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Friday, July 11, 2008

Wedding Gifts that Make a Difference

So often when couples get married, the bride and groom have already been out on their own for awhile. They have the dishes, the sheets, the towels, the salad spinner. Sometimes they have two sets of those items. Yet, guests expect to give a wedding gift to show their love and appreciation for the couple.

As a result, some couples are finding innovative ways to incorporate traditional gift giving with charitable donations, either by enclosing cards in their invitations asking guests to donate to their favorite (or the bride and groom's favorite) charity or by setting up a charitable guest registry. Sites such as www.changingthepresent.org, www.heifer.org, www.justgive.org and www.idofoundation.org make it easy to do just that.

Of course, some couples, even couples who may have been living on their own, really do need toasters, dishes and sheets. Various companies have gotten on board. Amazon, JC Penney, Target and Linens & Things (to name just a few) will donate a percentage of purchases to charity.
But it doesn't stop there. Some other ways couples are injecting philanthropy into their special day include: donating leftover food to soup kitchens, donating the bride's gown to either be sold for charity or donated to another needy bride, giving to charity in honor of guests and/or attendants in lieu of the traditional table favors or attendant gifts (some charities provide cards or scrolls for such purposes), planning to make their wedding more eco-friendly or by planning a honeymoon that involves volunteering for a cause.

Obviously, this is a "to each his own" proposition, one that wouldn't work for everyone, but I find the creative ways people come up with to expand their wedding day to "a wedding day plus something more" incredibly interesting.

Have you attended such a wedding or heard of other ways people have incorporated giving into their ceremony or reception?

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Blogger Julie Hilton Steele said...

Many couples are now finding outlets to donate their wedding flowers. I am part of a volunteer organization called the Flower Shuttle in Raleigh NC which, thanks the inspiration of another organization featured in O Magazine, now has recycled flowers from weddings, funerals, florists and grocery chains into over 20,000arrangements for the ill, elderly, disabled who often have never received flowers in their lives. A wonderful feel good operation. Lots of brides are now participating. Even if there is not an organization like this in your area, delivering arrangements to a hospital or soup kitche or cancer center can brighten the day just by having those flowers in a lobby for all to see.

Peace, Julie

July 11, 2008 at 5:50 AM  
Anonymous Tori Lennox said...

I don't know anyone who's done this but I think it's a brilliant idea!

July 11, 2008 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger Ellen said...

In the town I live in there is a charity that collects fancy dresses to girls who can't afford a dress to go to the prom. A dry cleaners cleans the dresses free of charge. Some birdemaids have donated their dresses to the cause but I don't know about the brides themselves.

July 11, 2008 at 12:31 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

We have the prom dress/bridesmaid dress charity here as well. I havent' heard of many other ways. How nice! I'm so glad there are those who think of these things!

July 11, 2008 at 1:10 PM  
Blogger Shirley Jump said...

I just went to a wedding like this, and it was really cool. The couple sent out thank you cards for their gifts and each one included this little felt-like flower that has wildflower seeds in it. It was just a neat way to continue the whole earth theme.


July 12, 2008 at 6:21 AM  
Blogger Lily said...

I once had a friend who donated money to a charity replacing the traditional thank you gift for attendance.

July 12, 2008 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger kimmyl said...

I have never heard of it but i think it's a great idea.

July 13, 2008 at 8:40 PM  
Anonymous JoLynn Backes said...

I think these are all great ideas. Wish I would have thought of them/ heard of them before my wedding.

July 14, 2008 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger catslady said...

My daughter is giving out the felt like heart with the wildflower - in fact we just spent the evening tying them on cards with a lovely message etc. She bought too many so we're going to be passing the rest out and hopefully a lot of people will be enjoying the wildflowers.

July 15, 2008 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger Myrna said...

I love all the wonderful suggestions here. No one was doing this kind of thing when I got married, but if they had been, I would have been so into it.

The wildflower idea is wonderful! I have a brown thumb, but just the thought of trying again makes me smile. What's not to like about the gift of flower seeds?

And Julie...the Flower Shuttle? That is awesome! This is not a wedding thing, but back when I was organizing cross country and track banquets, I dropped off the extra food at a local shelter for abused women. I still remember the year that no one at the banquet remembered to pick up all the table flowers, so I scooped them up and took them to the shelter. The woman from the shelter who helped me carry the food in was ten times more excited about the flowers than the food. So, I could really see this being a great way to make your wedding flowers keep on giving.

July 16, 2008 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Nathalie said...

I agree that it is a nice idea. Original gifts are hard to think about as we don't like to be too common!

July 27, 2008 at 3:38 PM  
Blogger Elmer False said...

A simple love token is just as memorable as an extravagant gesture and can be all the more touching to receive on the big day.

April 15, 2013 at 11:12 PM  
Anonymous unique wedding venues said...

We could accommodate 75 people plus a dance floor inside the main room easily. The food was delicious and the ambiance was elegant, we loved it.

July 26, 2014 at 9:56 PM  

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