Today we’d like to introduce you to Leia Perez. Them and their team share their story with us below:
In 2020, wedding cake designer, Leia Perez inspired businesses and wedding industry professionals to donate their money and services to host a free wedding to a deserving couple in need. This was a gift that was intended to celebrate one deserving couple but the designer received many amazing love stories making it hard to choose just one, and thus Wedding Wish was formed.
“This project is dedicated to the many survivors, and sadly to the ones we’ve lost to cancer. It’s hard enough planning a budget-conscious wedding without the additional struggles of medical hurdles and bills. We just want to help where we can.”
Through the generous support of our volunteer and donation-based network, we want to help couples facing serious illness and life-altering health circumstances have a truly memorable celebration of their love. The goal is to partner with other local wedding industry professionals with a vision to give couples and their loved ones a day away from serious illness. Due to health-related circumstances outside of their control, the couples we are trying to honor have endured far greater challenges than many of us could possibly imagine and we aim to celebrate their love for one another.
We envision for each couple a day that provides a temporary escape from worry and creates a positive memory during a difficult time. Memories have magical powers. Long after the day is gone, the memories linger – memories of the kindness of a stranger, of the beauty of the decor, of the cake being cut and shared between you, of the smiles and laughs on the dance floor, of a truly love filled experience. These memories are our vision for each wedding.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been a smooth road at all! We’re a new nonprofit and still in the arc of our learning curve. But it’s been a great learning experience and we’re all light hearted so we’ve taken the little bumps in the road in stride. The program would benefit greatly with additional administrative volunteers so that communication efforts are more seamless and event volunteers would be extremely helpful given how much work it is to put together a wedding from start to finish!
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Candyland Designs is owned and operated by Leia Perez (former accountant turned cake designer) who began creating custom cakes in Kissimmee in 2017, joined with the Make-A-Wish bakers via Icing Smiles a year later and has always donated a portion of all cake profits to the No Kid Hungry foundation.
The bakery evolved from a small home-based business – mixing family recipes with modern business trends and baking creative cakes for all occasions but focuses more heavily on couture wedding cake designs. The bakery grew rapidly via social media and was compelled to expand to a brick and mortar location in downtown Kissimmee, FL where the bakery staff and interns began to participate in activities that have community involvement including mentoring for Osceola County Schools, donating to several local charities in addition to founding the Wedding Wish Charity.
The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
During the onset of the Covid-19 crisis we lost a lot of business due to event cancellations but we were able to quickly recover due to creativity and our desire to help out in our community. The bakery began bundling cupcake decorating kits for kids who were stuck at home bored and driving their parents crazy. Parents were able to drive by the bakery for no contact pickups and not too long after we began this service we were able to accommodate cake orders for many small gatherings from these same customers who were grateful for a fun baking lesson during the lockdown.
The covid crisis is also where the idea for the wedding wish charity was born. Because so many people were having a hard year we decided to adopt families for Christmas and gave away lots of toys because we were doing well, but as a bakery, we thought let’s also donate a wedding cake to a bride too!
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/weddingwish.fl/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WeddingWish.FL