Our City is custom made for fabulous, original, dynamic, love-filled civil unions that impress and reflect both your environmental and social values.  Amy Cress, executive director of the I Do Foundation, shared some easy ways for her Asbury Park friends to plan a civil union with impact.

Commitment rings

“Whatever your ring preferences, consider the source of your chosen metals or gems,” stated Amy.  “Jewelers are beginning to offer rings made from high quality, recycled metals.  Also, ask questions that will help you feel good about your diamond purchases.”

In 2003 the diamond industry agreed to an international certification process, the Kimberly Process, to warranty against conflict diamonds, which are, according to the United Nations, “diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces opposed to legitimate and recognized governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments.”

Today, every diamond should come with a written guarantee on all invoices that the diamond is “conflict free.”  Ask your jeweler for this guarantee prior to swiping your platinum card.  Your finger shouldn’t have to carry that kind of burden for eternity.


“Shop at a consignment or second-hand store that donates all or part of their proceeds to a local charity,” stated Amy.  “There are many stores which sell donated gowns and use the proceeds to fund local organizations dedicated to helping those in need.  You can find a gorgeous gown or suit while raising money for a good cause.”

”Make your wedding dollars have an impact by holding your event at a public space where your rental fee supports the maintenance of the location and the educational programs it offers,” continued Amy.

Generic banquet hall weddings went the way of Paula Abdul’s singing career in the 90’s – the interiors are as harsh as the lighting.  Asbury Park has a number of one-of-a-kind civil union locations.  My favorites are the second floor mezzanine and balcony of the Paramount Theatre ($5,000 for an evening with room for 150 guests), the Grande Arcade ($7,500, 13,800 square feet) and the Beach Bar ($5,000, 200 guests) or how about that island in the middle of Sunset Lake or one of our many wonderful historic parks? 

Amy suggests requesting your caterer serve naturally raised meat or fish choices that are organic and environmentally friendly.  And try and eliminate wasted leftovers.

“Plan ahead with your caterer to ensure that any left over food goes to good use,” stated Amy. “Cooked food can’t be donated to food banks – but it can be used by local food rescue programs.”


“Guests will be coming from near and far for your celebration, and as excited as you are to see everyone, all that travel has an impact on the environment,” Amy stated.  “There are many programs, such as Terra Pass and Native Energy, which can help make your celebration carbon neutral by allowing you to offset carbon dioxide emissions through investments in industrial efficiency and renewable energy projects.”


I have said it before – you need nothing.  However if you decide you want gifts, the easiest and best way for your union to make an impact is to register with gay-friendly I Do Foundation. 

“Once you sign up with the Foundation, you register with our more than 100 partner stores, including Target, Home Depot and Linens and Things, via our site,” stated Amy.  “Your guests will be able to access your detailed wedding registry from your own customized, personalized I Do Foundation website.  Up to 10 percent of the purchase price of your gifts is donated to the local charity you choose.  The more your guests spend, the more the stores donate on your behalf.”

Using the I Do registry can’t be more simple and it costs you and your guests nothing.

Major congrats on your upcoming nuptials.  Love to love you, baby.