We have discovered that there are two schools of thought when it comes to hosting a honeymoon fundraiser.
Some of the feedback has been wonderfully positive and supportive. But some has not. At different points in time, we've been considering letting go of the whole idea... the negativity from those who consider the event to be of poor taste has left us feeling uneasy and yes, even embarrassed.
But then we'll hear from friends who are excited about it and they say it's a fantastic idea, and they'll be coming! That has gotten us excited about it again.
The wedding day has been in planning for over a year now. This is not the first time around for either of us, and so we've decided to keep our ceremony small. It's not about the big party, it's about the promise Dave & I are making to each other. Neither of us has had it easy, and we've surely learned from mistakes of our past. We have a true commitment and heartfelt optimism for each other and the future we will share together.
The idea of incorporating our favorite pastime -- cycling -- into our special day has been there from the start. We have been considering having each of us ride into the ceremony on single bikes, and leaving together on our tandem. I love that idea, but I'm still mulling over how that might work in my dress and heels.
Dave has continually expressed a desire to invite friends who we ride with (NBW & TCC members, as well as the newly established CTTC - CT Tandem Club) for a celebratory group ride on our wedding day. I really wasn't sure how that could be coordinated, because our finances are tight (especially now, since I was recently laid off from my position as Marketing Director for an automotive group in June), and there was no way we could accommodate more people at the location of the ceremony... plus, we did have a desire to keep that part small and intimate.
Fast forward to June of this year, when I am suddenly and unexpectedly out of a job. We had already placed a deposit on our our venue and confirmed the plans as we discussed a year prior. We were making ends meet adequately prior to my job loss, but with the abrupt decline in our combined income, we realized that covering the expenses of even a small wedding was going to be extremely tight.
In looking over everything, the honeymoon part of the picture was not going to happen. We had always dreamed of a cycling vacation of some sort, but with obligations of work and kids, we've never been able, and this realization was disappointing.
I started doing a little research online, and I came across the concept of a honeymoon fundraiser. The way it works is that a couple can set up a page online and friends and family can offer support. You can read more info about this at http://www.gofundme.com/honeymoon-registry.
I've attended Jack & Jill parties for other couples in the past, and we all know of gift registries where couples and expectant parents specify a wish list of sorts, and it seems to be pretty common and socially acceptable now-a-days. I couldn't see how this was much different.
But rather than simply asking for monetary support, it dawned on me that we could hold an event by incorporating the group ride with friends on our wedding day -- as we had always envisioned. And a back yard gathering with a bonfire afterward seems like a perfect way to wrap up the day.
It also occurred to me, that if Dave & I are taking part in wedding day festivities and then riding, our ability to put out a fantastic spread with a variety of foods for our bonfire gathering might be limited. We'll certainly have hot dogs & burgers for the grill and a salad or two I can make ahead of time, and marshmallow toasting for smores -- but wouldn't it be great if we incorporate a potluck aspect into the event? That way, we can all share good food and have a wide variety of dishes to taste. Encouraging deliciousness can be awarded with prizes.
Making a donation is not mandatory. Cycling is not mandatory. Bringing a dish is not mandatory. No one will will be approached with any kind of pressure. It's not about that. If friends want to offer support, it will be greatly appreciated -- but by no means is that the sole objective.
Well, that's how the idea evolved. I hope in explaining more about our event and our intentions and the reasons behind it, it is better understood.
We are passionate about cycling. It has absolutely changed our lives for the better. And we've found that others who share in this pastime have been some of the greatest people we've had the pleasure to know! If you are able to come to Sterling, CT (near the CT/RI line) on 9/10/11 for a 4 pm cycling ride with the bride & groom (20 miles in duration) and/or a 6 pm gathering of friends around a bonfire -- Please join us!!