I’ve always thought the idea of giving a donation in lieu of a wedding favor seemed like a win-win situation. The couple doesn’t have to fret over what to give, and some worthy cause gets a nice donation that otherwise would have gone to buy truffles, scented candles or something else less meaningful/useful to wedding guests. But when I started asking around, I was surprised to find that donation wedding favors rub some people the wrong way!
The gripes generally fell into two categories; either the guest was offended by the choice of organization for political or social reasons, or the guest thinks charity is a private matter and that announcing the donation in lieu of a wedding favor is tacky. But with careful planning, I think there is a way to tastefully and tactfully structure these special wedding favors.
Your first step when planning to donate is choosing the charity. If you’ve lost loved ones to a particular disease or disorder, you may want to give donation wedding favors to an organization working to find a cure. Perhaps you’re a dog lover? Find an animal shelter in your area in need of donations. Crazy about kids? Your donation wedding favors could help fund a literacy program or send a child to summer camp.
While you want to choose a cause you’re passionate about supporting, keep in mind that not everyone shares your passions. So when giving a donation in lieu of a wedding favor, you may want to save the major political or social statements for another time.
Spread the Word
You certainly don’t have to tell your guests that you made a donation in lieu of a wedding favor, but for many couples this is an important opportunity to publicly memorialize a loved one, honor someone special or to celebrate something important.
A low key way to announce your donation wedding favors is to print favor tags or cards with a short message and leave them at each place setting. You might consider putting a note on the back of the menu or leaving a small edible treat with a tag attached explaining the donation in lieu of a wedding favor.
Some larger charitable organizations such as the American Cancer Society will even do the work for you by printing favor cards or tags announcing your donation. Often there is no minimum donation required for this service and the groups are experienced in helping craft tasteful ways to tell guests about this trendy, new idea in wedding favors that give back.
In Your Name?
Keep in mind that telling guests that you’ve made a donation in their name could ruffle some feathers if they don’t want to be associated with the group you’ve chosen. When planning your donation wedding favors making it “in honor” of a particular person or in celebration of a passion is a safe way to go. For example;
“Mother and Sister of the Bride, Mrs. Marilyn Kerr and Mrs. Susan Siebel, are dearly missed and forever in our hearts. In their honor, we’ve made a donation to FORCE, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and The American Cancer Society, in lieu of a traditional wedding favor.”
“In celebration of our love of all creatures great and small, a donation in lieu of a wedding favor has been made to the ASPCA. Thanks for sharing our day.”
Favors that Give
If you’re not completely sold on a donation in lieu of a wedding favor, consider buying a product that is tied to a charity. For example, when you purchase Plantable Pink Ribbon Favor cards, the Pink Ribbon Favor Boxes, Pink Ribbon votive candles or any selection of Breast Cancer favors a portion of the proceeds helps fund breast cancer research. Plus, your guests each get a cool paper card which they plant and grow a flower or tree so they are not only charitable, they’re green and Earth friendly too!
However you choose to present your donation in lieu of a wedding favor, the actual amount contributed should be kept private. Mentioning a dollar amount or directly collecting donations from your guests is considered an etiquette no-no.
In the end, will you ruffle any feathers with your donation wedding favors? Perhaps. But when the gift comes from the heart and is thoughtfully presented I think you have little to worry about. Enjoy your day, and enjoy the feeling of giving back.