Doing good while getting wed: wedding charity ideas to support your favorite causes

Doing good while celebrating: wedding charity ideas to support your favorite causes
Plantable awareness ribbon flower seed favors
In lieu of a gift registry, what are some of the options/ideas to ask people to give to charity? My partner and I met volunteering and are passionate about that particular organization and some others. We'd love to get others on board with helping support these places but are wondering how to do that.

Could we list specific items and amounts like "$20 will buy a school uniform," or "$50 will buy a scholarship?" Have everyone donate into a central pot and tell folks you're going to split it evenly between three specific charities? Give a list of links to the charity websites? A one-stop-shop website where you can donate to any or all of the organizations — if so, there is a reputable site that does this? Should there be some sort of "target" (help us raise $5,000 for charity!) or is that "tacky" (it's all tacky!)?

– Alissa

Yep, everything is tacky no matter what you choose to do, so I wouldn't worry about that. You have causes you love, you're bringing a bunch of people you love together, why not make it worthwhile for a good cause? There are some great registries that allow you to funnel money into one or more charitable websites, so that's definitely a legit way to go. I'd say a combination of your ideas would be ideal: listing websites somewhere prominent, giving an easy to way to donate (online is so easy!), letting them know how much money will help what cause in certain ways… all great.

But since we're on a roll here, I decided to compile all the ways we've seen couples help others in their wedding planning and execution to give you logistics. Here's a roundup of wedding charity ideas…

Doing good while celebrating: wedding charity ideas to support your favorite causes
Donation Wedding Sign

Wedding charity ideas: Favors

I originally got the idea for our charitable favors after a Buffalo Exchange shopping trip. Buffalo Exchange has a program called Tokens for Bags where, if you bring your own shopping bag, they’ll give you a 5-cent token to give to one of the three charities they’ve picked. I thought I could use that concept for wedding favors: instead of giving people a physical favor, I gave them $3 to donate. – Sophia

See more of how they did these charitable favors here.

Donate your wedding flowers

There are a number of services who will take care of the donations for you directly from your venue, or you can arrange with your florist or wedding planner (if you have one) to designate a drop-off location. Some organizations even provide a tax-deductible note so you can claim the market value. Here is a list of organizations you can use to donate your wedding flowers. See more on this idea here.

Have a charitable kissing game

One detail we really loved at Hailey and Delainy's elegant outdoor wedding was an alternative to the glass-clinking-kissing tradition. Instead of having guests clink their glasses to get the couples to kiss, they solicited a small donation for charity. If you have a cause that you'd like to support, this seems like a low-pressure but high fun factor way to raise some cash. Here's a great example of it.

Doing good while celebrating: wedding charity ideas to support your favorite causes

Donate your dinnerware

A lot of people agree that the random-patterned-dinnerware look at a reception is pretty damn awesome. But grabbing plates and glasses for a couple hundred people (give or take) can be a chore, not to mention pricey.

Maybe give Shannon and Brad's approach a try. They asked their guests to bring their favorite plate and cup as wedding gifts. Shannon and Brad used the dinnerware for their reception, kept 20 or so of their favorites, and gave the rest to a local refugee resettlement organization.

Use your registry for charity

There are a lot of options when it comes to online wedding registries, and most are awesome. But when you run across one that focuses on charitable giving, it's pretty much love at first sight. A lot of our readers are more attuned to not acquiring a bunch of stuff, more attuned to recycling and charitable giving, and more attuned to being generally more, well, offbeat in their opinions on gifting. Here's one registry that does just that.

10 ways to show your support of marriage equality at your wedding
Rainbow Pride Hearts Party Pack of Temporary Tattoos

Recognize your favorite cause with your decor

There are ways to integrate your favorite cause into your theme, wording, decor, etc. Let's say you're advocating for LGBTQ rights, you could totally go wild making sure your guests had ways to contribute as well. Here are ten ways we love.

Support local businesses and charitable vendors

Search for vendors who do their own philanthropic work in their downtime. Or support smaller and local businesses (or places like Etsy!) to keep your money in your community and going to non-corporate vendors.

Donate your dress to others

This is a great one! We've rounded up some of our favorite ideas for recycling dresses, beyond just "boxing it and saving it for later." This includes donating it to a charity like Brides Against Breast Cancer.

Donate your leftover food to shelters

Looking for a way to save your leftover wedding food from going to waste without having to haul it back to your house for a three-day binge? You can actually donate your unspoiled leftovers. Your caterer may already be doing it, in fact. If they're following safety standards and in communication with coordinating shelters, it can totally work. Here's how to do it safely.

Anyone else finding ways to do good with their wedding? Please share with us in the comments!

  1. One of the weddings we went to just had a sign that said "In lieu of favors a donation has been made on behalf of all our guests to (I forget the name of the charity)" but I know that it was something to do with prevention research for a disease that the groom's mother had died from so it was a charity that meant a lot to them.
    I've never really seen a "in lieu of gifts make a donation" and honestly don't know how I'd react to that as a guest. I think I'd feel a little strange about it actually, and I could foresee two possible problems. First, what if guests for whatever personal reasons don't feel comfortable donating to any of the suggested charities? Second, and this is awful to think but people suck sometimes, there might be some people who use it as a free pass to just not get a gift at all. I think it's a great idea especially as someone who really struggled with making a registry, but I don't know the best way to pull it off.

    1 agrees

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