Planning a wedding can be a funny thing. For many of us, it can jar a little with the values we apply to our everyday lives. We're all trying to make the world a better place in lots of little ways, whether it's running marathons for charity, trying to do meat-free Mondays or saying no to disposable coffee cups or plastic straws in our Aperol Spritz. And then wedding planning comes along and it can sometimes feel like all your good intentions go out the window. In a socially-conscious world, weddings can start to feel a bit... indulgent.
But it doesn't have to be like that and there's absolutely no reason why you can't embrace the same values on your wedding day as you do on every other day. In fact, your wedding can actually help society and raise money for causes close to your heart - without feeling like a charity fundraiser of course! The Wedding A-List has partnered with Solace, an amazing charity who help victims of domestic and sexual abuse and who provide vital, life-saving services for over 11,000 women and children every year. We donate money from every single sale of our 4 affordable wedding planning packages to Solace, to ensure that every wedding we're involved with will make a positive difference to the lives of other women. Check out our Services page for all the details of our packages.
With that in mind, I've come up with 6 other ways your wedding can help charity - so your big day can really make a difference to some of the causes close to your heart.
Favours are a really easy and great way to help a charity. Most of the major charities now offer small gifts (such as pins) and place cards that you can give to each guest to let them know you've donated to the charity in lieu of a favour. You could also write a small note to go with them to explain why that particular charity is meaningful for you. Or why not choose a local charity which is relevant to the area you're getting married in? I absolutely love these Adopt A Lobster certificates from the National Lobster Hatchery, which are perfect for seaside weddings and will help to preserve vulnerable marine life. You can even name a lobster after each guest!
GIVE VIA YOUR GIFT LIST
Ok so it might be a bit much to ask to sacrifice ALL presents for charity donations (although massive kudos if you are doing that!) but gift list sites such as Prezola offer a way to register for a combination of gifts, cash and charity donations making it easy for your guests to give a small (or large!) donation to a charity of your choice as well as getting you a more traditional present.
If you're having a DIY wedding and offering a free bar, why not consider setting it up as an honesty bar, where guests are asked to make a small donation in to a charity collection box? Even 50p a drink would add up to a significant donation to your chosen charity at the end of the night. Just pop a box on the bar with a little sign explaining which charity you're collecting for and that any small donations would be gratefully received.
KEEP IT DIGITAL
So I love absolutely everything about weddings, but that doesn't mean that every single wedding has to include absolutely everything! If there is something that doesn't really float your boat, why not ditch it and donate the money to your charity of choice instead? Stationery is an easy way to do this, especially if you have a fairly young crowd coming to your day (not to generalise too much, but in my experience the older generation do tend to appreciate proper post!). Just design a free wedding website with all the information your guests will need, send digital invitations and donate the money you've saved to charity. If you add a little note at the bottom of the invitation with details of the charity, some of your guests may decide to donate too! If you can't bear to go without beautifully designed invitations (and as a stationery addict I totally understand!) maybe just consider digital save the dates or thank you cards.
MAKE LIKE MEGHAN
You may have read that the incredible floral arrangements designed by Philippa Craddock were donated to a local hospice after the royal wedding. Such a lovely idea and you don't need a royal budget for your own wedding flowers to make a huge impact after the day. You could get in touch with a local hospice or hospital in advance of your wedding day to find out how to donate your flowers, or contact a charity such as the wonderful Floral Angels, who restyle donated flowers into bouquets which they deliver to people in hospices, care homes, women's refuges and cancer units.
DONATE YOUR DRESS
Lots of brides struggle to decide what to do with their wedding dress once it's all over. Should you carefully pack it up and store it in the attic, have a trash the dress photoshoot or try to sell it online to make some of the money back? All good options to be honest, but if you want to help a charity then you can also consider donating your dress. Your local charity shop would be delighted to receive your dress but there are also organisations such as Wish For A Wedding who provide wedding dresses (and other wedding services) for couples planning a wedding in the face of terminal illness, or Heavenly Gowns who turn donated wedding dresses into baby funeral gowns to support grieving families.
Are you incorporating charity into your wedding day? Let us know what you're doing in the comments!
Photography Credits - Lisa Carpenter Photography