FLUSHING — Facing a terminal illness and planning a wedding are not two things that go together. But love doesn’t stop because an illness is present and that’s where Wish Upon a Wedding comes in.
Founded in 2010, Wish Upon a Wedding is the world’s first nonprofit wish granting organization providing weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and serious life-changing circumstances, regardless of sexual orientation.
On Monday, March 9 the Genesee County Bridal Alliance (GCBA) donated $1,343 to the Michigan chapter of Wish Upon a Wedding at Signature Chop House in Flushing. The money was raised at the GCBA’s annual Wedding Marketplace held in January.
“We asked our members who they would like to see us donate the door sales to and an overwhelming majority suggested Wish Upon a Wedding,” said Rhonda Touchette-McKee owner of Tasty Layers Custom Cakes and president of the GCBA. “Since all of our members are in the wedding biz and several of us are actually ‘Wish Granters,’ this organization is near and dear to our hearts as a group. We’re all very proud to be helping such a wonderful organization like Wish Upon a Wedding.”
Laura Allis of Laura Allis Events is the president of the Michigan Chapter of Wish Upon a Wedding.
“We’re very hands on,” she said of her chapter, which has granted weddings across the state thanks to the “Wish Granters” – vendors who donate their services to create the perfect day for those selected.
“Michigan vendors are amazing,” she said. “They’re just so excited to be involved.”
Wish Granters donate everything including attire, flowers, rings, music, accommodations and more for up to 50 guests.
Because not every state has a chapter, chapters can grant wishes out of state, Allis said the Michigan chapter just completed a wedding in Maryland.
“We want to give (couples) a day when they don’t have to worry about their illness,” said Allis. She added that she has been touched by every couple she has helped, especially the union of Jennifer and her long-time fiancé Allen, a wedding Allis helped put together last summer.
At the age of 25, Jennifer was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. She was briefly in remission during her many treatments, but the cancer returned and spread throughout her body. The couple was married on Fourth of July weekend and sadly Jennifer passed the first week of August.
“Everybody gave up their holiday weekend,” said Allis of the Wish Granters involved in the wedding. “You realize people are good people. It was magical. It’s what she wanted … (Jennifer was) so inspirational at the end of her life.”
While most Wish Granters are able to fully donate their goods and services, donations like the one received on Monday night, helps Wish Upon a Wedding fill any gaps.
“You meet these couples and every one of them is just wonderful,” said Allis.
— Emily Caswell