Could your favorite Jewish school, synagogue, or charitable organization use a free fundraising tool? I so much love the idea of couples making a charitable donation in honor of their guests in lieu of buying wedding favors, that I turned an article of mine on the subject into fundraising flyers for distribution by charitable organizations.
There are three versions each with a different headline, so you can choose the one that works best for your organization.
They are free to print, download, and distribute.
Donations could be made to any type of organization, of course, but because the article originally appeared in the Washington Jewish Week, the article has a Jewish bent.
Having done a short stint in fundraising, I hope that the idea will take off and be an added source of support for the Jewish institutions who do so much good for our communities.
See the flyers
The photos are in for a wedding DIY article by Maria that’s scheduled to appear in the Washington Jewish Weekly’s annual Wedding Planning Guide, being published later this month.
The article will include several DIY projects.
Photo: Jason Weil, Maryland
< Here's a sneak peak at one of the projects.
The photos are by Rockville, Maryland based photographer Jason Weil.
Watch for the Washington Jewish Weekly's Wedding Planning Guide on area newsstands February 24.
18K Yellow Gold Comfort Fit Wedding Ring available at BrilliantEarth.com
Can gold wedding rings be green? They can if they’re made from recycled gold. They’re “green” as in good environmental management, and if you are planning a green wedding you might want to consider a ring of reclaimed gold.
When gold is mined, the materials pulled out of the mine are often dumped in piles on the ground nearby. There, the toxic minerals in them can leach into the ground, killing vegetation as well as animals and also seeping into the drinking water sources of local communities. Buying a ring of reclaimed gold means that no new gold was mined for your ring.
There are at least two online sources for rings of recyled, reclaimed gold: greenKarat and Brilliant Earth. If you’re in Chicago, you can make an appointment to visit Leber Jeweler.
Consider these other alternatives to buying newly mined gold: buying a vintage ring and giving new life to a family heirloom.
Keep in mind as you shop that strict interpretation of Jewish law and most tradition-minded rabbis require the use of plain gold rings without any gems or etched designs.
Are you looking for a wedding expense to cut? Take a deep breath and read the next phrase with an open mind: skip the wedding favors. I know that favors have become a mainstay of wedding culture, but I think this is one area where we can start pushing the pendulum of consumption culture back in the direction of restraint. Less consumption is not only good budget management, it’s good planet management.
Your guests will enjoy your celebration just as well if they don’t have a trinket to take home. Some will actually appreciate not having a trinket to take home.
Jewish weddings do have built-in opportunities for mementos. If you have kippot (yarmulkes) or bentschers (booklets with blessings for the meal) made up for the ceremony and reception, let guests take them home as reminders of your wedding day.
Mementos that arise naturally from the event carry more meaning than items that aren’t essential to the celebration. The kippot and bentschers will be more than merely trinkets in a drawer. Your guests might actually use them in their lives, and every time they do, they’ll think of you and the day they celebrated your wedding.
Apple place cards.
Mosey and Alexander’s wedding was destined be a home crafted and home grown affair. Mosey creates a line of recycled woolen crafts and wedding items
, and Alexander works on a sustainable farm during the summer. And with lots of friends and family members who are artists, bakers, farmers and gardeners, many of whom contributed their talents to the wedding, the event was bound to become not only a community celebration, but also a celebration of community.
In planning the wedding, the bride and groom were inspired by the local Maine woodlands and the autumn harvest, especially the apples in the local orchard. The wedding colors were moss, apple, and the hues offered up by the locally available foods and flowers.
Mosey and Alexander under their huppah. The huppah was built by a friend who is a talented woodworker.
The bride's mother decorated the huppah poles with bittersweet and crab apples from the backyard.
The flowers were picked the morning of the wedding at a local sustainable farm by the ladies in the family. The bridal bouquet: Ranunculus, larkspur, yarrow, eucalyptus, straw flower, snap dragons, Chinese lanterns, and zinnias.
The flower girls wore simple white cotton dresses embellished with satin and grosgrain ribbon.
Candied apple hors d'oevres.
Apple tarlet hors d'oevres.
Guests were invited to share handmade pies, tarts and cakes.
For the reception, the wedding moved to a local restaurant and art gallery. Tablescape of moss, Chinese lanterns, acorns and tiny pumpkins.
The big splurge: Wedding cake by Wendy Kromer with forest elements crafted in marzipan.
Photos: Karen Rusten
Source: From Seedling to Sachet: Growing Your Own Wedding by Mosey.
And Check this Out:
Real Life Wedding: Hipsters Marry in their Native Environment
A gemach? What’s a gemach?
A gemach (sometimes written “g’mach”) is the Jewish community’s name for a special collection of items that can be borrowed at no cost or for a small fee for a short period of time. The term is an abbreviation of the words “gemilus chasadim”, acts of kindness.
Gemachs are usually started by one or a few people who see a need and get organized. A gemach might be in a private home, synagogue, or community center. You can find gemachs that focus on practically any type of items, like toys, wheelchairs, or clothing patterns. I just got an email announcing a GPS gemach. But the most popular kind of gemach by far is the kind that offers items for weddings.
The gemach is an idea that’s centuries old, but gemachs are being rediscovered by couples planning their weddings. Gemachs cut wedding costs – and they also serve the larger goal of cutting consumption.
Whether or not you borrow anything from a gemach for your celebration, consider donating items from your wedding to a gemach near you.
The kind of things you can often borrow from a gemach or that gemach organizers are looking for are:
- Wedding dress
- Clothes for the bridal party and mother of the bride
- Folding tables
- Folding chairs
- Table linens
- Benchers (Prayerbooks with “Grace After Meals”)
Most gemachs won’t be found online. To find one in your area, contact a few local synagogues or a Jewish community center.
Ode to a Gemach
Colors subject to availability.
Jews United for Justice (JUFJ) in Washington, DC held its annual award dinner last week, which makes this a good time to give a shout out for JUFJ’s event planning guide, Green & Just Celebrations. The guide goes beyond the basic buy-local green wedding tips. JUFJ helps you dig deep, so that your once-in-a-lifetime wedding purchases can be as green and just as you can make them. Among the topics covered are buying rings and negotiating the venue contract.
Most of the vendors in the buying guide are local to the Washington, DC area, but some are national organizations that you can find online. And the ideas work where ever in the world you raise your huppah.
By the way, at the award dinner, JUFJ honored four Washington, DC and Maryland area activists:
- David Cohen, co-founder of the Advocacy Institute.
- Carla Furstenberg Cohen, civil rights activist and founder of the independent Washington, DC bookstore Politics and Prose. Carla passed away a couple of weeks before the award ceremony.
- Gustavo Torres, founder of CASA de Maryland.
- Elissa Froman, legislative associate for the National Council of Jewish Women. As a student at The George Washington University founded the GW Jewish Progressive Political Association.
See our list of unique Jewish wedding vendors in the Washington, DC / Silver Spring area.
You might also like:
Free Printable Templates for Tzedakah (Charity) Favor Cards