In a way, the whole wedding experience is about giving. You and your fiancé are pledging your love to each other, you’re giving a wonderful party for people you care about, and your guests are gifting you items for your new life. So why not share the spirit of love and generosity even further, by bringing charitable endeavors into the picture? From a simple donation in place of favors to sending your leftover food to the needy, there are so many ways to pay it forward on your special day.
Gifts of Time and Money
DONATE YOUR REGISTRY
Let guests donate in your name by using a site like zankyou.com or zola .com, which can set up a “charity registry.” Or include items on your list from companies like Chantal, which gives a portion of profits from its Memory Collection to Alzheimer’s research.
DO SOMEONE A FAVOR
Take the portion of your budget that you had set aside for favors, and instead invest it in helping people in need. Organizations like idofoundation.org will not only help you coordinate, they’ll provide customized cards to let your guests know about the gift you’ve made in their honor.
Consider starting your new life together on a service-oriented trip with a group such as americanhiking.org, which organizes volunteer vacations focused on protecting foot trails and public lands.
MAKE YOUR LOCATION COUNT
When you choose a nonprofit’s space—such as a wildlife preserve, botanical garden, or historical site— as a venue, the fee you pay will go toward funding the group’s work. So while you are celebrating and dancing in a lovely place, you know your big day will also help, say, to beautify public spaces or encourage educational programs.
GIFT FROM THE GIVERS
Presents for your bridal party or parents can do double duty when you shop from charitable organizations—think FEED bags, which fight hunger, or comfy TOMS shoes for your bridesmaids (the company contributes to various causes).
SHOWER THE LOVE
Gather all your girls together with a worthy goal—it can make the celebration that much more meaningful. You could ask everyone to bring canned goods for a food pantry, or make a plan to volunteer together at a local shelter or retirement home to spread the good feelings.
DELIVER YOUR FLOWERS
The blooms you chose will remain beautiful for several more days. Contact a local nursing home or hospital and have your arrangements sent to them postwedding.
BEQUEATH YOUR DRESS
After the day, you can donate your dress to a charity that exists solely to make the dreams of women across the country come true (bridesacrossamerica.com is one; it helps military brides). Donatemyweddingdress.org can also help connect you with a charity. And ask your bridesmaids to do the same with their gowns!
SHARE YOUR EXTRA FOOD
There are always plenty of leftovers in the catering kitchen after the reception has ended. Check with a local food pantry to see if it can help you arrange to send your delicious surplus to hungry people in your area.