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Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Give the perfect gift for the royal wedding

When girls are little, they dream of weddings.

It all seems so glamorous.

Big foofy dresses, pretty flowers, big frosted cakes and, oh, the romance.

When you get older, you realize it's not really all that fabulous because, well, after a while, you end up going to a lot of weddings.

There's family. There are friends. Then there are the friends and family of the people who bring you along.

For the past few years, I've been pretty lucky.

Aside from a few small family weddings the past five years, I've gotten away relatively unscathed.

Most of my friends and family wed before me, so by the time I came along, I was done going to showers and wedding ceremonies.

Now it's the next generation's turn.

This year I'll be attending four showers and four weddings.

Luckily a lot of them don't know each other, so I'll get a lot of mileage out of a couple of my dresses.

The money saved on clothing will go to bridal gifts, though.

If any of the brides are reading this, look away now so I don't spoil the surprise.

I'm a big believer in the practical gift. I am not one to buy the slippers that dust your hardwood floors when there's a set of pots and pans or microwave-safe containers on the list.

And when it comes to the wedding, I'm not going to schlep a wrapped package with a big bow around all day.

No, brides and grooms, you're getting a check.

It's easier and probably just fits into my purse. And, let's be honest — you'd rather have the cash anyway.

That's just one of the ways you're different from Kate Middleton and Prince William.

The curtsies, bows and billions of "guests" at your ceremony would be three others.

Kate and Wills announced after they became engaged that they didn't want gifts at their wedding. No, they told those who felt the need that they'd prefer donations go to needy charities instead.

What a classy idea.

We all know Kate and Wills don't need a toaster or a set of sheets.

So rather than have hundreds of unused and probably unwanted gifts sitting around for years, they asked guests to pick a charity of their choice and make a donation in their name.

The idea has caught on.

In fact, at the party I'm attending Friday morning to watch the royal wedding, donations are suggested to Feed Lake County, the program that helps area food banks provide food for the needy of Lake County.

So, I'll be making my donation when I arrive at 5:30 a.m. in Painesville to watch the ceremony.

If history is any indication, millions of Americans will be transfixed by William taking his bride Friday. And if you're that moved by this young man you've watched grow up all these years, maybe you, too, would want to remember him on his wedding day with the perfect gift.

Should you want to join me and make a donation to Feed Lake County, here's how: Send a check to United Way of Lake County, 9285 Progress Parkway, Mentor OH 44060. Put "Feed Lake County" on the memo line.

In a couple weeks, my nephew gets married. Two weeks later, there's a shower for a family friend's son.

But it all starts with the wedding of the son of a woman so beloved that, 14 years later, the world still can't believe she's gone.

It's glamorous, and romantic. There'll be a foofy dress and pretty flowers and all the hats you've ever wanted to see.

But there'll also be help for those less fortunate.

After months of planning and millions of dollars in expense, that's how it should be.


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