It’s hard to imagine giving part of your budget to those ravaged by disater in another part of the world but Leah Bogen felt compelled to do something. When bride-to-be Leah Bogen saw the newspaper pictures of the devastation in Haiti resting next to bridal magazines on her coffee table, she knew the decision was a no-brainer.
She asked her fiance, Will Nicholson, if they could donate a quarter of their wedding budget, $2500 dollars, to Partners In Health for the relief efforts in Haiti. I must say, this story about Leah and Will’s donation of $2500 of their wedding fund touched me much deeper than the Obama’s $15,000 contribution. This is a true love story, full of heart and inspiration. What this couple did was a true sacrifice.
The contrast of reading about the devastation from the earthquake while planning a big party struck her. She made a decision right then to donate the money they planned to spend on the wedding dinner — 25 percent of their entire budget — to people in Haiti. Her fiance didn’t need any convincing.
“She totally blew me away,” said Nicholson, a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth. “I’m still in awe. I was very impressed. How do you say anything but yes to that? It’s such a selfless and thoughtful thing. It’s hard to get excited about planning a wedding when other people are having such a terrible time.
“We’ve got friends and family who are happy and healthy and nearby and well-fed. My family doesn’t need another fancy meal.”
Within four hours, they had decided on an organization — Partners in Health — and had sent off $2,500. Nicholson works in a health care field, and was familiar with their work.
“It’s an organization that has been in Haiti for a while, and we know they’ll be there forever,” said Bogen, who graduated from UMD in 2007.
Leah’s mother, Kathy Bogen, described the couple as humanitarians and altruistic, and said this decision is in step with the way they live their life.
“It was nice that they could look at what resources they have and realize they could change their plans to help other people,” said Kathy Bogen. “They’re very amazing young people. It gives me a lot of hope.”
Leah Bogen and Nicholson were introduced by their parents over Thanksgiving in 2008. Their families both have cabins on Loon Lake, just outside Grand Marais. They got engaged Oct. 1 and are planning an outdoor wedding in Mahtomedi, Minn., at Nicholson’s grandparents’ house.
“I don’t think I’ve ever given more than 50 bucks to anything,” Nicholson said. “It’s a great way to start our relationship. It’s a great gesture to say: ‘This is what we want to do; this is who we are for the rest of our lives.’ ”
As for whether they will really serve PB&J: That’s just one option. The dinner isn’t important, she said. Bogen is hoping that other people will follow their lead and find a creative way to give.
“Look at anything you might be able to cut, and help out a bit,” she said.
It may not be their dream wedding, but it will be filled with what matters. In support of these efforts I would like to mention a handful or organizations I believe in:
Are their any other charities you feel I shoudl have listed? Let me know. Remember a wedding is important, but lives forever changed by a disaster, this is not just noise.