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Giving the gift of Charity


17 March 2008

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The latest request at many weddings these days hasn't been for presents at all.

With the average age of people getting married on the rise, many already have all the home wares they need. Instead of asking for china and crystal, Joseph Renzi, CEO of OurWishingWell.com reports, couples are asking their guests to donate to charity.

When Sonja and James get married in April this year, they are excited that their wedding guests will not be bringing gifts.

Sonja explains, "Most of our guests are travelling a great distance to be at our wedding and that is more than enough for us. For those that insist on a gift, we have setup an online registry for our guests to give small donations charity, as they will benefit far more than us".

James says, "we chose OurWishingWell.com over many other sites because it allowed us to mix Charity and non Charity items, as some guests expressed a wish for non Charity items, where as we preferred Charity items".

And they're not the only ones to forgo presents for charity. The trend has grown in the last few years, with a number of high-profile celebrity couples, including Billy Joel and his wife, Katie, setting the example.

Joseph Renzi, creator of online gift registry OurWishingWell.com says, "We have seen an exceptional increase in the number of couples who are creating a charity wishing well. At the start of 2007, we had a few couples registered to donate their money to a charity, now that figure has rapidly increased. This is money that previously did not exist in the charitable pipeline. This is money that was being spent on cutlery and household goods. Now, it's being used for children's health or for community development. I think it's just icing on the cake, really."

Experts say it makes sense that this trend is on the rise with couples waiting longer - and until they're older - before walking down the aisle.

Renzi says, "I think because there are more couples who have been living together before they get married, they just don't need the gifts that would end up on a traditional registry, or they may live separately, and so, they might end up with two sets of everything when setting up their new home."

For couples like Sonja and James, who are tying charitable giving into the day they tie the knot, they say it makes all the difference.

"I think it will make our wedding even more special," said James. "There's already lots of interaction with our guests. They're not just going to a Web site and purchasing a gift. They're asking: How's the fund doing? Where are you up to now?"

And Renzi is hoping that more and more people think of those less fortunate while planning for their own futures.

Renzi says, "OurWishingWell.com's vision is really that in 10 years, when someone comes back from a wedding, people will say, 'What did the bridesmaids' dresses look like? Who was the best man? And what was the couple's charity?'"

To view Sonja and James' registry visit http://www.ourwishingwell.com/registries/view/20842212



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