Have you been asking yourself if wedding favors are even worth it? After all, think of all the times you’ve tossed aside the koozies, bottle openers, packet of Jordan almonds or plastic sunglasses in the past… As all the wedding expenses add up, it’s easy to understand why couples today feel less inclined to indulge in tchotchkes that will largely go unappreciated on the day. Even so, there’s been a movement in recent years towards a different approach to favors rather than an elimination of the age-old tradition altogether. And that my friend, is charitable donations in lieu of wedding favors. It’s easy to see why an idea like this is on the up + up! There’s something truly heartwarming about celebrating a cause you care about with a community you love, gathered together in the spirit of love, kindness, joy and new beginnings. Our hope is that after reading this post, you’ll be equipped with a clear, etiquette-approved roadmap for giving back as wedding favors so you can determine if it’s the right direction for you and your partner.
STEP 1 | CHOOSE A CAUSE AND ORGANIZATION YOU’RE BOTH PASSIONATE ABOUT
For some couples, choosing a specific cause for charitable donations in lieu of wedding favors is a no-brainer. For others, it may take a little Google research and mindfulness of causes that are close to your heart because they’re local to your community, they’ve affected you or someone you love, etc. Chat openly together about what causes are most important to you, and do lots of digging to make sure the philanthropic organizations you choose are registered charities or non-profit organizations. It’s always a good idea to explore how much of your donation will go towards research, marketing, fundraising and administration too, and this is a great tool to begin that discovery in case you need a place to start! Also – never feel like you have to marry just one cause. If you’re having a hard time choosing one, split the donation sum amongst 2-3 different philanthropies though we’d recommend avoiding controversial platforms (pretty much anything political) altogether. Not everyone will share your views, and the goal of this is, of course, not to add fuel to anyone’s flames.
STEP 2 | DETERMINE THE AMOUNT OF THE DONATION
Generally speaking, most couples will spend about $2-3 per guest for wedding favors. This is totally up to your discretion, of course, so speak openly together about what sum feels right for you.
STEP 3 | SKIP YOUR GUESTS’ NAMES ON THE ACTUAL DONATION
Initially, the idea of charitable donations in lieu of wedding favors might spark an image of honoring your guests by using their names on the donations, but be advised that this is probably not the bets direction to take. That’s because providing their information without their consent could not only put their identity at risk, it could also mean they receive unsolicited communications from that charity in the future for additional donations. Instead, you could donate “in honor of your wedding guests” without going into specifics.
STEP 4 | KEEP YOUR GUESTS IN THE LOOP
If you’re wondering how to alert your guests that you’ll be giving back in lieu of wedding favors, you’re not alone. It may be tempting to share a heads up on the wedding invitations, but etiquette implores you to save this information for either your day of programs, wedding website or both. A bonus of taking that direction is that you have even more room to share a story about why that specific charity is close to your heart, what that donation supports and how it will actively make a difference.
STEP 5 | REMEMBER, NO ONE ELSE’S OPINION MATTERS!
Most of your guests will sing praises for the idea of charitable donations as wedding favors, but you may come head to head with a few from older generations who don’t understand it since it does question “tradition.” At the end of the day, no one else’s opinion matters but your own, and if it makes your soul smile to spread loving-kindness to those most in need during such a joyous new chapter of your own life, then we say go all in!
So what do you think? Are you all aboard the charitable donation wedding favors train? We’d love to hear which causes are nearest and dearest to your heart in the comments below, and if you’re looking to explore various philanthropies further, free digital sources like Givewell and Charity Navigator are great jumping off points. As for us, we’re very passionate about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, CARE and LOVE146 to name a few.
Explore our best tips on how to experience your wedding to the fullest HERE next.
‘Til we meet again!