GIV­ING BACK

Martha Stewart Weddings - - FROM DARCY - Darcy Miller

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.

HON­EY­MOON HELPFULLY

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.

Day-of Do­na­tions

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.

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