11 Ways Your Wedding Can Give Back
Your wedding day is typically all about you, but there are ways you can pay it forward and essentially have your cake and eat it, too — both in a literal and nonliteral sense. With all the money you're spending on the reception, why not use it as an opportunity to give back? Having a responsible celebration doesn't mean turning your big day into a charity event; it can be as simple as being mindful of where you're sourcing your decorations and flowers from. Whether you choose to incorporate every idea ahead or just one, you're still making a bigger impact than you think. We hope you're inspired by the 11 ways you can have a humanitarian wedding ahead.
Throw a charitable bridal party.
Get your friends in on the action and gather everyone for a volunteer day. If you still want to host a bridal shower or bachelorette party, ask them to bring a canned good for a food pantry or make it an option to accept donations over "bride-to-be" gifts.
Order invitations that give back.
Paper invites can already be wasteful, so consider ordering them from a stationery company with a cause. If you really want to go eco-friendly, print your invitations on plantable seed paper to allow your guests to grow them instead of throw them away.
Choose a nonprofit venue.
Make your location count by holding your wedding at a nonprofit space like a wildlife preserve, botanical garden, or a historical site. That way, any fees you pay will go toward maintaining the site or funding the group's work.
Don't let leftovers go to waste.
Rarely does all the wedding cake and food get eaten. In the case of leftovers, donate the food to a shelter instead of allowing it to go to waste. You probably won't finish those cake slices even if you are thinking about taking it home.
Do someone else a favor.
Instead of giving each one of your guests a token of appreciation to take home, say thank you by investing that money in helping those in need. Organizations like the I Do Foundation will help you coordinate and even provide customized cards that let your guests know about the gift you've made in their honor.
Find vendors that partner with nonprofit organizations.
Some vendors donate a percentage of their proceeds from every purchase to a nonprofit they partner with. Whether it's florists, catering companies, or craftsmen, ask if they pay it forward before hiring.
If you're providing your guests with blankets at your outdoor wedding, consider giving them to the homeless shelter afterward. Same goes with taking your wedding day flowers to hospitals or even donating your dress to military brides through Brides Across America.
Feature sustainable decor.
Look for farm-to-table florists that use in-season and local flowers instead of bunches that are chemically treated. Another great idea is to use potted plants instead of vased centerpieces so that you can plant them at home after the wedding.
Support small businesses.
It's easy to immediately jump to a well-known brand or company for your wedding day details, but small and local businesses can do just as great of a job. They're more likely to mold to your needs, allowing you to personalize your wedding exactly as you envision.
Get hands on with your spouse by planning a service-oriented honeymoon that lets you volunteer and vacation at the same time. Groups such as American Hiking Society help organize these kinds of trips that focus on protecting foot trails and public lands. Or check out ecotourism adventures that are all about enjoying the land without human interference.