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A new era for weddings: Conscious celebrations that give back!

Amid the vast expanse of African nature, surrounded by the rhythms of the wild, couples are crafting ceremonies that honour their love for each other – and their shared love for their planet. In an era of increasing environmental awareness and social responsibility, there are couples who are reimagining the traditions as opportunities to make a positive impact on the world while creating meaningful memories that last a lifetime.

One such couple who decided to devote an element of their wedding to giving back were Sydney and Kenny. They celebrated their union on Friday, 5 April 2024 at Lalibela Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, in a beautiful ceremony in a secluded venue in the bush. In a striking display of compassion and generosity, the newlyweds eschewed a traditional wedding registry in favour of donations to Lalibela’s community outreach and conservation efforts.

Hailing from North Carolina in the US, Sydney and Kenny are passionate about South Africa, having bonded over the country and its beauty during their first meeting. Moreover, they are passionate about contributing positively to society. Sydney, a social worker, is particularly devoted to children’s educational development.

Instead of compiling a list of household goods and other items, they asked their wedding guests to instead donate funds to Lalibela where they would be allocated to conservation initiatives, anti-poaching and community upliftment projects, with a particular focus on educational upliftment and development in the Seven Fountains community near the reserve. 

As the couple explained, they’ve been together for six years and their home is already established – they don’t need any more pots or pans! Instead, as they marked their love with their family and friends, they decided to give instead of ask for more.

The shift towards conscious weddings aligns with a broader cultural movement towards mindful consumption and social responsibility. Couples are increasingly seeking ways to reduce the environmental impact of their weddings while also maximising their ability to contribute to important causes.

Charitable registries offer a wide range of options, allowing couples to support causes that are close to their hearts. From environmental conservation and social justice to healthcare and education, there are countless ways to make a difference through their wedding registries.

By hosting their wedding at Lalibela Game Reserve, Sydney and Kenny supported the reserve’s mission further, as 100% of profits generated by the lodges are redirected back into community and conservation projects. Lalibela Game Reserve is the only reserve in the Eastern Cape that directs all profits back into conservation. 

Sydney and Kenny are beacons of hope, showing how weddings can be both meaningful and impactful. As we celebrate their love, we also celebrate their commitment to inspiring positive change in the world.

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