We learn so much from the people that raise us.
I learned the most from my Mum - my best friend, confidante, rescuer, best hugger, mommy. One of the biggest lessons she taught me was that when you have nothing material to give, you can still give your heart, and that is one of the biggest and best gifts you could give to anyone.
I can’t give money to pay for a whole wedding for a deserving couple (I mean, I don’t have a cool $40k hanging out in my back pocket - shocking, I know). But I can give of my heart and my talent and my expertise. And I can do it knowing that I am honoring my Mum’s memory, honoring another person’s parental memory, and blessing another person’s heart to the umpteenth.
So, since 2016, every summer, I have opened up this little corner of the universe to accept applications free wedding photography coverage for a couple who has experienced a significant parental loss. And, for the past two years, people have poured out their hearts to me, speaking about their beloved parents who have passed on, talking about how much they miss them, how much they meant to them, how losing parents so incredible and amazing and loving has rocked their world...and not in a good way.
It’s weird to say, but there is community in death and in grieving. And we all too often shy away from it because it’s awkward, and we don’t know what to do with ourselves or with others when important people die.
Nonetheless, there is community.
So, here we are again. And here it is again, June 16, my Mum’s birthday. She would have been 60 today. And in honor of her, I’m giving away free wedding photography coverage for a couple who has experienced the loss of a parent.
And something even more incredible is happening through this process this year. My dear, sweet, incredible, generous, heart-swelling friends at Chamonix Bride are also giving away a free wedding gown to the couple who is chosen for the free wedding photography package.
From Allison, owner of Chamonix Bride:
“This event is near and dear to my heart. I lost my mom over 20 years ago, when I was 18. I have been through many personal transformations over the years and I consider myself supremely blessed to be on the journey of self-discovery I have been on, mostly as a result of being blindsided by a tragic loss. I know that sometimes it seems like life is harsh, but I can tell you that life is also beautiful and fulfilling and that there is always so much more waiting for us, if we have the faith and the courage to keep looking….
Of course, nothing will replace my beautiful mother and all of the wonderful things she taught me, both with her words and in her actions, but I hope that being part of Erica’s magical giveaway can somehow complete a circle of giving to a beautiful bride who can use a little extra love and support.
One of our missions at Chamonix Bride is to spread love and honor amazing women, and we are so happy to be part of something so special.”
UPDATE as of 6/20/18: Sara from Lavender & Leaf Designs is also joining in our fun! Read the fine print below to see what's included. :)
UPDATE as of 6/30/18: My friends from Beauty by Amy Elizabeth, Love N' Pixels Videography, and A Lively Event Planning and Coordination are now hopping on this crazy community love train! Keep reading to see what's been added.
UPDATE as of 7/5/18: And now we are able to add a sweet officiant and wedding attire for a potential bridal pup to the mix! How incredibly amazing! Scroll below to see what we have added from Ceremonies by Rémy and Teller Hill. :)
I told you there is community here, in this awkward space of grieving and crying and not knowing which way is up, some days. There is community and standing together and a generosity of spirit that I have not seen anywhere except for within this odd sphere of death.
Because when we can’t give of our material things, we can give of our hearts. So here are our hearts.
Here's what's included:
- 8 hours of photography coverage
- 2 photographers
- USB of fully edited high resolution images from your wedding
- Online gallery of fully edited web resolution images from your wedding
- Full printing rights to your images so that you can print and share to your heart's content :)
- Engagement session
- Online gallery of both high resolution and web resolution images from your engagement session
- Travel within a 1-hour radius of Wappingers Falls, NY
- 1 wedding gown from Chamonix Bride
- Floral arrangements and event design from Lavender & Leaf Designs at wholesale cost
- Bride's hair and makeup from Beauty by Amy Elizabeth
- Month-of planning coordination from A Lively Event - Wedding and Event Planning
- Videography from Love N' Pixels
- Ceremony officiation, coordination, and styling from Ceremonies by Rémy
- A collar, bow tie, or corsage and stylish leash for a potential bridal pup from Teller Hill
- Photobooth rental from Paramount Photo Booths
- Custom keepsake item made from fabric from something of the winning couples' dearly departed parent(s) from Oh Sew Perfect
- Custom cake topper, serving set, and toasting flutes from Couples on Cakes
And here's the fine print:
- Applicants must have a parent who has passed away
- Applicants must have a 2019 date and a venue secured
- Applicants must complete the application process (below)
- Applicants cannot already be contracted with or a current client of the participating vendors for the upcoming 2019 season
- Applicants cannot have already inquired with any of the participating vendors for the upcoming 2019 season
- For all participating vendors, the winning couple must be able to communicate and meet with the vendors in a timely fashion
- For the florals, additional contracted labor and floral transportation will be an added cost
- All services are subject to availability
Applications will close on July 15, 2018, and the winner will be announced on July 16, 2018.