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Forget a gift list. This couple asked guests for random acts of kindness as wedding presents

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha
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A couple has set out to change the definition of a wedding gift, by asking guests to conduct Random Acts of Kindness instead of giving them presents. 

Leigh McManus, 36, and James Clark Jr, 41, tied the knot on 26 September in Sanibel Island, Florida. It was a wedding like any other - the bride wore white, the nuptials took place in an outdoor canopy and the couple were doused in confetti as they walked back down the aisle as Mr and Mrs. 

But the one thing you wouldn't find is a table of presents. 

Alongside their invitations, the couple asked guests to swap their congratulatory gift for a selfless act that assists or cheers up a stranger.

"The world had given us something we both spent a lifetime looking for...How could we not show our appreciation and gratitude for the happiness we'd found? We decided that the best thing we could do was to spread kindness through our wedding," wrote McManus on Huffington Post.

In the weeks prior to the big day, wedding guests set about finding spontaneous ways to help others, be it buying lunch for the person queuing up behind them in a cafe, or donating supplies to a women's shelter. 

One guest "gave up her upgraded seat on the plane so that a family that was separated could sit together" and another bought frozen yogurt for the security guard at her office.

#kindleigheverafter is having a wedding and her friends Chloe and Emily chose us to be kind to in lieu of gifts. What a wonderful thoughtful thing to do!

Posted by DeKalb County Animal Welfare Shelter on Sunday, September 20, 2015

A bridesmaid and her daughter took pet supplies to a local animal shelter and the maid of honour brought a dozen doughnuts to the local nail salon.

Meanwhile, another one of the bride's friends baked cookies for her local UPS driver and his team. 

They each logged their participation in emails, texts and posts on social media to the couple using the hashtag #kindleigheverafter.

As many of you know we decided to ask the guests at our wedding to participate in random acts of kindness to celebrate...

Posted by Kindleigh on Friday, October 2, 2015

The newlyweds continued the string of good deeds by delivering their wedding flowers to local hospital patients and nursing homes and making various decor from the day into surprise gifts to hand out to strangers.

But it didn't end there. "The stories of love for others, through acts of kindness, kept pouring in, with friends far and wide to participating through social media," said McManus. 

"We are incredibly thankful that our guests decided to join in the fun...The best way we could share our love with the world was by spreading it through kindness onto others."

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha

Sejal Kapadia Pocha covers stories about everything from women’s issues to cult foods. She describes herself as a balance between Hermione and Luna Lovegood.

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