It’s that time of year again: Prime wedding season! Whether you’re getting married yourself or simply watching the invitations roll in (or watching the Royal Wedding on TV last month), flowing white dresses and big floral bouquets are on everyone’s minds.
However, it’s hard to escape the idea of huge financial costs for ceremonies, and wondering what you can do to help those who are less fortunate. The good news is that there are a number of ways you can incorporate charity into a wedding, whether by gathering donations or being conscientious of what you do with supplies after the ceremony’s done.
Here are a few ideas to help make your wedding a little more charity-minded, so you’re doing a bit of good while celebrating happy matrimony:
Looking to add to your wedding wardrobe while also helping out a good cause? TOMS has you covered with their wedding collection – a wide selection of men’s, women’s, and children’s shoes, as well as nifty sunglasses for those outdoor ceremonies!
If you cringe at spending so much money on a wedding dress, you may want to consider buying a secondhand dress with profits going to charity. Brides do Good sells (and buys) gently used wedding dresses and sample dresses with proceeds going towards their charity partners’ programmes in Nigeria and Ethiopia to stop child marriages in those countries. The Brides’ Project also buys and sells wedding dresses to benefit cancer charities, and they have raised over $930,000 so far.
Choose a registry that allows donations
For the brides and grooms that have everything, it can be difficult to figure out what to put on a wedding registry. That’s why including the option for your guests to donate to charities and nonprofits is a great choice!
Check out a registry like SoKind – it includes plenty of gift-giving choices with charitable angles, including the ability for people to donate time and talents to organizations that need volunteers. Perfect for wedding guests who want to give back but might not have the money to purchase a new dining set.
For another option, if you host your gift registry at The Knot, they’ll allow you to pick a nonprofit, and when people purchase gifts off your registry, 50 cents from that purchase will be donated towards your chosen nonprofit. Quick and easy!
Donate after the wedding
So the wedding’s over, and you’ve got a ton of leftovers – food, flowers, you name it. The clear solution is to donate whatever’s still good and whatever you don’t need. Donating extra food or flowers is a no-brainer – unspoiled food can go to local homeless shelters (be sure to arrange this with your caterer beforehand, if you have one), and still-beautiful flowers can be sent to hospitals, funeral homes, or senior living facilities.
For other waste-not-want-not ideas, Offbeat Bride suggests donating all the dinnerware you’ve bought, or else taking a cue from Shannon and Brad and asking for favorite dinnerware as wedding gifts – then donating a large portion of it to a local charity.
Donating your wedding dress is also hugely popular, and for good reasons – for one, a wedding dress can typically be out of budget for a bride, and for two, hopefully you won’t be wearing it more than once! Charities like Wish Upon a Wedding collects gently used wedding garb for terminally ill brides and grooms, no matter their sexual orientation.
Weddings are a great reason for a celebration – but ensuring that you’re helping others at the same time makes for a doubly amazing occasion. Let us know on Twitter if you have any other ideas or suggestions for a charitable wedding this summer!