Today is the one year anniversary of our first Wedding World Changer FREE WEDDING! The Wedding World Changer premise was simple, couples were nominated and shared how they are actively involved in their community. Gary is a firefighter in Palm Harbor (Tampa, FL) with a tender heart for serving others and his community, and Astrid was working towards her degree in Pediatric Occupational Therapy at the time, while also volunteering on Sundays with her local children’s ministry. They were planning for a wedding in a few years, however, Astrid’s mother’s recent battle with cancer had them seeking ways to plan their wedding sooner. Out of all the applications available the Tampa Vendor Team voted and their story touched our hearts most. Click HERE to see the full gallery from their wedding day.
There was one major stipulation to winning the Wedding World Changer wedding. The winning couple would pledge to donate 100 service hours back into the community, within the first year of marriage. Astrid and Gary have spent the last twelve months serving others to make good on our 100 volunteer hours promise and we are thrilled to update you on their newlywed giving adventure!
I love what Astrid shared with BSB about the journey through giving in their first year:
“We wanted to take some time to THANK YOU for the amazing experience that you have provided to us! It has been a year since Gary & I were gifted with our dream wedding, but we believe that paying the goodness forward has been an even bigger blessing for our marriage. We began our community service journey a little later than we wanted to due to our “busy” schedules. We thought the best thing to do would be to sit down and make a “plan” on what we believed would work best to complete our hours. Well, we were in for a reality check because life had plans of its own… many stressors were presented throughout the months that made it difficult for Gary & I to spend time together. It took us a couple of months to realize that life was not going to stop so that we could fulfill our promise to you.
Come January, we decided we needed to just dive in and see where the journey would lead us. The moment we started volunteering changed our hearts forever. It was during this time that we both were able to forget about all of the worries in the world and focus on helping others. We no longer had excuses as to why we were too “busy”, but instead looked for moments to make a difference in someone else’s life. It brought us closer, as a couple, and in a way forced us to make time for each other. It then turned into something we were both passionate about and enjoyed doing together. Overall, the experience has helped build the foundation of our marriage and taught us how rewarding and humbling it feels to give back to those in need. We feel that giving back is now something that is instilled in our hearts and we will continue to follow this journey wherever God may lead us.”
Astrid and Gary have touched the lives of so many in our community, thanks to this awesome 100-hour challenge! They have volunteered with Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (in honor of her Mom), collected Christmas gifts for families in need with the Palm Harbor Fire Rescue, dedicated hours of hard, dirty, work at the West Pasco Habitat for Humanity Kinship Urban Farm, fed hundreds of downtown neighbors with Thorn Homeless Ministries, served at their local Goodwill, walked for ALS research, and volunteered with several other smaller fundraising events for local charities.
Check out the The Portos highlight video from their wedding below.
Huge thanks to Jeanine Leigh Photography and Green Pearl Photography for photographing all of the sweet details from this special BIG DAY… and a HUGE THANK YOU to all of the participating vendors, sponsors, and donors that helped make our first Wedding World Changer event:
Planning: Oh Hello Events | Ceremony Design: Bourbon and Blush Events | Reception Design: Amber Veatch Designs | Floral Design : Andrea Layne Floral Design | Photography: Jeanine Leigh Photography and Green Pearl Photography | Venue: CL Space Ybor | Hair + Makeup: Michele Renee | Paper Goods: Citrus-Press Co. | Catering: Tastes of Tampa Bay | Cocktail Hour Catering: Chalk Board Special | Linens: Kate Ryan Linens | Cake : Trudy Melissa Cakes | DJ: Graingertainment | Bartending : Mix It Up FL | Ceremony Altar/Rentals: Wish Vintage Rental | Pipe and Drape: Coast To Coast Event Rentals | Smaller Wooden Signage: Aerie Lane | Rectangular Farm Tables, Chargers: Set Event Rentals | Media Partners: Creative Loafing and Marry Me Tampa Bay | Succulents: The Succulent Source | Lavender: Tin Can Event Company | Chairs, Square Tables, Dinnerware, Flatware, Glasses: A Chair Affair | Videography: The Portos | Bridesmaids Dresses: Two Birds Bridesmaid | Wedding Dress: The Bride Tampa | Tuxes: All Brides 2 Be Tampa | Hotel Accommodations: Hilton Garden Inn Ybor |
Stay tuned for upcoming Wedding World Changer details and Charitable BSB Events in the near future.