16 April 2018
Instead of spending money on traditional bonbonniere gifts like candles or chocolates, Mel and her fiancé Craig decided to make a donation on her guests’ behalf to Cancer Council SA. Now, a month on from her wedding, she encourages other brides-to-be to bring charity into their special day.
On Saturday, 10 March 2018, at 4.00 pm in the stockade botanical garden at Northfield, I married the love of my life, Craig.
Craig and I have known each other for nine years, and have been together for two and a half. But it was after only 14 months that I asked him to marry me over a takeaway lunch. Sometimes when you know, you know. And I knew that this was the man I wanted to share the rest of my life with.
Wedding planning can be a crazy time, but Craig and I made it our mission to plan an event that was still ‘us’. We were determined not to get lost in all the little things, like table linen and seating charts. The most important thing is the love that we have, and celebrating the start of our future together with people that matter to us. This was a big motivating factor in choosing to make a donation to Cancer Council SA in lieu of giving guests bonbonniere gifts. How many times do guests leave their bonbonniere behind, or stick it in a cupboard once they get home and forget about it? We wanted to take every opportunity to make our day meaningful and memorable, as well as remembering those we have lost to cancer.
Along with the simple place card, we included a daffodil pin for each guest. The daffodil, a symbol of hope, was a really powerful addition. I have such a clear memory of sitting at the bridal table, and looking out at the tables and seeing a sea of yellow daffodil pins. Even the DJ wore his! That moment really cemented for me that choosing to bring Cancer Council SA into our wedding was the right choice. Now, a month on, I still have guests telling me what a beautiful gesture it was, and it means a lot to know that it will keep an important charity front of mind for people.
Cancer has impacted our family as it has so many others. On display at the reception was a photo board with loved ones who had passed, three of whom were due to cancer. My pop survived for just three months after being diagnosed with lung cancer before I was born. Auntie Dawn had two rounds of remission after treatment for four cancers, before succumbing to a number of brain tumours. Dad’s other sister, Auntie Valerie, fought ovarian and bowel cancer for five years before her time was up. And just last month, my Uncle Peter passed away after a seven-year struggle with throat cancer which had spread to the mouth.
This was a day that we wanted to share with the people closest to us, past and present, so it was so special to have them there in spirit as well as 70 of our closest friends and family.
I think it’s so important to keep funding everything that Cancer Council SA does, from the research that might find a cure one day, to all their over-the-phone and in-person support services. For the past eight years since 2010, mum’s been going through ongoing cancer treatment. What started as a melanoma on the side of her foot soon travelled to her lymph nodes and eventually into her spine and lung. Thankfully she’s in remission now for the second time, but still has to go through chemo on a fortnightly basis. I’ve seen how much cancer can impact all aspects of life, for the person going through it and the people around them, and having somewhere to turn to for support is a welcome relief.
I would say to anyone currently toying with the idea of a charity bonbonniere to do it, wholeheartedly. It’s one way to let your personality and your history shine through. Why not spread the love a little further on your wedding day and help people who need it most?
If you would like to include Cancer Council SA in your wedding, you can read more or call us on 1300 65 65 85.