This couple in love were in the middle of planning their lavish, dream wedding when an idea struck them and they decided to do something else; something that has made them instant heroes and will give them even more amazing lifelong memories than a big ceremony would have.
Mark and Ismini Svensson decided to stop spending money on things like a dress, a cake, a venue and a photographer – and use it instead to travel to all 50 US states, one by one, and do a good deed in each.
It’s not clear exactly how much they’ve spent on their journey or how much they were going to splash on their nuptials – but with weddings in North America currently averaging at around $25,200 (with many creeping up towards $31,500) excluding the honeymoon, it’s probably safe to assume that doing what they’re doing now has given them much more value for money.
They started using their wedding budget on the unique initiative two years ago, and it’ll all finally come to an end this spring. As word has spread, donations have been rolling in, a ’50 Acts of Giving Back’ fund has been used to start a nonprofit organisation called StayUNITED and along the way they’ve even picked up a tag-a-long in the form of their gorgeous baby girl Rafealla, who has been born since it started.
“We were actually planning a big wedding reception and honeymoon,” Ismini told CNN. “We realized that our way of celebrating our love would be different, and we came up with 50 Acts of Giving Back.” As for the wedding, they quietly said ‘I do’ in a courthouse. “We believe in a chain reaction of kindness,” she added. “It’s all about realising us doing our part in something much bigger than ourselves and giving back.”
So what kind of stuff have they been doing? In North Carolina, they brought flowers and presents to patients suffering from cancer. In Texas, they assisted elderly men and women with grocery shopping. In Connecticut, they participated in a sports camp for kids struggling with disabilities and then gave them all presents. All that’s left now is the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, Hawaii and Alaska.
Their @StayUNITEDTweet account has nearly 8,000 followers and can be found here.
What would you rather do in place of your dream wedding?