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How Elena Delle Donne is using her wedding to give back

ESPN The Party - Arrivals Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images For ESPN

Elena Delle Donne and her fiancée Amanda Clifton both have a passion for basketball. Everyone knows about Delle Donne’s success on the floor, but Clifton is a great player in her own right. She played four years at Illinois State and earned All-Defense honors in the Missouri Valley Conference her senior year. Still, they both insist their wedding in November won’t be about celebrating their shared love of the game.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Delle Donne and Clifton about their upcoming wedding. When I asked if there were plans to incorporate any basketball-themed elements into their wedding, they laughed and Delle Donne said, “We’re going to keep basketball out of this day.”

While hoops aren’t part of their plans for next month’s wedding, the couple — who was selected to be The Knot’s dream wedding couple this year — intend to use their wedding to make a difference. “It’s our special day, but if we can impact other people and give back, it makes the day that much more special,” Delle Donne said.

They’ve put a high emphasis on sustainable planning. Among other things, they’re repurposing flowers from the wedding to donate to hospitals and those in need. The couple is also using their wedding registry to give back.

“Amanda and I were saying, we’ve lived together for a while, we have our pots and pans, we have our home,” she said. “We just felt like it didn’t make any sense to get all these gifts that we really don’t need.”

In lieu of a traditional gift registry, the couple has set up a charity registry, which will benefit the special needs community and those suffering from Lyme disease, two causes close to Elena.

Her older sister Lizzie was born blind and deaf at birth. She’s written in the past about how that has changed her outlook on life, particularly when it comes to dealing with Lyme disease:

She’s made me a different person. She’s my constant perspective. I have Lyme disease and undergo regular treatment, including swallowing a palmful of pills each morning. As an athlete, my body and its performance is my job. I’m often exhausted from the Lyme, and frustrated with my body. It’s hard. But when I think about my position — when I think about how tired I am or how much it hurts — I think about Lizzie. I’m so lucky to have the health that I do, and so lucky to have a body and mind which allow me to do what I do. She inspires me. None of my hardships are even close to the same plane as what she has endured.

Even though there won’t be any basketball at Elena and Amanda’s wedding, there will be plenty of assists as they give to help important causes.