On a day when couples are showered with love and gifts from friends and family, many couples like to give back to their guests in the form of wedding favors. Instead of giving guests standard trinkets, such as candies, candles or pictures frames, some couples choose to make charitable donations in the names of their guests.
Online sources make it easy for brides and grooms to make charitable donations in lieu of wedding favors. Pick from a website that is set up specifically for wedding donations or go through a specific charity you want to honor.
Wedding Charity Websites
Both the I Do Foundation and TisBest make charitable giving easy for couples planning a wedding.
I Do Foundation
The I Do Foundation allows couples to create a registry so that guests can give to the bride and groom's favorite charity or charities. Couples can choose to donate money in the name of each of their wedding guests as well. The site allows you to choose from a list of hundreds of charities.
You can make a donation in the name of your wedding guests and order tent cards to display at your wedding reception. The tent cards announce to guests that you and your spouse donated money to a specific charity instead of spending money on wedding favors. If you send the I Do Foundation your guest list, they'll send you a personalized PDF file you can use to print your own table announcement cards.
TisBest puts a twist on giving to charities as wedding favors. Instead of the bride and groom choosing the charity donate to, the bride and groom give each wedding guests a TisBest gift card. The couple can order cards with a wedding theme and personalize it with their names and wedding date so that it has a favor-like theme to it.
Guests can then use their TisBest card to give to a charity of their choice. Guests can log on to the TisBest website to choose from a list of charities. Some weddings guests say they don't like charitable donations in their name because they don't like the charities the couple chooses. Using a TisBest gift card for each guest alleviates this problem because guests can choose a charity in line with their own beliefs and causes.
Many organizations offer charitable programs that work for wedding favor donations. Just a few to consider include:
Make a Wish
The Make a Wish foundation helps to make dreams come true for children that are dying from illness or disease. This organization also makes it easy for brides and grooms to turn charitable donations into wedding favors. Couples can donate money in the name of each of their wedding guests. Through the Make a Wish website, the couple can print a donation card that includes the name of the wedding guest, the amount of the donation and can include a wedding theme. The card is printable so it can be displayed at the place setting of each guest.
American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society also makes it simple for couples to make donations on behalf of their wedding guests. You can make a lump-sum donation. The American Cancer Society offers favor announcements as a way to let guests know about your donations. If you choose a bookmark or scroll announcement, you're combining the best of both worlds - guests can leave with a trinket from the wedding and the American Cancer Society receives a donation in honor of the wedding guests.
The Gift of Love
The Gift of Love allows couples to donate money to animals in city shelters that are in danger of euthanasia. For each donation the couple gives in honor of one of their guests, the organization issues a wedding favor card with the picture of the animal that the donation is saving. The donation goes to The Rescue Train organization. The Gift of Love allows couples to choose whether they wish to save dogs, cats, or both, and also provides color or black and white options for the donation cards.
How to Choose a Charity
Couples tend to choose a charity that does work for a cause they hold dear to their own hearts, whether it is a local charity or a larger regional or national charity.
Charities chosen might be for reasons like these:
- The favorite charity of a loved one, such as a mother or grandmother
- A charity focusing on an illness or disease that took the life of a loved one
- To honor your community or heritage
Couples can even choose two charities, one for each of them. For example, if the bride's mother passed away of heart disease, she might choose to make donations to the American Heart Association in memoriam of her mother. A groom who is from Haiti, on the other hand, can choose to donate to Haiti's Child, an organization to help poor Haitian children.
Research Charities First
The number of charitable organizations can be dizzying. Charity.com can make your head stop spinning by helping you to choose a specific charity by category. The site lists charities according to their category, such as animals, energy conservation, or medical services. Once you choose the category, you can see a list of organizations that work toward the cause of your choice. The site provides the name of the organization, a brief description of what the organization does, contact information and even includes the organization's website so you can visit it for more information or to make your donation.
Couples can choose numerous ways to announce to wedding guests that they have made a charitable donation in their name. Some options include:
- Place cards at individual place settings
- Table signs
- A mention on the menus
- Mentioning it in the wedding program
- Attaching a tag with ribbon to utensils
Use one of these verses if you want to create your own announcement or if the charity didn't provide cards for you. These also work well if you pick a local charity.
In lieu of a favor, a donation to
<Name of Charity>
has been given in your name.
Thank you for being part of our lives and joining us on our wedding day.
On this special occasion,
a generous donation has been made to
<Name of Charity>
in your honor.
Thank you for being a part of our lives and joining us on our special day.
<Name of Bride and Groom>
We have chosen a special way to say
"Thank You" for sharing our wedding day with us.
In lieu of traditional wedding favors,
we have made a donation in your honor to the
<information about the charity>.
We truly appreciate your presence on this special occasion as we begin our lives together.
Why Couples Choose Charitable Donation Favors
Couples can choose charity donations as wedding favors for a couple of different reasons. Some believe it is better for the environment because the favor doesn't end up in the landfill when the wedding is over, not to mention the use of resources to make and deliver the favors in the first place. Other couples have a cause they believe in so this is their way of supporting the cause. In some cases, charitable donations can cost less than purchasing and assembling wedding favors.
Give Rather Than Receive
Some couples and some wedding guests prefer a charity receive a donation instead of wedding favors. It creates a win-win situation where an organization receives the money it needs for a cause and mementos do not end up in the trash when the wedding is over.