Nothing is more special than a person's wedding day. The Wish Upon a Wedding organization strives to ensure that everyone gets to experience that magical day. According to their mission, "Wish Upon a Wedding is a nonprofit organization granting weddings and vow renewals for couples facing serious illness or a life-altering circumstance."
Wish Upon a Wedding Chicago's founding President, Ali Phillips, owner of Engaging Events by Ali, explained to use her reasons for getting involved in the organization, what the future looks like for WUW Chicago, and how our readers can get involved!
CSW: When did you begin working with Wish Upon a Wedding Chicago? Why were you interested in joining the organization?
AP: I became the founding President of Wish Upon a Wedding Chicago Chapter in the winter or 2010. Liz Guthrie, the founder of Wish Upon a Wedding had reached out to me and told me about her new non profit and asked if I would like to be part of founding a chapter in Chicago. I immediately loved the mission of Wish Upon a Wedding and being able to help couples in need. I recruited a board here in Chicago and within weeks we had begun to grant our first wish for Nick and Beth.
Beth was fighting cancer and was going to chemo and radiation at the time, but still wanted to marry her dear Nick. It was our first wish in Chicago and we planned it in under three months, thanks to the love and support of the Chicago wedding community. The day was full of laughter and love and Nick and Beth were able to spend a day away from doctor's appointments to celebrate their love with 50 of their closest friends and family. Beth lost her battle with cancer a year later, and Nick is still is a part of our life. He attends our Chicago Gala every November.
CSW: What does it feel like to grant a wish?
AP: The emotions and love that fill the room at a wedding wish make for the most heart-warming and loving moments of my life. The appreciation from not only the couple, but also their family and friends to their wish granters - who are often times fully donating their services - means so much to all of us at Wish Upon a wedding. I strongly believe helping others makes this world a better place. And that love heals!
CSW: What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
AP: I am so proud of not only the Chicago community, but the entire wedding and events community. Their support, their donations, and their help as volunteers and board members all over the USA makes our mission possible. We grant wishes in all 50 states! In 2016, we will do our 100th wish. That is an incredible accomplishment!
CSW: What do you hope will come for your position and the organization in the future?
AP: I am the National President of Wish Upon a Wedding, a position I have held for two years. I will continue to be a part of Wish Upon a Wedding nationally and help it grow to help even more people. I leave my tenure at the Chicago Chapter and as the founding President. I am so excited for this chapter to be lead by Michelle Durpetti, of Michelle Durpetti Events, and seven other wedding professionals -- some who have been on my Chicago board for three years!
I want to continue to grow the organization nationally and locally and get more and more people involved as volunteers. I also want to be able to grant more wishes to those in need.
CSW: If you could say anything to your team, what would it be?
AP: Thank you for your time and support, and your mutual love and respect for the mission of granting weddings and vow renewals for couples facing serious illness and life-altering circumstance. Thank you for embracing Wish Upon a Wedding in Chicago and nationally, and for helping us continue on the mission of helping others.
CSW: How can other wedding professionals in the area get involved?
AP: There are many ways to get involved! Help us get the word out by sharing details about Wish Upon a Wedding with your friends and your network! You can do this by blogging or simply sending them to our website to learn more. Like our Facebook page to stay up to date on our weddings and events happening all over the U.S. Refer any couples you think may be a good fit for our mission. Continue to support Wish Upon a Wedding when you can both nationally and locally. We have chapters that always are looking for board positions or volunteers to help out at our events, and we have an ambassador program for those areas that do not have chapters. Join online as a wish granter for upcoming wishes. Attend one of our events, attend our Gala in November in Chicago or sign up to host a Third Party Fundraiser!
To learn more about Wish Upon a Wedding, visit their website and their local Facebook page. A big thank you to Ali for all her work in the organization and a big congratulations to all the new board members!