Donations as Wedding Favors


The times, they are a-changin’. Bride and groom are not the needy little waiflings they once were. Instead, many are established in their careers. Many are homeowners. Sometimes, this is their second wedding. Bluntly put, many already own all the appliances, glassware and cutlery they can use. This sense of material plenty might be what’s driving the trend to contribute during a wedding, instead of merely consume.

Whatever the reasons, more and more bridal couples are donating to charity instead of handing out wedding favors. It’s become enough of a movement that some organizations, such the American Diabetes Assocation, will actually supply the table cards that explain the wedding donation to guests.

How to Choose Your Charity

Choosing your charity can be a bit daunting, unless events in your life make the choice clear (losing a loved one to a specific disease, for example). You may not be sure which charities will really make good use of your money. Or maybe you’ll worry whether your guests will miss the wedding favors, or approve of
your charity choice.

Don’t worry! You’ll find most if not all of your guests will support and admire your decision. But even if someone does mind, remember, this is your day. Your beliefs and concerns should drive it.

Remembering Dear Ones

If you’re thinking of a particular loved one when you selected the charity, be sure to refer to him or her in the placard.

In memory of …
Although we can’t see you,
We know you are here:
Smiling, watching over us
As we say “I do.”
Forever in our hearts,
Forever in our lives —
And so we say our vows
In loving memory of you.

You can describe the donation in a table card, a small scroll tied with a ribbon, or even a fortune cookie if your statement is brief. (Click here for “Sayings
for Wedding Favor Donations” for your cards or scrolls.) It isn’t necessary at all to describe how much you’ve donated to your guests; that’s a personal decision belonging to you and your fiancé.

A Few Ideas for Charitable Favors

A wonderful, timely idea for donation-in-lieu-of-favors are yellow wristbands from the Lance Armstrong Foundation. They’re $1 each — well within the range of most favor budgets — and will give your guests a tangible memento of a worthy, moving cause. If you like the idea but want another charity that might be even closer to home, you can order pink Carpe Diem (“seize the day”) wristbands for $5 each that support the Donna Hicken foundation for breast cancer research.

What Else You Can Do

You may be surprised to learn that donations at the wedding don’t start and end with the wedding favors. Older couples in particular are putting a new spin on registries by registering with ‘charity clearinghouses’ instead of, say, Crate & Barrel. If this idea appeals to you, check out JustGive.org, which makes the process easy.

That isn’t all you can do for others on your big day. Caterers can donate the leftover food to homeless shelters, you or your wedding party can drop off those flowers at hospitals or nursing homes, and bridesmaids can even donate their dresses for use by underprivileged teens on Prom night. These little-known options can make a big difference in someone else’s day.