If you're wondering how to incorporate charitable donations into your wedding, check out this post! Consider suggested charities, charitable wedding ideas, and tips on how to inform your guests!
Now more than ever, couples are making more socially and environmentally conscious choices with their wedding plans. We’ve noticed a growing trend among couples who want to give back to their community or a cause that’s close to them in honor of their wedding. But, deciding which charity will receive your donations, whether physical or monetary, and how to present it to your guests tends to give everyone pause. So, we thought we would make the process of giving back on your wedding day even easier! Below, we walk through the three core things you need to know about charitable wedding donations so you can take action.
1. Do your research
Just like every other element of your wedding day, the very first thing you should do is research. When considering charities to support, look inward. You and your love likely have causes that are important to you, whether they’re related to current movements, health, wellbeing, or even a passion. Spend time looking into each one.
When you do find a charity that peaks your interest, think about looking into them further on Charity Watch. On the site, you will find detailed statistics and information about how each charity uses the funding they receive. This information may be very helpful if you’re torn between a few potential options!
Suggested Charities to Consider
If you want to be philanthropic with your wedding plans, you'll want to start by selecting a charity to benefit. In light of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement, we thought we would highlight a few charities providing relief, assistance, and education:
- Frontline Foods: We love healthcare workers, and so does Frontline Foods! Between their team of volunteers and restaurants local to the cities where they serve, they are donating restaurant meals to the heroes treating patients on the frontlines.
- World Central Kitchen: Where there’s a need, you will find Chef Jose Andres serving meals through World Central Kitchen! Chef Andres and his team have been on the ground providing meals throughout the pandemic, and they will continue to do so. Their passion makes their efforts an easy one to support!
- Feeding America: Families should never face hunger, and Feeding America is working to eradicate it. They provide food to families throughout the country. Donations of any size help to provide complete meals for those in need.
- Local Hospitals: Whether they’re accepting monetary donations or donations of supplies, check to see what your local hospital may be requesting. Most have information front and center on their website!
Charities that Support BIPOC
- Black Girl Ventures: As a woman-founded company, we love supporting other female entrepreneurs! The Black Girl Ventures organization works to “provide Black/Brown woman-identifying founders with access to community, education, and leadership development in order to meet business milestones that lead to economic advancement through entrepreneurship.”
- Black and Brown Founders: If you’re interested in tech, check out Black and Brown Founders! This organization supports black and Latinx entrepreneurs creating businesses within the tech industry.
- The Conscious Kid: A perfect choice for teachers and those passionate about education. The Conscious Kid is working to supply schools across the country with children’s books promoting diversity to add to their libraries.
- Color of Change: Per their website, Color of Change is “the nation’s largest racial injustice organization.” Their goal is to empower black communities throughout the country.
Physical Wedding Donation Ideas
If you would prefer to make a physical donation, consider donating your dress, flowers, or leftover food. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
- Your Dress: If you are not planning to hold onto your wedding dress, consider donating it to an organization, like Brides Across America or Brides Against Breast Cancer. Brides Across America supports essential workers and military personnel who are celebrating their wedding days, and Brides Against Breast Cancer resells dresses to raise money to provide early detection support for breast cancer.
- Flowers: When your wedding day comes to a close, what will you do with your flowers? Rather than throwing them away, think about repurposing them into mini arrangements for nursing homes and hospitals (if you would like to take on a DIY yourself!). Otherwise, look into local groups who will do this on your behalf for a small fee. Forget Me Knot Flowers is one such group that does this for event flowers in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas.
- Food: Check with your catering company to see if they will allow you to donate leftover food from your wedding to a local shelter or food related organization. Please note: Many organizations are (rightfully so!) particular about how leftover food is packaged when it is dropped off to them. The key is to talk with your caterer about your desire to donate and formulate a plan together that will meet everyone’s needs.
2. Share your charity choice:
Once you have completed your research, it’s time to reveal your charity! The ultimate goal is to feel excited about the support your wedding donations will offer to the charity of your choice. If you still feel uncertain, dive back into your research. Otherwise, start making a plan to introduce your charity to your guests.
Inform your guests of your charitable wedding plans. Provide your guests with a statement about the charity and why you and your partner are passionate about supporting them. Your excitement will help to educate guests and draw them into supporting them, too.
If you would like your guests to donate directly to the charity of your choice, make it known! Easy ways to inform your guests include an insert inside your wedding invitations and/or including the info on your wedding website. If you so choose, you can turn to a site like Honeyfund to collect donations from your guests. Then post-wedding, you can submit one large donation to your chosen charity.
Another option is to ask guests to check off “in honor of” when they’re completing an online form. Either is perfectly acceptable, but don’t be surprised if some guests opt to donate and give you a wedding gift. Some people still do like to honor the couple with a tangible item, and that’s okay!
Asking for donations in lieu of gifts vs donating in lieu of favors
Another option is to donate to the charity of your choice in lieu of giving your guests wedding favors. We love this option, especially because guests are prone to leaving their wedding favor at the wedding. Choosing to donate instead of offering a tangible favor cuts down on potential waste. There is no need to spend any time wondering if your gift will be enjoyed by your guests or end up in the trash. The charity you donate to will be 100% appreciative!
As we mentioned earlier, you can also skip monetary donations and opt for a physical donation of your dress, flowers, or food instead. If you are planning to do this, you should still consider filling guests in. These details are an extra way for them to feel as though they’re fully experiencing your wedding day, and they might even provide another soon-to-marry couple with ideas for their own celebration.
If you choose to ask guests for donations instead of gifts, make sure it’s known in advance. On the flip side, if you opt to donate in lieu of favors, you can notify your guests with a sign on your welcome table. There’s no need to make guests aware of this in advance. You can simply announce your chosen charity and display it somewhere at your reception.
3. Finalize your donation
Your final step is your most exciting step – make your tax-deductible donation!
If you’re donating to a smaller non-profit or charity or food-based organization, it might be helpful to contact them directly to establish a relationship with an employee from the organization to guide you while you’re submitting. Otherwise, you can transfer the funds from your bank or account directly to the charity. Make sure to note that everything you’re donating is in honor of your wedding!
Note: A key reason to either ask for donations to be sent to you or to donate on behalf of your guests instead of offering favors is to protect their identity. Many people don’t love sharing their contact information. Many non-profit organizations continue to ask for further donations on an ongoing basis. Of course, most donation portals have an option for the user to opt-out of future mailings if they do not wish to be contacted in the future.
Before we end this post, we did want to highlight receiving (or not receiving) support from your guests when choosing to donate funds from your wedding to a particular charity. Donating is a personal choice. The most important thing you can do is choose a charity you are passionate about and represents your values. Knowing you’re happy to offer your support to your chosen organization will allow your passion to shine through. This may be important to lean into if any of your guests don’t support your choice. The key thing to note is this, like nearly every other wedding decision you make, is up to you! Do what feels right to you and your love – always.
Other Charitable Wedding Ideas
There are other ways to be charitable with your wedding plans beyond just making direct physical or monetary donations. Consider being conscious with your other wedding choices and shop with retailers who also have social good baked into their business models.
Doing good with your wedding decisions can look as simple as choosing to support Black-Owned Wedding Businesses, hiring vendors from marginalized communities, or buying goods from companies with a social mission.
We hope these charitable wedding ideas prove helpful to you in your planning. Are you planning to donate to charity in honor of your wedding? What steps have you taken so far?
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Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.