Getting married is a pretty big deal, and the Internet is filled with advice about how to have a successful marriage after the honeymoon period fades away. A New York woman has found a genius way to get married without post-wedding squabbles — and it's all for an amazing cause. Mariposa Fernandez married Puerto Rico to raise money for the island. The wedding took place on Nov. 1, and it was held to generate support in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico two months ago, leaving at least 55 people dead and causing almost $100 billion in damage. More than half of Puerto Rico's residents still don't have power, and the disaster could create a mental health crisis for the island.
There are a number of ways to donate and volunteer to continue to help the island, but Fernandez's wedding is hard to top. According to News 12 Long Island, her Bronx ceremony drew 100 guests, all who brought gifts in the form of needed supplies to send to Puerto Rico. The reception included Puerto Rican food and a three-layer wedding cake, making it more fun than most of the actual weddings I've been to. Fernandez's wedding registry on Amazon has thousands of items Puerto Ricans still need, like solar light bulbs, plant seeds, medication and diapers.
Almost all of the items on the registry are still available for purchase, and Fernandez says on the registry description page she hopes to gather supplies to take with her on a trip to Puerto Rico next month. Fernandez shared a statement on the Amazon registry explaining why she made the decision to marry the island.
I am in love! In love with Puerto Rico, my homeland, the place of my family origin, my ancestry and my rich heritage. HOME. I am in love! I am in love with my people, en la isla and here in the diáspora, from the Bronx, where I was born to the Virgin Islands where many Puerto Ricans live. I am making a life-long commitment, one that I made long ago but will NOW make publicly. In the wake of Hurricane Irma and Maria that destroyed homes, crops and lives, resulting in the complete destruction of the power grid, infrastructure and water filtration systems and has caused an escalating health crisis. Due to the negligent emergency response from the U.S. government, the number of deaths since the hurricanes continues to steadily increase and tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans have been displaced. Our commitment to our homeland needs to be a lifelong commitment and so my guests are invited to, along with me, make a lifelong vow to love, honor and cherish Puerto Rico, mother earth and humanity, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, etc., and call for a FREE PUERTO RICO. A Boricua Mass Wedding!
Fernandez notes in the registry description that this is her second marriage. In 2001, she says, she married herself "as a declaration of self-love." While both marriages were symbolic and not recognized legally, Fernandez's commitment to her homeland is an incredible gesture. While my first reaction was laughter, upon more reflection I realized Fernandez is actually doing something pretty special. It's easy to feel hopeless about the devastation in Puerto Rico and just tune out any depressing news, but Fernandez is using her love for the island to raise money and awareness. She encourages us all to follow her lead, saying she hopes the wedding "is replicated and goes viral." If you're looking for an excuse to throw a party and raise money for a good cause, here it is.