Love is kind. Literally.
It's normal for a couple to be showered with gifts when they celebrate their big day and walk down the aisle.
But Leigh Clark wanted her guests to do something a little different. She wanted them to give their gifts — in the form of kindness to the world.
Leigh is a big believer in making the world a better place through acts of kindness.
In a phone interview, Leigh told me she caught the bug a few years ago when she decided to do one act of kindness every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas:
"My first act was delivering meals to underprivileged families on Thanksgiving. I was able to give this giant sheet cake away to these kids who were playing with their parents nearby. The amount of joy that they radiated back at me was so amazing that it was like I was hooked. And that's when I understood for the first time in my life that happiness doesn't necessarily come from within. It can be reflected back to you."
So when her wedding was approaching, she knew that asking guests to do good deeds would be an amazing way to celebrate love — and not just between her husband and herself, but the world.
The response was overwhelming. And it wasn't just her wedding guests who opted to join in. Other acquaintances and childhood friends hopped on board, too.
Jillian Bhatia, a childhood friend of the bride, got her family involved. She and her kids, Rohan and Vivi, pitched in and donated supplies to a local women's shelter.
Bridesmaid Emily Schairer and her daughter, Chloe, brought pet supplies to a local animal shelter.
London-based Caitlin Blewett, another of Leigh's childhood friends, bought some frozen yogurt for the office security guard.
As Leigh told me, "If you're doing the right thing while going about your day and trying to make the world a nicer place, the world smiles back."
Fortunately, you don't have to wait for a wedding invite to go out into the world to commit acts of kindness.
Here are 10 super easy acts of kindness you can do to continue to spread the love and make the world a kinder place:
1. Thank someone who's supported you in the past, like a teacher, friend, or mentor, by giving them a hand-written letter.
2. Spend a couple hours volunteering at a local nonprofit organization.
3. Donate goods to a local shelter.
4. Buy lemonade at a child's lemonade stand.
5. Call a friend and tell them how much they mean to you.
6. Send kind words to someone getting a lot of hate on social media.
7. Send groceries to a friend who is busy and/or going through a difficult time.
8. Put a quarter in an expired parking meter to help a stranger avoid getting a ticket.
9. Send flowers anonymously to a receptionist or security guard.
10. Leave an encouraging note somewhere on a store shelf or in a popular library book.