When a Florida couple took their wedding guests on a surprise trip to Target after saying their vows, you would be forgiven for thinking they were engaging in a slightly bizarre mass purchase of marital gifts. But instead, Brad and Jessica Bond sacrificed their own wedding list and urged those in attendance to get into the Christmas spirit by purchasing toys for children in need.
“On our anniversary, we go and we shop for Toys for Tots, and we donate it,” Brad announced to the guests after the Saturday ceremony, as reported by News 13. “So today on our wedding day, we want to start our wedding in the same way, but we want all of you to join us.”
The donations were all made to a charity called “Toys for Tots” which aims to “collect new unwrapped toys and distribute those toys to less fortunate children at Christmas.” The charity is officially called “Marine Toys for Tots Program” and was founded in 1947 by Marine Corps Reserve Major Bill Hendricks.
“The primary goal of Marine Toys for Tots is, through the gift of a new toy, help bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to America’s less fortunate children,” reads a description on the charity’s website. “The mission of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is to assist the U. S. Marine Corps in providing a tangible sign of hope to economically disadvantaged children at Christmas.”
The couple has been donating to the initiative ever since their first date, when Brad took Jessica shopping for gifts. “It’s something that has been a tradition for us, like, ever since we started dating,” Jessica told WSAV.
And it was a tradition that was purposefully woven into every aspect of their wedding day. According to WFTV, following the couple’s first dance, they handed out $10 gift cards to guests before inviting them on the special mission to Target.
Toys For Tots distributes a staggering 10 million toys to some 7 million kids each year thanks to wonderful volunteers like the Bond’s.
“If we can make some kids smile on Christmas, it was successful,” Brad noted. Well, by all accounts, it was a wonderful occasion!
“Everyone thought it was a joke at first, I think, and they were like, ‘No, we’re seriously going,” one guest told ABC 13. “I didn’t know until the car ride here!” added another excited partygoer.
“I absolutely love it,” Jessica said of the beautiful gesture. “I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.”