The biggest gift you could ever get? Finding your soulmate. Now that wedding bells are ringing, consider spreading the love by giving back. Whether you have a passion for particular charities or volunteering makes your heart smile, here are ways to pay it forward and make your big day even more meaningful.
Instead of favors, do a favor.
Give your guests feel-good vibes as they sit down for the evening. Instead of a traditional wedding favor, put a card at each table setting that indicates that their wedding favor will be a donation to a dear cause. Encourage them to tag any photos of the wedding that they put on social media with a feel-good hashtag: #smithsforcancerresearch for example.
Donate your dress and flowers.
Pass the warmth of your special moment along to somebody that needs it most. For wedding dress donations, try the Angel Gown Program, which turns wedding dresses into infant gowns for newborns that have passed away in the NICU. Or, Brides Across America, which provides gowns to military and first responder brides that are suffering financial hardship. For your flowers, ask a local nursing home and add some color to their residents’ days. You can also check out Random Acts of Flowers, which operates several locations across the country and facilitates flower donation to individuals in healthcare facilities.
Skip the presents. Request donations.
If your life is already filled with “things,” transfer the wealth to someone that needs it. Tell your guests that in lieu of gifts you’d like them to donate to a charity of your choice. There are several charitable registries out there that make it easy for your guests to donate on your behalf with just a click. Try Just Give, through which you can elect to donate to one of several causes: children, youth, and families; community development; education; environment; health; and social justice. There’s also the So Kind Registry, which is a little broader, facilitating charity gifts along with secondhand goods, experiences and handmade items.
Send meal leftovers to a homeless shelter.
Next to saying “I do,” this could be the easiest thing you do all night.
Spend some of your honeymoon volunteering.
Do some volun-tourism. Whether close to home or far away, your honeymoon can give all new meaning to the phrase “quality time.” Check out Honeymoon Volunteers for ideas; the company organizes volunteer opportunities that balance bonding time as a couple and philanthropy out in the field.
Do good with thank-yous.
You can keep giving back even weeks after the celebration has ended. Order thank-you cards through Cards for Causes, which donates 20% of the revenue from your order to the charity of your choice.
Another thoughtful way to celebrate your big day is to host your wedding at a socially conscious venue, like The Kimpton Marlowe Hotel in Cambridge. Through their Give Love & Give Back program, 10% of your wedding bill is donated on your behalf to one of several local non-profits, or a charity of your choice. Some of Marlowe’s favorite causes include Cradles to Crayons, the Greater Boston Food Bank, and the second oldest animal protection humane society in the country, MSPCA-Angell.
Weddings have always been magical events for the couple and their loved ones but, today, there are so many ways to ensure that saying “I Do” also has a lasting and meaningful impact on the community around you. Including a charitable component to your event will truly give new meaning to the phrase “Big Day.”