If you’re getting married soon and want your wedding to be more than just another expensive party, get on board the charitable wedding bandwagon. According to CNN, more than 650,000 couples have participated in charitable wedding programs since 2004, and over 60,000 couples have registered with the I Do Foundation, which connect couples with the charities that are most meaningful to them. Below are four exciting ways to make your wedding into the charitable event of the season, while making the kindness and support of your family, friends and guests the most meaningful.
1. Ditch the Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties for a Charitable Cause
Rather than spending a ton of money on entertainment, party favors, and gifts you may not need, invite your wedding party to participate in a charitable cause with you and your betrothed. Go together as a group to build a house with Habitat for Humanity, partner with a local low-income school to give their playground a makeover, or spend the day on a hike cleaning up the trails at a state park—the opportunities are endless! And you don’t even have to sacrifice the celebration—schedule a celebratory lunch or dinner afterwards to bask in the glow of a job well done.
2. Repurpose Your Flowers
Once the wedding is over, don’t let all those gorgeous flowers go to waste. Touch the lives of others in need by donating your used flowers to hospitals, nursing homes, or even funeral parlors. There are even organizations like Petals With Purpose that will take your flowers and send them wherever they’re needed the most. You can even consider dropping them off at a local church so that its congregation can enjoy them that same weekend!
3. Forget the Wedding Favors and Donate to a Charity Instead
Wedding favors are nice, but they’re also kind of frivolous. Many people may hold onto them as keepsakes in scrapbooks they rarely open, while others will just throw them away. Favors are intended to show appreciation for all guests in attendance, but consider using that money toward a donation to the wildlife conservation group in their name.
4. Donate the Dresses
Your and your bridesmaids will likely never wear your dresses from the big day again, so rather than preserving them tucking them into the deepest corner of your closets, consider donating them to a wedding party less fortunate. It’s just one more way to make joy and celebration of your day live on with others. There are multiple charities nationwide that accept donated wedding and bridesmaid dresses such as Brides Across America, which provides dresses to military brides who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them. The Glass Slipper Project takes used, gently-worn bridesmaid dresses and turns underprivileged girls into princesses for their high school proms.