Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Leia Perez. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Leia, appreciate you joining us today. What can you share with us about the story behind how you found your key vendors?
When I first decided to create the Wedding Wish project, I knew that this would be a bit more work than simply booking vendors and planning a wedding. Not only did we need vendors who would be willing to donate their time and services for free. We needed local philanthropists in the wedding industry during a time when many businesses were struggling to survive being an entrepreneur in the midst of a pandemic.
At first, I thought to reach out to some vendors via social media, but I soon found that though some said yes, they were not as committed as we’d hoped for. So, we learned that we needed to talk to our vendors face to face and tell our story. After they were fully on board, we shared the stories of the couples that we were helping, and they were just as bound to the mission as we were.
We now have a network of vendors and sponsors who are reliable and have huge hearts, whom we love and couldn’t do this without.
Leia, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
In 2020 wedding cake designer, Leia Perez inspired businesses and wedding industry professionals to donate their money and services to host a free wedding to a deserving couple in need. This was a gift that was intended to celebrate one deserving couple, but the designer received many amazing love stories making it difficult to just choose one, and thus Wedding Wish by Candyland Designs a nonprofit 501(c)3 was formed.
“This project is dedicated to the many survivors, and sadly to the ones we’ve lost to cancer. It’s hard enough planning a budget-conscious wedding without the additional struggles of medical hurdles and bills. We just want to help where we can.”
So, through the generous support of our volunteer and donation-based network, we help couples facing serious illness and life-altering health circumstances have a truly memorable celebration of their love and receive mental health services during the planning stages. The goal is to partner with other local wedding industry professionals with a vision to give couples and their loved ones a day away from serious illness. Due to health-related circumstances outside of their control, the couples we honor have endured far greater challenges than many of us could possibly imagine and we aim to celebrate their love for one another.
We envision for each couple a day that provides a temporary escape from worry and creates a positive memory during a difficult time. Memories have magical powers. Long after the day is gone, the memories linger – memories of the kindness of a stranger, of the beauty of the decor, of the cake being cut and shared between you, of the smiles and laughs on the dance floor, of a truly love filled experience. These memories are our vision for each Wedding Wish and of this we are truly proud.
Do you sell on your site, or do you use a platform like Amazon, Etsy, Cratejoy, etc?
The WeddingWish.org website has a shop where we sell items like our “I Grant Wishes – What’s Your Superpower?” T-shirts which are also available on Etsy as well as our hilarious wedding planning “WedAche Coloring Book” which can also be found on Amazon.
We wanted to create shop items to assist with project and foundation costs associated with granting the weddings to these deserving couples. Setting up an Etsy shop was really easy, as was designing the WedAche Coloring Book. Publishing the book on Amazon however was a bit trickier and we still have yet to master the marketing plan for these items.
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
I’m still a work in progress but I definitely suffer from the “I’ll do it all myself” syndrome. This mentality is praised by society as a strong work ethic and tenacious independence, which I have in spades. But it’s actually a habit born from trauma and in my case consistent disappointment. I had spent so much of my youth tending to everyone else’s work and emotional problems that I’d unconsciously built the habit of doing it all myself. The more work I did, the more adults praised me for my strength, self-reliance, and work ethic.
With every passing year as I take on more and more, and my network grows and changes I’ve come to learn that there are people that you can rely on and that’s it’s okay to ask for help.
- Website: weddingwish.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/weddingwish_org
- Facebook: facebook.com/weddingwish.org
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/wedding-wish
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYY5cqhrVBmoa_1-dg0vP8A