Getting married is such an exciting time! You plan your day for your personalities and favorite colors, but what about incorporating your lifestyles into the big day? From green weddings and how to have a wedding that gives back, take a peek at these ideas on how to have a charitable wedding.
This charity wedding post is by Alicia McDonald, is an updated republish, & contains affiliate links.
How to Have a Charitable Wedding
Consider using your wedding to benefit charity.
When I began planning my wedding, I ran into two major hurdles that transformed the way I thought about the whole process. The first dilemma: cost. Establishing a wedding budget can be a concern for many couples.
What you might not know is that in Virginia, the average cost of a wedding hovers around $28,000 (even higher in major urban areas) with no major decline whatsoever. Virginia weddings fall just a bit lower than the national average wedding cost of $30k.
It turns out when it comes to wedding budgets, people are still spending big Benjamins. According to the Department of Labor, a family of four will spend about $5,800 on groceries per year. So essentially the average wedding cost could feed a family of four for about four years!
Encourage others to be charitable.
Giving is contagious and inevitably you will make a greater impact if you can involve more people. While not everyone could structure their wedding as we did, there are several great options that make it possible for every couple to incorporate a little charity into their big day.
Think about your wedding budget.
The thought of a wedding budget extending for four years brings me to my second dilemma: all the money goes towards one day. You spend months planning, you lose sleep, you get majorly stressed, and you spend debt inducing money all for a few hours of partying to celebrate your union.
Somewhere along the way, a wedding went from being a day to start a new life together to a day to see who could throw the best party. This is not to say that I do not understand or appreciate the importance of a wedding and all the associated festivities. I just thought there had to be another way.
Use your wedding to help local charities.
My solution was to make the wedding about more than just us by giving back to people who really need it instead. To do this, we would give part of our budget to charity.
We would also raise money and awareness for various organizations and charities. This was an effort to get other couples to think about their weddings differently.
Sure we could have just not had a wedding at all and donated our entire budget to charity. However, a wedding is a great opportunity to expose all of your family and friends to your efforts and spread the good.
Consider charitable wedding ideas.
Screen your vendors to see if they volunteer or donate.
Check with your vendors and see if they support any charities or are active in the community. Essentially, by paying them you are helping give back to what they put their resources into.
Some vendors may even specifically designate a percentage of their sales to charity. If anything, you may inspire them to give back just by asking their views on charitable weddings.
Research the online companies you are using.
Companies like One Hope Wine automatically donate a portion of their sales to charity. You planned to buy wine anyway, why not support a company who supports others? Finding out a bit about the businesses you are supporting can go a long way!
Give your guests charitable wedding favors.
Truth bomb: 9 times out of 10, favors are junk that no one wants. You get them as part of obligation and – if people even remember to take them – they likely end up in a junk drawer somewhere.
Instead, you could tell guests that you made a donation to charity in their name. No one will miss the little box of candy, trust me. You could do something similar for your attendant’s gifts.
You could also purchase charitable wedding favors and gifts that support a cause, like from Ten Thousand Villages, which is a shop with handmade gifts from all over the world. Both the production of the products and the sale helps bring employment and dignity to developing countries.
Choose charitable wedding dresses and attire.
Some organizations offer charity wedding dresses where people donate their gowns. Then they are cleaned and sold. Brides get a major discount on a barely used dress, and all the proceeds go to fund charities. In addition, many Etsy shops that sell jewelry and accessories donate portions of their sales to charity.
Locally, Church Street Bridal receives donated gowns and sells them to brides at a fabulous price. Not only are they perfect for the bride on a budget, but the proceeds go to help the various programs of the YWCA. This including helping victims of domestic violence.
Think about a charitable wedding registry.
There are two great options here. Either ask for charitable donations as wedding gifts or offer it as an option. You can pick a local or national organization that you support.
Guests can either bring items – think food and toys for a local animal shelter – or donate monetarily. This is especially great if you are combining homes and aren’t in need of much for your wedding day. Allowing guests to give charitable donations as wedding gifts is a teachable moment for all.
Donate leftover wedding goods.
Many places accept donations of leftover food and flowers. Call hospitals and nursing homes and offer to drop off arrangements to their patients. They would be delighted to receive them, and the flowers will get an extended life. This is one of my favorite charitable wedding ideas!
Cut back when you can in your wedding budget.
Downgrade your flowers, make a few things yourself, eliminate that extra dessert. In the end, no one will notice, including you. Little efforts to cut back can make a big impact on a non-profit organization.
Make an effort to cut your budget by just 5% and donate that to your favorite charity. People will be much more impressed by your thoughtfulness than by the personalized wine glasses you had to have.
In addition, it can be a tax write-off which might mean a lot to your parents who are footing the bill! Knowing how to have a charitable wedding can help organizations while being easier on the overall budget.
Use charitable ideas for weddings.
The best part of all this is that your wedding will continue to make an impact on the lives of others long after the day is over. In addition, you will feel really good about it instead of having buyer’s remorse once the credit card bill rolls in.
Just a slight change in perspective can change lives and make your wedding day even more special. Promise! It’s something you and your guests will remember long after the big day.
Have ideas on how to have a charitable wedding?
I would love to know if you have any additional ideas or know of any worthy charities. Knowledge is power, and if we can do good by helping charitable organizations, I am all for it!
photos by Daria Shevtsova