November 11 • 2010
If the idea of presenting a sachet of Jordan almonds or gold picture frames to your wedding guests seems like anything but doing them a “favor,” you’re not alone. Plenty of couples these days are forgoing traditional wedding favors and instead choosing creative gifts that express their personalities as well as their appreciation. For many hubbies and wives to-be, that means skipping material goods entirely and donating to a charitable cause.
The trend has become so popular, in fact, that charities including The Jimmy Fund and the American Diabetes Association supply pre-printed table cards that announce and explain the donation to your guests. The process of giving to a whole host of charities just got even easier for engaged couples with the recent “marriage” of two philanthropic organizations, the I Do Foundation and JustGive.org. The I Do Foundation’s mission is to help couples give to charity through their gift registries, invitations, honeymoons and more. And now the foundation’s got Just Give’s database of more than one million charities and philanthropic expertise to boot.
No matter which cause you choose, from disease research to environmental awareness to feeding the hungry, if it’s new to you, check out the Charity Navigator. The site assesses the financial health of thousands of charities to let you know which ones will put your money to its best use.
If you’ve chosen a smaller, local charity, call them up ahead of time to explain what you’re planning. Then talk to your stationer about printing up donation announcements that coordinate with the rest of your wedding stationery. The cards should thank your guests for attending and include phrasing along the lines of “In lieu of favors, a donation has been made in your name to…” You can also add wording to explain why you chose the charity, such as “In honor of the bride’s mother” or “in memory of” a loved one. Leave a small card on the table for each guest and also make an announcement during toast time at the reception, if you like.
As for budgeting, some experts recommend spending $2 to $5 per guest, but you can always just figure the amount you would have otherwise spent on tiny chocolates or scented candles and donate that amount. After all, you won’t be doing anyone any favors if you blow your budget.