Surprise! Dr. Jane Goodall Crashes Wedding

Written By: Florence McCambridge, JGI Canada Volunteer
Category: Our Champions

Like so many, Laura Keating became fascinated with Jane Goodall at a very young age. As a 10 year old, she asked her friends to make a donation to the Jane Goodall Institute instead of buying her gifts for her birthday. Laura has been a fan ever since and even had the opportunity to meet Jane in person at an event in Calgary.

Laura always knew that one day she’d visit the forests of Gombe in Tanzania, and that it would be a trip she would never forget. What Laura couldn’t have known is that while in Gombe, she would propose to her then boyfriend David – who said yes!

“When we found ourselves alone together under a beautiful waterfall in the heart of Gombe, the moment just felt right.”

Planning the big day began immediately upon the couple’s return to Canada. And that’s when Laura and David decided to do things a little differently. Instead of a traditional wedding registry, Laura and David asked their guests to make a donation to a cause they both believed in.

“We looked at our shared values as a couple, such as minimalism and concern for the environment and wanted our guests to be able to contribute in a way that reflected these values. With this in mind, we encouraged guests to donate to the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada.”

On August 12th, 2017, among friends and family, Laura and David said “I do” at the Calgary Zoo. It was a memorable day, made even more so by the moving wedding video created by Laura’s younger brother, Steve. The video included a surprise appearance by Jane Goodall, who personally sent her heartfelt congratulations to the happy couple on their special day.

“The guests all seemed to have a wonderful time and appreciated the opportunity to support a cause that we believe so strongly in. Many of our guests realize that couples getting married later in their lives and don’t need the traditional registry and gifts, say for example a toaster, and we were happy to support a charity in which we believe.”

Requesting that donations be made to your favourite charity in lieu of gifts is a generous way to add a personal touch to your wedding day. Laura also suggests that couples start a dialogue with the charity well in advance of the wedding: “They can provide guidance on how to inform your guests that their donation ties in with your special day, and can work with you to understand the impact you have achieved by making the choice to receive donations instead of gifts.”

Whatever the occasion, consider hosting a party for the planet through EchoAge.

They provide invitations and an easy way for your guests to donate in support of animals, people and the environment.

Learn more about EchoAge!
Photo provided by Laura Keating