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How to Give Charitable Donations Instead of Wedding Favors

The wedding favor is a wedding tradition. It’s a small token of appreciation for your guests, a treat or a tchotchke they can take home.

Some guests love it, but we’re the first to admit that not all wedding favors are created equal. For every incredibly creative and useful wedding favor out there, there’s another that is sure to gather dust or end up in the trash bin.

It’s not surprising, then, that many couples are opting out of giving favors at all and instead spending that money on a charitable donation made in their guests’ honor. Maybe this sounds attractive to you. How do you do it?

Step 1: Choose a Charity

The charity you choose to support should be important to you and your future spouse. What do you love the most as a couple? What causes speak to you? Find a reputable organization that supports that cause, and make your donation.

Etiquette experts will advise you to stay away from controversial causes and political organizations. Not Your wedding probably isn’t the time to start a discussion on the latest hot-button issues.

Another tip from the experts: When you make your donation, do it in honor of “The Guests and John and Jane Smith’s Wedding.” Don’t share guests’ names and contact information with the organization.

Step 2: Let Guests Know

This is the fun part. Tell guests what you’ve done! The most common methods are to include a note in your wedding program or on your wedding website. Some couples also post a small sign at each table explaining the donation and their decision.

If you’re feeling strange about not leaving a little something at each place setting, choose a small treat to give as a favor. Attach a tag explaining the donation. Don’t be afraid to get creative and give a treat or trinket related to your cause! We love this little measuring tape favor given to guests at a wedding where a donation was made to Habitat for Humanity.

Step 3: Be Prepared for (Mild) Backlash

Traditionalists will be dismayed that there is no thank you gift waiting for them at the table. You may have to explain to some guests why you choose a charitable favor over a tangible one. Most guests will like the idea, but be prepared for questions from others.

TELL US: Would you make a charitable donation in lieu of wedding favors?