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How to Let Guests Know You're Making a Charitable Donation in Lieu of Wedding Favors

Raising money for your favorite charity instead of sending guests home with a gift? Here's how to spread the word.

Contributing Writer
table and place settings
Photography by: Lexia Frank Photography

Find yourself coming up blank for a unique favor idea? As take-home gifts can be just about anything, it can be difficult to settle on a send-off that speaks to your relationship, budget, and taste. For some couples, favors might even feel a bit unnecessary or meaningless, considering most are edible or products guests will toss aside once they're home. That's where charitable donations come in. According to Leah Weinberg, owner and creative director of Color Pop Events, making a donation to your favorite charity in the name of your wedding guests is on the up-and-up. Instead of sending folks home with a jar of honey, a framed photo, or a bottle of craft beer, more couples are seeking to give back and spend their money in an impactful way.


"Many couples realize that weddings are a huge expense and want to have a component of that expense benefit other people. Making a charitable donation in lieu of sending guests home with a favor is a great way to accomplish that goal," she explains. But if you and your partner are considering forgoing take-home gifts in order to make a donation to your favorite charity, there are a few etiquette guidelines you should keep in mind.


Related: Charitable Wedding Gifts


Donating to a couple's shared cause is a relatively new favor idea, but most guests will appreciate your mission to give back (and will be glad to not head home with yet another bottle opener). Though younger generations of wedding attendees likely won't anticipate or expect a favor, older guests might raise an eyebrow at the lack of gifts. That's why it's important to clue your guests in to your charitable giving. 


Once you and your spouse-to-be have landed on the non-profit you'd like to donate to, determining the right way convey this message to your guests becomes the next step. While you can definitely write a statement on your wedding website, it's not your only option. A little note at each place setting, a postcard on every table, or a big sign near the cake table will all suffice. Just make sure you articulate why you're doing this and why the charity matters to you personally. 


"Couples also have the option of specifying the exact charity or letting guests choose one that's important to them," Weinberg says. "If a couple has a cause that they are really passionate about and want to raise money for, then it makes sense for the couple to offer donations for a particular organization." The bottom line, according to the pro, is to do what feels right for you two as a couple. Using the hard-earned cash you would have spent on favors to go towards your local animal rescue or your favorite foundation speaks volumes about your values as a couple, and the kindness you both prioritize.