Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Instead of Buying Wedding Favors – Try This…

Wedding favors have become somewhat of a cliche. Depending upon the kind of favors you may provide your guests at the reception, some are kept as a reminder of the wedding however, most are later discarded, end up in a bottom drawer or destined for the trashcan. Some are quite pricey.

There was a time when wedding favors consisted of a cocktail napkin and a book of matches with the bride and groom’s names and wedding date. While some couples still enjoy going this route, as times have changed, so have the trends. Many couples skip the favor routine all together, however, there are other couples who adore the tradition of giving favors. Instead of giving the guests a small gift, use the money budgeted for favors and make a charitable donation. A charity gift is a memorable way to thank family and friends for sharing this special day with you.

ScrollFavorAt a recent wedding, beside every place setting was a scroll-like paper with a ribbon around it. When I returned home, I opened it and it was a letter from the President and CEO of a charitable organization that said:

Dear Guest, This is to inform you that a donation has been made to the Arizona Animal Welfare League and SPCA in lieu of wedding favors by Matthew and Tammi Fretz in honor of their wedding. The lives of thousands of pets are enhanced each year because of these acts of kindness and generosity… etc.

What a creative idea! This is a terrific way to make a donation to a worthy cause. There are plenty of ways to give to worthwhile causes on behalf of your guests. If you choose to do this, be sure to place a card on each table at the reception explaining about the donation to your guests. Cards or letters (as the one above) are also a great way to explain why you’ve chosen the particular charity, whether it’s to honor a deceased relative or celebrate a cause that you feel strongly about as a couple.

Here’s another idea. The I Do Foundation is a non-profit organization that helps generous couples incorporate charitable choices into their wedding celebration. Users can create a gift registry of charities by category (health, environment, social justice, etc.) or select a specific non-profit to support with the added option of donating to a local charity serving their own community. is another site to check out. A JustGive charity gift certificate is a memorable way to thank people who participated in your wedding by letting them choose their own cause to support. Gift Certificates never expire and can be redeemed to any of the 1 million local and national charities. The JustGive Guide includes 1,000 charities that have met stringent public requirements. The charities are grouped into19 categories to make your search easier and faster.

If you’re still hoping to score some home goods for your new love nest, “I Do” also offers a list of partner stores that donate a percentage of gift purchases to your favorite charity. You can also do the giving yourself by making a donation in your guests’ names in lieu of handing out traditional wedding favors.

Even Kate Middleton and Prince William made the decision to “Pay it Forward” with their wedding gifts, asking that the money to be used for gifts be given to charities and good causes. Adding a charitable dimension to your wedding festivities can help your “happily ever after” extend to your community and beyond!

Here are a few other Ways to “Be a Charitable Bride:”

• Consider donating your wedding flowers when the ceremony and reception are over. Your leftover flowers can be distributed to the sick or elderly, and are certain to brighten their day.

• Think about donating your leftover food. Most caterers are only going to dispose of the remaining portions of food anyway, so why not request to have the leftovers distributed to local food banks?

• Your wedding dress and your bridesmaids’ dresses can be donated to charity. These dresses can be resold at a fraction of the cost to a bride who cannot afford her gown, and the maids’ gowns often get donated to underprivileged teenagers as prom dresses. There is also a charity called Making Memories that will happily accept your new or used gown, and then resell it, with all the profits going to Breast Cancer charities.

BONUS Article: Tips for Creating a Charitable Wedding

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

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  5. Great post! As a coordinator, I see a lot of money being spent and a lot of waste as well. We do decorating and florals for events as one of the many services we offer. We loan our vases to our clients who contract our floral services to save costs to them and to recycle. At the end of the reception, the flowers are given to guests in a floral sleeve or some other temporary container. They then take them home, take them to church for Sunday service or a local facility for someone to enjoy them. We also encourage brides to consign or donate their wedding gown and accessories. Another great recycling idea. We always encourage brides to do favors that are going to be useful if they are going to spend the money at all. However, a charitable donation is an excellent idea and will help someone else.


    Comment by Regina Hare — Sunday, October 16, 2011 @ 1:19 pm | Reply

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