Why Tory & Jonathan Are Registering for Wedding Gifts That Give Back
Weddings are an important part of Tory Williams's life. As a freelance photographer, Tory has worked more than 300 weddings over her career so far. But spending so much time at other people's weddings didn't really prepare her for planning her own.
“It’s funny: I never pictured myself on the other side. Weddings have always been a workplace for me,” she says. “I struggle a bit being the bride, being on the other side of the event.”
As it happens, she met her fiancé, Jonathan Cedar, at a wedding.
“I was photographing a wedding and Jonathan was a guest. He came into the ceremony late,” she recalls with a laugh. “I didn’t notice him, but he noticed me. I probably gave him a bad look, because he was standing in the way of where the bride was going to come in.”
“It’s funny how much weddings are a part of my life because I never really cared much about them.”
Jonathan and Tory's November wedding will be held in the Berkshires, a place that's important to both of them.
“It’s a place we go a lot on the weekends to hike and ski. It’s a common thread in our relationship,” she says. “We really wanted to show everyone this special place.”
Though Tory never really imagined her wedding, it's is shaping up to be a more traditional ceremony with a great party.
“It’s definitely going to a wedding,” says Tory. “It’ll be mostly traditional with little things that make me feel like I’ve put my own stamp on it.”
“The fun part has been hiring all my friends to do different parts of it like making the invitations and teaching us calligraphy - all the little things that make a wedding so special. It’s fun to work with your friends on something so personal.”
Planning the wedding itself has been relatively straightforward for Tory and Jonathan, but one thing they found tricky to navigate was the wedding registry.
“The whole concept of a registry was challenging for us,” she says.
Both in their mid-thirties and living in a small Brooklyn apartment, Tory says they were looking for a registry that wouldn’t bring more stuff into their lives.
"It was really hard because everyone was asking (and telling) us to register, but it also felt funny to ask people for cash."
Jonathan and Tory chose One Acre Fund as their charity on Tendr. One Acre Fund helps small-scale farmers in six countries grow their way out of hunger and poverty. Providing farmers with seed and fertilizer through loans and teaching them the techniques they need to maximize their crop growth, One Acre Fund helps farmers store and sell what they grow to feed their families and communities.
“One Acre does a lot of things to help people be self-sufficient,” says Tory. “It’s just such a great thing to support somebody being self-sufficient.”
Tory and Jonathan also have a personal connection to their charity, which makes giving a to them as part of their wedding even more meaningful.
“We've visited some of the farmers' houses because Jonathan’s company, BioLite, has a partnership with One Acre Fund. You can see when you’re traveling around rural Kenya l which households use One Acre corn seed and which ones don’t because the One Acre farms are performing much better,” she says.
“I came right before harvest this time, so everything was so tall and lush. I have this great picture of a woman in front of her corn. She’s dressed to the nines and so proud of this corn. Because that corn is money.”
For Tory, the most thrilling part of the charity registry on Tendr is in the kind of impact she and Jonathan can make in people’s lives.
“Instead of us getting a Kitchenaid we’re not going to use, we can support somebody having more education about how to use their land to feed their family and support their lives. It really excites me!”
Tory says the bigger statement about what a charity registry means to them as a couple is important for them to share with their guests.
“I think there’s a part of this registry that’s a statement because, yes, we’re having a fancy wedding. But I also feel like having this type of registry for a charity is making me feel like we’re making a statement about who we are,” She says.
“A charity registry balances how expensive weddings are with a cause that’s down to earth and aligns with where our hearts really are. It’s grounding.”
Great design is another value Tory and Jonathan didn't want to compromise on when choosing a registry, which is what sealed the deal on choosing Tendr for their wedding registry.
“A lot of registry sites aren’t well designed,” says Tory. “That’s what was so exciting about Tendr - it looks so cool and is designed well!”
“That speaks to us above a lot of things,” she says. “It’s designed well, it’s clear, people understand what they’re doing, and it works seamlessly with our wedding website. I’m proud to share Tendr with our guests because it looks great.”