Your wedding day may be the most important day of your life. It’s the time for you and your future spouse to express your relationship and values with loved ones. You can start your marriage off on a generous note by incorporating ways to donate your money, time, and energy. What’s a better way to start your new lives together as newlyweds than to give to those in need? With your families gathered together, it’s the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about causes that are important to both of you.
Feel Good Flowers
Once your wedding flowers have served their purpose, give them to a nearby nursing home or hospital. If you choose to preserve your bouquet, floral centerpieces are perfect to donate. Your flowers will make someone’s day better. Ask a person in your wedding party or your florist to drop off the flowers the day after your wedding.
Give Back with Wedding Favors
Wedding favors that give back are becoming more common. If cookies are your thing, Feed Your Soul will donate a cookie to someone in need for every dozen bought. If you want your guests to be minty-fresh, give out Wedding Cake gum from Project 7 instead of mints. The proceeds will help people displaced by natural disasters. If being green is important, consider plantable wedding favors like seeds or succulents.
Host a Can Drive
You can ask your guests to bring one nonperishable can and drop it off in a donation bin. People may forget to bring a can, but every can collected counts. Don’t forget to appoint several people to be in charge of taking the cans to a local shelter or food bank.
Host a Pet Adoption Drive
Make your wedding even more memorable with a pet adoption drive. If you choose to host an adoption drive, don’t forget to warn your guests in case they have pet allergies. Make sure your venue allows animals on the premises first before planning the drive. Then, ask your animal shelter if they have an adoption van to bring their animals in. The adoption van can come during cocktail hour after the wedding ceremony is over. Guests can also adopt and pick up their pet on a different day. The bridal party can take advantage of the occupied guests to snap a few extra photos!
Use Eco-Friendly Dinnerware
Opt for recyclable dinnerware and set up signs and recycle bins around the reception area. If you can’t get access to recycle bins, look for biodegradable dinnerware. While the biodegradable route is better than disposable plastics, nothing will beat renting dinnerware to reduce your carbon footprint. Check with your caterer to see if they have rentable dinnerware. This is a great way to avoid worrying about washing the plates.
Go on Volunteer Outings
This may be harder if your wedding party is spread across the country, but volunteering with your bridesmaids and groomsmen is great to give back and spend quality time together. You and your future spouse can also make a date out of it. Animal rescues, food banks, homeless shelters, and retirement homes are always in need of helping hands. Other places you can donate your time are at national parks, libraries, art museums, or the YMCA.
Create a Charity Registry
If you’re struggling to find things to add to your wedding registry (or if you already have it all), create a charity registry in lieu of a wedding gift registry. Choose a cause that’s meaningful to you and your partner. The Good Beginning is an online registry where you can research local, national, and international charities. You can choose up to five charities for your registry and embed a link on your wedding website.
Wed at a Nonprofit Location
If you’re already planning to spend a chunk of money on a wedding venue, why not have it at a nonprofit location? Your money will be helping a good cause. Having your wedding at a nonprofit location will also spread the word to your guests about their mission. You can provide a space or box for guests to drop in donation money.
Go Online Shopping
Online shoppers, rejoice! You can online shop and donate at the same time. AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your total purchase of eligible products to a charity you choose. The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card has charitable donations built-in and earns you 2 points per dollar.
Feed the Hungry
You can donate your leftovers to local homeless shelters or soup kitchens to feed the hungry. They will appreciate it, and you don’t have to feel bad about wasting perfectly good food. Talk to your caterer about your plans so they can help you package the leftovers up.
Bring on the Booze
Paying for alcohol? Check out companies that donate money for every bottle of wine you purchase. For example, ONEHOPE Wine donates part of its profits to charities. You can choose who or what to support (children, women, veterans, health, the environment, or animals) with the specific wine chosen.
Pass on Your Dress
Consider passing on your wedding dress if you don’t plan on keeping it. There are plenty of organizations that will make donating your beautiful dress worthwhile. Adorned in Grace sells dresses and donates all proceeds to support the victims of human trafficking. Wish Upon a Wedding helps couples facing life-changing situations or terminal illness get married or renew their vows. Michelle Obama and Jill Biden’s organization, Brides Across America, gifts donated dresses to military brides and first responders.
Hire Ethically Responsible Vendors
The wedding market is saturated with vendors. You can narrow down the list by hiring vendors practicing environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Find a caterer who grows their own produce or buys them from local farmers. You’ll not only help out local businesses, but you may also be able to save costs on getting ingredients that are in season.
It’s tradition to send paper invites to inform your guest of your upcoming nuptials. However, if the majority of your guests are aware of your wedding details, skip the paper invite altogether. You can send out electronic invitations and save the trees. Or, if your guests are on Facebook, a Facebook invite works, too.
Have a Humanitarian Honeymoon
You can begin married life together by generously giving your time to a good cause. Volunteering on your honeymoon is a great way to travel and make a difference at the same time. Contact nonprofit organizations that specialize in volunteering in other countries you’re visiting. You can bring things like school supplies and clothing to donate to the local schools when you arrive at your destination.