We’ve all been to weddings, and we’ve all (for the most part) remembered to buy a gift off the registry— you know fine china, the customary ice cream maker nobody ever uses, that fondu pot. But when Leigh McManus and James Clark Jr. tied the knot, they didn’t want any of that. They only wanted one simple thing from their guests: A random act of kindness to be delivered to a stranger.
Leigh penned an essay for Huffington Post about her wedding and the reason she chose to make her gifts about other people instead of herself. “As our wedding approached, we wanted to do something to give back,” she wrote. “The world had given us something we both spent a lifetime looking for — true love. How could we not show our appreciation and gratitude for the happiness we’d found?”
On September 26th, the couple got married in Sanibel Island, Florida, but before the big day, they requested in their invitations for their 100 guests to conduct a random act of kindness in lieu of a gift. “We invited people to participate if they felt so inclined,” Leigh told ABC News. “We asked if they did participate to email or text me or use the hashtag #kindleigheverafter.”
Months later, they’re still seeing the “gifts” roll in. “They really had a lot of fun with it,” Leigh, an artist who works in advertising, told ABC News. “I find that every time someone does a random act of kindness, they’re amazed at how much they benefit as much as the person they’re helping.”
Since the invitations were sent, they’ve been receiving a flood of notifications about their guests’ random acts of kindness. Take one of Leigh’s bridesmaids, Emily Schairer, who took pet supplies to a local animal shelter with her young daughter, Chloe. The maid of honor also sent Leigh a picture of donuts that she brought to a nail salon, and Leigh’s childhood friend who lives in London brought a security guard in her building some frozen yogurt.
Still others baked batches of cupcakes to deliver, bought lunch for a stranger, gave treats to the UPS deliveryman, and donated supplies to a women’s shelter. Even the couple got in on the kindness by donating their wedding flowers to local nursing homes and hospitals.
“It was just a way to celebrate the love of our wedding,” Leigh told ABC News. “It was nice to have such a big chapter of our lives not only create love and happiness for us and for our guests, but for others as well.”
Leigh and James wanted to share their love — not only with their friends and family, but with as many people as humanly possible. So that’s exactly what they did. “Our gratitude for the love we have for one another, and for those in our lives, was magnified that day,” Leigh wrote in her Huffington Post piece. “The best way we could share our love with the world was by spreading it through kindness onto others. Thank you to our guests and loved ones for helping us accomplish that.”
(Image via Twitter/ABC)