Weddings are special occasions. They mark happy and new beginnings for the newly-weds, and they are also a celebration for two individuals who have pledged to commit to one another for life. But they also mean spending a lot of money, and though there’s nothing wrong in wanting to celebrate, some weddings can get a little (and there’s no polite way of putting it) excessive.
That’s why we were touched and inspired when we came across a couple in Bengaluru who decided to celebrate their wedding in a unique way. Instead of treating their guests with sumptuous food and extravagant celebrations, they decided to use the occasion to help underprivileged children.
To give shape to the initiative, on October 23, 2016 i.e. a fortnight before her wedding, Surabhi did a Facebook live announcing the date of her wedding and urging everybody in her friend list and beyond to be part of the festivities by volunteering their services for the cause. They could register their volunteer services by simply filling up a Google Form.
Delighted to see the positive response they got for the video, the couple then started a donation portal and requested guests not to bring any gifts and instead donate the money to different organizations working with underprivileged kids. Gifts like clothes, toys, books, sweets, etc, that could be used by the kids was encouraged.
Next, they partnered with the Samarthanam Trust, which works with differently abled children, to invite about 250 children to the event. They also got help from organisations like NELE (a caring home for destitute children),Youth for Seva, Seva Café, etc to invite another 250 children. The compassionate couple also requested all their friends to bring a child who they had met during their daily interactions like a domestic help, ragpicker or anyone they meet on the streets.
In an interview to the The Goodwill Project, Hemant said,
“You can have money, power and all the material things that life can offer, but the joy that comes from serving people who don’t even have the bare minimum is unparalleled. Our humble effort is like a drop in an ocean and by involving our friends and family in this initiative, we are hoping they too understand what it is to serve, share or give. Hopefully, the feeling they go back with shall inspire them to try and give back to society in their own modest way. Every drop counts.”
More than 9,000 people saw Surabhi’s FB live and almost everybody had liked the idea and agreed to help. When Surabhi and Hemant finally got married on November 6, 2016, the guests of honour at her reception were around 500 under-privileged kids. Musical shows, mehendi workshops, dance, face painting, Origami and other fun activities to keep the kids engaged and ensure they had a good time.
“The dream wedding made it to reality. An evening of so many smiles.”