Pay it Forward
Ways of giving on your wedding day
I know we are all ingrained to think “It’s OUR day” but actually sometimes it can be a great way to give back to a certain extent. My husband-to-be and I have both got an affinity to many of the cancer-related charities. We both have family members who have been affected by cancer so we wanted to find ways of giving back to the charities that have helped our families. I thought I’d research ways of giving back to them on our special day.
Many charities do place cards or favours with charity badges or seed packets attached. Have a look at the variety of the ones below; I hasten to add they aren’t the only ones! Sometimes they are just the badges, some have place settings and tags and everything sorted for you! Macmillan, Cancer Research UK, Mind, UNICEF, British Heart Foundation, Alzheimer’s Society, Marie Curie, NSPCC and Make a Wish all have dedicated pages and some of the different ways they are presented are great.
Donation Envelopes are also popular with some charities and even if they don’t supply them, some weddings have donation jars on the bars. To tie in with our nautical theme, we thought about donating to the RNLI or the Sea Cadets.
As a couple, we have many causes we could choose to donate to so in the end, we didn’t just pick one. We’ve picked three.
We are donating to the Sea Cadets because we both volunteer for them and see the positive work they do with young people. I have personally chosen Macmillan as I’ve seen first hand the impact the nurses and care staff have on looking after my mum as she continues to battle cancer. On a personal level, we are also donating to St Luke’s Hospice, based in Devon who cared for my husband-to-be’s cousin until she unfortunately lost her battle.
In fact, some of the charities I’ve looked into don’t actually actively offer such services. I encourage you if you are thinking about doing something like this – give them a call! I have had several lovely phone calls with different services and charities that are now starting to join this phenomenon.
Please do not think that I begrudge anyone having whatever favours they wish to on their tables. We will still have cute sweets and gifts as favours. I mean there are hundreds (and I mean hundreds of different ways to present your guests with their donation or favour.
I love these cute tape measures – “As a measurement of our appreciation for you sharing our special day, we’ve made a donation on your behalf to …” Favours are getting more and more imaginative as I've discovered after spending several hours on Pinterest researching for this blog post. Some people go as far as cutting out favours completely. It’s a way to really tailor your wedding to mean something to you. I hope our guests understand why we’ve chosen to do what we’ve done and maybe it will encourage them to reach out to new charities they’ve never heard of or remember to pop a few extra pennies in our charities direction.
I know I’ve focused on favours a lot so far but there are LOADS of ideas around relating to ways to get people to donate or have charity in mind whilst preparing for, getting married and post-wedding! Having forfeits on your hen do that result in paying a donation penalty could be costly for some! Having charitable gifts on your wedding registry – Oxfam, RNLI, UNICEF – many charities have buy a goat, pay for a lifejacket, buy a vaccination … You could give to others rather than receiving yourself, you often get a certificate that tells you who or where you’ve helped and that’s sure to give you the warm and fuzzies deep down inside!
Friends have donated their flowers to a local hospital ward or hospice after the wedding; Please check first though as I’m sure they won’t thank you for arriving unannounced! Some charities do wedding invites, planners and place cards linked to their charities so you are giving as well as ticking jobs off the list!
You can always donate your dress (when and only when you feel ready to give it up!) to a charity shop of your choosing. Some sites resell or donate to those who are struggling to purchase their own dresses.
You could even have it as simple as an empty bottle or wishing well at your reception. Mason Jars are great to use for this or wine jugs with a message on the side explaining what it’s for.
I think I need to stop researching now!
Photography by - Christopher Baker and respective charities