Alternative Wedding: Making it About More Than You
It used to be that couples married at a young age, before they were financially stable. Wedding gifts were a way for family and friends to help the newlyweds start their life together with a nest egg and household goods. But more and more, couples are independent by the time they get married, and their desire for piles of money and gifts has waned. Today there is a new trend in weddings, giving back. While your wedding day is usually all about you, some couples take the opportunity to remember those less fortunate. There are many painless ways that you can turn your wedding day into a day of giving, rather than getting.
Don’t Clink Your Glasses
One fun way to encourage giving at your wedding is to forego the tradition of clinking glasses to watch you kiss your new spouse. Instead, if people want to see you smooch, have them bring a donation to the DJ table. Announce the charity you have chosen, and explain why it’s important to you. Your friends and family will still be able embarrass you, but you’ll all feel good about doing it.
Forego The Favors
Wedding favors are a huge expense, and let’s face it: Most people don’t even remember to take them home. Calculate how much favors would cost you, and instead of giving them, take that total and donate it to a charity. Place a sign at the entrance to the reception, letting people know that you’ve made the donation and let them know that their attendance made the sizable contribution possible.
In Lieu of Gifts, Donate
Since many couples are financially sound at the time of their wedding, monetary or material gifts aren’t necessary. In your invitation, where you’d normally include details about your wedding registry, ask your guests to donate to the charity of your choice.
Donate Your Food and Flowers
When your reception is over, you’re going to have leftover food. Instead of tossing it, consider donating it to a local shelter. If you make arrangements ahead of time, many places will come and pick up the food. And if you decorated the church or reception hall with flowers, donate them to a local nursing home or hospital, and ask that the facility give them to someone who doesn’t get many visitors.
Choosing a Charity
If the idea of using your wedding to give is appealing, you and your fiancé should agree on the charity to which you’ll be donating. You may have something in mind, but narrowing the field down might be difficult. One way is to tie it in with an organization that your workplace (or a company that you respect) gives to. Many corporations give thousands or even millions of dollars to charities and relief organizations each year. Some even have their own foundations through which they disperse funds and aid. For example, the Melaleuca foundation, through the support of their company’s marketing executives, provides relief to people suffering around the globe. The foundation began in 2001 to help families after 9/11 and after Hurricane Katrina, they were able to raise upwards of $1million.
Before making your wedding day only about you, consider turning it into a day where you, your friends, and your relatives remember those less fortunate.