Instead of receiving silverware for their wedding, Barry and Monica Gamble decided to have all their friends and family donate blood to the Virginia Blood Services Donor Center in Richmond.

Transforming the clinic into a “destination wedding” of sorts, the couple arrived in full dress to donate their blood. Staff decorated the place to look like a wedding chapel, with cake offered to donors afterward. “We weren’t into the whole registry thing,” Barry Gamble, 32, told WTVR CBS 6. “We figured gifts would be nice but it would be even nicer if our friends and family could help us save some lives.”

.

 

 

 

The American Red Cross notes that every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Over 41,000 blood donations are needed every day, and the average red blood cell transfusion is about 3 pints. Though about 38 percent of the U.S. population is capable of giving blood, less than 10 percent actually does every year.

“Couples like Monica and Barry are truly the giving type!” Virginia Blood Services spokeswoman Michelle Westbay said. “We are so thankful for their support for blood donation and sharing the opportunity for others to give the gift of life and provided hope, strength and courage to patients in need. We thank them for making us a part of their celebration and introducing others to the importance of donating blood. Through their simple act of giving, lives were impacted and forever changed.”

Both Monica and Barry are frequent donors at Virginia Blood Services, so on their wedding day they only donated platelets since they had donated blood only a couple months ago. The Virginia Blood Services center needs about 400 donations every day in order to meet that area's needs, Westbay said. “People seemed really excited about it,” Monica Gamble said. “Not all our friends and family are eligible to give blood but they really support the idea. So we have a mix of donors and supporters here today.”

“The greatest gift of all is life,” Barry continued. “It sounds awful cheesy, but this is a lot more important than a toaster.”