUAW is America’s only nonprofit wedding wish granting organization, dedicated to giving the gift of a weddings and/or civil unions to courageous and deserving couples. I am positive that there will be more ideas like this to follow, which is what I meant by moving the industry in the right direction.
During our interview, I asked a few questions in order to do my part in getting the word out for something that I believe so deeply in. After the hour long conversation, I felt unbelievably inspired. Below are some of the questions and Liz and Sasha’s responses, with a few photos from Florence and Michael’s WUAW Wedding. (Visit the BLOG to see more)
Sasha (WUAW’s President): So many people wanted a way to give back. Everyone involved in our industry share an emotional connection and are hungry for something to do to feel good. Most have the perfect marriage of skill set and desire and not many have the opportunity to use those in such a big way.
Liz (WUAW’s Founder & Chief Wedding Officer): Little girls dream of their wedding and health issues shouldn’t get in they way of those dreams. The idea came to me while producing San Fransisco Dream Wedding and people jumped on board right away. It has been amazingly easy to find professionals to participate and help in any way we need. A wedding or civil union is almost always just as important to the parents of our recipients, as well.
Who can have a wish granted?
Sasha: The guidelines are simple. You must be unmarried, 18 or older, and have an illness. The wishes may be used for weddings, civil unions or commitments. The WUAW does not discriminate in any way.
How can people help?
Sasha: Those not in the wedding and event industry can help in many ways. WUAW donations in lieu of favors, cash donations, Products (See below for a list of recomendations), Frequent Flyer Miles, Hotel Nights. Basically anything travel related would be really helpful, along with cash donations to cover the cost of bringing family in for the event and products that may be needed.
What are the long term goals of WUAW?
Liz: Never turn anyone away. Grant hundreds/thousands of wishes. Bring happiness to as many people as we can. Continued support of our industry. Grant wishes for same sex couples. Expansion on a global level.
What else should we know about WUAW?
Sasha: Everyone should know that these are smaller events, usually less than 50 people and can take place any day of the week. It is best for wish applicants to be flexible with their date, as there are many moving parts to each event. There is a maximum donation of $4995 worth of services from professionals.
What has been the most amazing part of WUAW so far?
Liz: The outpouring of support from people in the industry has been amazing. I was actually shocked at how quickly we got this project moving. Being able to grant these beautiful wishes and have hundreds of people backing you up is a great feeling.
Sasha: People really are touched by this organization. It feels great to know that you have the power to make a difference. I have learned that we are in the most generous field. It has been amazing to see people who have never met so far, work together to create something big. We are all doers. Smart, witty, savvy and independent. I couldn’t ask for a better board and I feel really blessed to be a part of this.
To some, having a life threatening illness is a sad concept to grasp. What would you say in response to that?
Sasha: Some people have a hard time with death and are afraid to talk about it, but this is a chance to infuse joy into what is often a very rough road for the couple. It has been an honor to be asked to be President and I am blown away by Liz’s selflessness. You don’t often find that type of person in this industry. She has a huge dream and is completely fearless.
Note from Amanda: Liz & Sasha, you are amazingly inspiring and your outreach and passion are contagious. Please continue to share your love with the world. I feel completely privileged to know you. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to spend some time with me and my readers. XOXO, Amanda
How you can help:
Some of the specific donations mentioned in our interview: Venues, Florists, Caterers, Travel Miles, Hotel Stays, Favors, Invitations, Cash Donations.
If you are a wedding vendor, blogger, or anyone else who wants to help, please visit the HOW TO HELP page. If you are interested in having your wedding wish granted, please visit the WISH GRANTING PROCESS page for more information.
Lastly, the greatest thing you can do is spread the word. Please take a moment to share the WUAW love. You can head to the MEDIA page to grab a badge to place on your blog and more information to share. Tweet it out, Facebook your friends… do whatever you can to change the world in your own little (or large) way today!