It was early February and I had just recovered from a tidal wave of emotions that, based on intermittent glimpses of memories that farewelled the year 2013, often shifted from feelings of guilt to gratefulness and joy at any given moment.
Guilt because 2013 was the year nearly 8,000 men, women and children were either killed or swept away into the Pacific Ocean by a monster howler dubbed the biggest typhoon on earth. My parents who were holidaying in the Philippines at the time, found themselves in the eye of the super-typhoon. Though it took two terrifying weeks to reach them, against all odds and amidst the death and decimation, they survived. And while we felt extremely grateful, there was little cause for celebration. Thousands perished, and those who survived faced hopelessness and an almost impossible road to recovery. You can read about it in the Founder Diaries.
2013 was also the year my boyfriend and I talked seriously and joyously about marriage. We discussed it early on in our relationship, and after four years of living together, we felt little need for tradition. However, internally, I was battling with familial expectations and the social pressures to put on some version of a white, fairytale wedding. One that a romantic, dreamy-eyed young girl, perhaps in her 20s, may have dreamed of.
The thought of planning a traditional wedding overwhelmed me. It’s full of rules, tradition, and expectations that for the most part, I cared little for. Not to mention, the mammoth task of orchestrating all the finer details that wedding experts say make the day special. I simply did not have the attention span, the energy, nor the slightest interest.
In my mind, we would elope to the tropics where, in between swimming, snorkeling, yoga, romantic walks along the beach and pina coladas, I could Skype or Slack my team and work remotely in a hammock under the shade of a bent coconut tree. Then we would come home, have brunch with friends and casually announce what we got up to in the powdery white sands of Boracay.
That is my perfect wedding.
And so on that summer’s day in February, when I heard that my mother had a plan to breathe life into a devastated town; to bring hope and transform the lives of a community through entrepreneurship; I finally had a compelling reason to have the wedding others wanted.
But I would do it my way.
I created a digital wedding, turned everything on its head and crowdfunded over $10,000 to kick off a social enterprise, starting with my wedding guests, then from everyone else.
This is how I pulled it off.
1. Partnering with heart-centred businesses
I knew when I committed to this crazy idea that it was far bigger than me. In fact, it was no longer about me or the wedding. I needed the help of heart-centred businesses and individuals who believed in what I was doing. From catering and event planning to wedding venues and transport, I partnered with folks to create a wedding for a cause.
Jason Galetti, founder of G’Day Chef looked after catering. He brought his team along and they served up the most delectable and surprising grazing menu.