Charitable weddings, celebrations where couples incorporate their socially conscious values into their wedding planning, has become a popular trend over the past few years.
Transform Wedding Favors Into Charitable Giving
This past weekend I served as the Master of Ceremonies and wedding DJ for a bride & groom who had their wedding ceremony and reception at Kansas City’s Union Station. Instead of investing in the less than memorable, cliché ridden or even “tossable” wedding favors, they used that portion of their wedding budget to do good things for others through donations to four different charities and in the name of their guests. They gave to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), St. Jude’s Children Hospital, the Noyes Home for Children and a local Kiwanis Club.
None of their 200 guests left disappointed because they weren’t provided a wedding favor. As a matter of fact, you could see a smile on each of their faces as I announced the charities the bride and groom had chosen.
According to a national poll taken of brides by The Knot, the average wedding cost of a wedding can reach a staggering $28,427. In the Midwest, that average is closer to $20,000 although many couples still spend far less. Regardless, wedding favors represent about 1-2% of the wedding budget or $200-$300. That figure may make some couples wonder if their donation would have any real impact. Actually, even the smallest donations can make a huge difference in the lives of others.
In a recent article USA Today projects that in 2014 there will be over 2.1 million weddings in the United States. If only half of those 2.1 million wedding couples were to donate their party favor budget, charitable organizations could receive over a quarter billion dollars in much-needed revenue.
CNN Living reports that a “growing number of couples are shifting the spotlight from their weddings to socially conscious causes. Donations in lieu of wedding favors are gaining popularity. More people are setting up charitable registries via the internet. After all, one Montana bride rationalized, what is the use of a wedding favor during hard economic times?”
Ask for Charitable Donations, Not Wedding Gifts
If you’ve already paid for your wedding expenses and aren’t relying on family gifts as a form of reimbursement, you may want to consider asking for donations to your favorite charities rather than gifts. “There are no hard rules set for donating to charities for weddings,” says Anja Winikka, senior editor at TheKnot.com in the CNN article, “but some wedding etiquette experts recommend couples avoid putting donation requests on the invitation. Usually, wedding websites or social media can efficiently and appropriately advocate a specific cause. Introducing the organization on a wedding program can also spread the word.”
The I Do Foundation, a nonprofit group that helps engaged couples set up charitable registries, reports that about 60,000 couples have established registries through its site. The agency offers more than 1.5 million nonprofit groups to choose from and the donations also are tax-deductible. From local community service organizations to world-wide groups like the Wildlife Conservation at AWF, it isn’t hard to find a charitable organization that speaks to your heart.
Here’s a short list of some of our favorite charities for your consideration:
Find a complete A to Z list of charitable organizations by visiting CharityWatch.org.
Donate Wedding Items You No Longer Need
Contact organizations that can benefit from your leftovers. While some food pantries may have specific packaging requirements, you might find churches who are less stringent. Nursing homes with the ability to accept your flowers will cheer up patient’s rooms. And, although your wedding dress will hold sentimental meaning and be hard to part with, consider donating it to a local church or charitable thrift shop.
Regardless of which charitable organization you choose or the manner in which you donate, you can enjoy the happiest of all wedding days knowing that the donations made by your family and friends has also brought happiness to others.
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