11 Charitable Ideas to Incorporate Into Your Wedding (PHOTOS)

Wendy Robinson | Oct 5, 2015 Love & Sex

Wedding coupleTraditionally wedding festivities have been all about getting the bride and groom set up for their new life together. Loved ones and guests buy them items off their registries and give cash gifts that the couple can use to start a savings account for their futures. However, now that couples tend to be older and more established in their careers by the time they get married, we're seeing a definite charitable trend in nuptial celebrations. 

The average cost of a wedding in the United States is over $25,000, and many couples are realizing that there are ways that some of that money might be able to help their favorite charities. Read on for some of the creative ways that brides and grooms are sharing the love and doing some good! 


charitable wedding day ideas

Images © arnoaltix/iStock, Poike/iStock

  • Love & Flowers



    "After our reception, we arranged for all of our wedding flowers to go to the hospice center where my grandmother was before she passed. It was a nice way to honor her while brightening some of the rooms there and not letting thousands of dollars of flowers go to waste. Win-win!" -- Louise P., Tucson, Arizona 

  • Flip-Flop Gifting



    "We had a beach wedding, so we got flip-flops for our guests to wear. After the wedding, we had a bin for people to leave the shoes in and then we donated them to a homeless shelter." -- Judith H., Cape Town, South Africa 

  • Kiss for Charity



    You know your guest are going to want to make you kiss, so why not pucker up and make some money for your favorite charity? Monica and Erik raised almost $300 for charity by asking guests to donate money instead of clinking glasses. The only downside: "Numb lips"!

  • Charity Not Favors


    ©Alfonso Cacciola/iStock

    "Let's be honest, most wedding favors are kind of lame. It was an easy call for us to decide to do a charitable donation instead. It also saved me a lot of time and hassle. I mailed in a check to [my favorite charity] and called it good!" -- Melissa K., Butler, Indiana 

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  • Getting & Giving



    "I'm a fourth grade teacher and when I got engaged, my class wanted to give me a bridal shower (how cute is that? SO cute). I asked them to make it a canned food drive instead. So not only did I get some cute cards and a few gifts, but we were able to make a big donation to a local food pantry." -- Ashleigh C., Santa Rosa, California

  • Location, Location, Location


    ©Rich Legg/iStock

    "As someone who works for a nonprofit, I was happy to have our wedding in a local art museum. It was great to know that the money I was paying for the cost of the venue was helping another nonprofit!" -- Laura N., Tucson, Arizona

  • Dress Donation



    For some brides, a wedding dress is a lifetime keepsake. For others, a wedding dress is something special to share with someone else in need. There are a variety of ways to charitably donate your wedding dress. Check with your favorite charity. Many accept donated dresses to raise money for their cause.

  • Delicious & Charitable


    © SashiOno/iStock

    "We had a dessert buffet at our reception and all the desserts were made by a bakery that is a nonprofit that gives employment opportunities to people with autism. The brownies were amazing and it was great to support a good cause too!" -- Deeva P., Chicago, Illinois

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  • Generous Gifting



    For Paisley McDonald and Chris Madsen, their wedding was small and their gift list was short: no wedding gifts, just charitable donations. Whether you set up a charity gift registry or designate that all gift monies go to a specific charity, you'll really be spreading the love!

  • Party for Charity


    © Susan Chiang/iStock

    "My husband and I aren't really crazy bachelorette/bachelor party people, so instead we had our wedding party join us for a day of [charity work]. It was fun, memorable, and the only stripper involved was a paint stripper!" -- Blakely M., Boulder, Colorado

  • Dancing for Dollars



    "My husband's family has a long tradition of doing 'dollar dances' in which people pay to dance with either the bride or groom. I think these are totally tacky, and I didn't want to do it. This was causing major drama until we figured out a compromise. We'd do it, but we'd donate the money to my favorite charity. We ended up donating almost $400 to help kids." -- Candice E., Saint Paul, Minnesota

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