Tuesday, 6 July 2010

the community and i

"The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual."
William James

I just read a story from the far more appropriate publication the Tory sorry Telegraph about a couple who were set on having the bells of their chosen church ring on their wedding day.  However when speaking to the vicar they found they had not pealed for years.  So they set about travelling 340 mile round trip to Wales from London to clean and restore said bells.  I find this story so sweet that I am prepared to look over the fact they would not feel their day complete without bells.  Indeed I think it is more than sweet, admirable and a beautiful gesture to the village in which they will be wed.  A gesture which will hopefully be appreciated by many others in the future. (Assuming people enjoy the sound of the bells, I cannot say I am a campanologist and do not particular enjoy the attempts of our local church's team but that is a completely different issue!) 

The piece really made me think what I am doing for the community in which I am to be married.  Yes I am paying money to be wed in a certain place and it will mostly (if not entirely) take place indoors away from "the locals" but should I be contributing something to the community?

Most of my suppliers are local (ish) and relatively small so we are helping the economy slightly but how does one actually contribute to a community in which they do not live?  Without living there how do I know where I could really help?  Indeed do I need to thank the community for allowing to be wed in their tiny village?  Am I thinking of myself so highly that I do need to thank them?

I have done the usual thing of contacting a hospice hoping to donate flowers after the day.  What else can I offer.  Time is precious and a round trip could take over 12 hours by car.  Beyond offering leftover food to the local homeless shelter or somewhere equivalent what can I do?

Is my apathy a sign that I need to get involved? Or is it correctly placed in the fact I am paying for a service and that is all I need?  Would it be any different if I were to be married in London?  Apart from the ideas I have already suggested I fear I would show even less interest.*

What do you think?  Are you contributing in a special way to the place in which you will be married? Or is bringing your business to a certain locale enough?

* I like to think I work hard for my community.


  1. Hmmm... apart from hiring local vendors, not really. I hadn't even thought about it. Oops.

  2. donate the flowers. donate the food. donate whatever the hell you can. and then call it day.

    i may be a totally bitch. but i was lucky enough to scrape through wedding planning alive. i contribute to my community on a typical day- wedding planning was a BIT of a distraction from that.

  3. I think by donating your flowers and food and bringing your business to their location, you are helping. I wish I had other ideas, but without knowing your location, I don't won't know what they might need.

    You could maybe plant a tree in a nearby park or on the church property (with park/church manager approval of course) a day before or after the wedding. Might be cute to come back years later and sit under that tree. But I don't know what the days before or after the wedding will be like. Maybe too busy. Maybe the donation of a bench would work better if your time will be too stretched.

    But I don't think you *need* to do the tree or bench. Like I said, food/flower donations and your business are very good ways to give back to a community.

  4. You're a doctor my dear! You contribute every single day!

    Liz's suggestions of donated food are good. We asked our guests to donate to the American Cancer Society on behalf of us (it was an option on our registry/gift list). Otherwise, your economic contribution really does help.

    I doubt many people in large cities in London do much to contribute to the community and to be fair their venues may not even allow them to donate or fix up the venue. Your part and your contribution are just fine.

  5. Well done for even thinking (and blogging) about it! It's nice to see wedding planning approached from a perspective that is a bit less self-centred.

    That said, apart from pumping a (relative) shitload of money into the local economy through our vendors, and bringing in a load of tourists who poured more money into the economy, we did nothing specific. But, erm, how much else should we have done?

  6. What a lovely story. All I can think that we're doing is using local suppliers and occupying local hotel rooms, like most people!

    I'm quite keen to clear up the church garden in advance of the big day - feeling guilty for having been one of the "yoofs" that drank there about 12 years ago, so it's probably about time. I haven't yet summoned the courage to volunteer yet.

    We're also heavily involved in the rugby club, and as part of the committee's plan to raise funds was to hold more private events and increase bar sales, I think we're helping out there. Ok, I know that sounds a bit weak, but the involvement they have with the minis, and young girls rugby is really quite cool. I wish I'd done something like that when I was younger!

  7. Is it only me that is really cynical about this couples contribution to the community. Unless the article is really misleading, they have no connection to the church and are cleaning the bells because they want to ring them (I hope, for their sakes, their ushers are bell ringers, as if not, I don't think it will be quite the effect they were hoping). Yes, the community does get the bells afterwards but only if there are bell ringers to ring them. It is definitely nice that they were willing to travel/give up time to make sure their day goes to their plans but I wouldn't take this as an example of giving to the community by which all other weddings should be measured.

  8. i have similar convictions as you. we're getting married in our hometown where we grew up and using local vendors. we're also getting married in a historic church, they DON'T charge (dream come true right?) but we still plan to donate to the congregation to help in the upkeep of the church. It's 150 years old and in pristine condition (that's old for america, I know that age is nothing for england ;D). We also plan on using a registry which donates to charity on behalf of our guests.

    but like others have mentioned we give back to our communities on our own time. no one will judge you if it isn't openly apparent on the day of your wedding.

  9. I think donating the food and flowers and using local vendors is a wonderful gesture of thanks. After all I don't think a grand gesture is really necessary. You are paying for a service (from what it sounds several between the venue and the vendors) and that brings business into the community, and I am sure they are quite glad about that. The bell cleaning couple, as much as their contribution will be left behind for the community once their wedding is over, are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, they are doing it because they want the bells rung. By that same token, when you wedding is over all the money you spent (and the food and flowers) will be left behind for the community.

  10. ahhh... good point.

    our wedding is at a local park, so our money is helping them. we have also attended several of their events- we go to the swimming hole there, buy their maple syrup and went to their annual pancake breakfast. we also try to spend a lot of time there- bring blankets, a frisbee, and just enjoy.

    i think there are ways to invest or give back to your community. being a supporter or volunteering at an event taking place there may be a good way.

  11. Dont think we really did anything except use local vendors and left the church flowers for the church to distribute the next day {although my aunt seemed to manage to get some!}

    The florist had tied the flowers from the table centres together in each vase so we gave them out to the women in our family; then the mums got the top table flowers.


So, I really love all the sweet and/or informative comments that you lovelies leave. Yet if you feel the need to be unnecessarily rude or offensive I will delete your comment and not feel bad about it. So just be constructive alright! Hugs to all you wondrous others.


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