Creating a Wedding that Gives Back

I’m always thinking about different ways a wedding can be not only unique but more meaningful. On a day and a time in your life when you are focused on yourself and your future, it’s not a bad idea to stop and think of others not as fortunate.

Charitable weddings have been around for a while now, and there are many new ways to include charitable contributions to honor your love, your values and your big day. I love this idea! Not every couple wants gifts for their wedding. Some people have plenty of ‘stuff,’ and sometimes couples choose instead to honor their passions, interests and causes by including them in the wedding plans.

Let’s look at it this way – there are three opportunities to include a favorite charity or cause in your wedding planning. Before the wedding, during the wedding and after the wedding.


Puppies!!! (Photo: Caroline Logan)


There are many reputable organizations and websites that do the work for you, or you may prefer to choose your own charity, which is great when going more ‘local.’ Either way, let your guests know you’d like them to support your cause. You may want to set up a page such as Go Fund Me, this will show how much you have raised from your wedding – and your guests have the satisfaction of seeing the cumulative results of all their efforts. Another simple method is to request gift cards for wedding gifts, making clear your intention to donate them to a group.

Or you can have guests choose from a few different causes, working with a known entity that does this for you, such as the I Do Foundation. The top five charities designated by couples on this particular wedding registry are Doctors Without Borders, American Cancer Society, Heifer International, Habitat for Humanity, and Save the Children.

Include charity funding in your registry with a site like Zankyou, which transfers donations in your name to the NGO of your choice. Something like Wish Upon A Wedding is also appealing – this group provides weddings and vow renewals for couples facing serious illness or a life-altering circumstances.

I cannot emphasis enough that you want to be sure to include this in your invitation or your wedding website, it’s difficult to change old habits, so make it extremely clear.

Let your guests know!


Just give money yourself in honor of your big day. Then, for your reception – instead of favors, give wrist-bands, pins or any simple keepsake, that shows your support for the specific cause. DIY it by creating a note to place on each table setting explaining that you are donating to your favorite cause, and why you are doing this in lieu of a favor or small gift.

You can even create a theme that coordinates to your favorite cause – for example, if animal rescue is your passion, have a rescue group designated for each table, complete with photos and how to contact them.

I recently came across an awesome idea – a wedding photo shoot that featured rescue puppies to bring attention to the couple’s passion.

Angel Gowns - by Michelle


A group called Love What Matters (a podcast and platform that features stories about the inspiring things that are happening every day) led me to Gowns By Michelle. Michele is the actual person who makes tiny clothing she donates to families who have suffered the devastating loss of an infant. She started with the fabric from her own wedding gown, and it has grown from there. Donate to her or do something similar yourself.

Other post-wedding ways to do good are to send your flowers to a local hospital or nursing home. Donate left over food and goodies to local foodbanks or shelters. As always – please check in advance – don’t assume.

These are just a few ideas to infuse an entire new level of meaning into a wedding. Clearly this isn’t for everyone, but it could be perfect for you.


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