The times, they are a-changin’. Bride and groom are not the needy little waiflings they once were. Instead, many are established in their careers. Many are homeowners. Sometimes, this is their second wedding. Bluntly put, many already own all the appliances, glassware and cutlery they can use. This sense of material plenty might be what’s driving the trend to contribute during a wedding, instead of merely consume.

Whatever the reasons, more and more bridal couples are donating to charity instead of handing out wedding favors. It’s become enough of a movement that some organizations, such the American Diabetes Assocation, will actually supply the table cards that explain the wedding donation to guests.

How to Choose Your Charity

Choosing your charity can be a bit daunting, unless events in your life make the choice clear (losing a loved one to a specific disease, for example). You may not be sure which charities will really make good use of your money. Or maybe you’ll worry whether your guests will miss the wedding favors, or approve of
your charity choice.

Don’t worry! You’ll find most if not all of your guests will support and admire your decision. But even if someone does mind, remember, this is your day. Your beliefs and concerns should drive it.

Remembering Dear Ones

If you’re thinking of a particular loved one when you selected the charity, be sure to refer to him or her in the placard.

In memory of …
Although we can’t see you,
We know you are here:
Smiling, watching over us
As we say “I do.”
Forever in our hearts,
Forever in our lives —
And so we say our vows
In loving memory of you.

You can describe the donation in a table card, a small scroll tied with a ribbon, or even a fortune cookie if your statement is brief. (Click here for “Sayings
for Wedding Favor Donations” for your cards or scrolls.) It isn’t necessary at all to describe how much you’ve donated to your guests; that’s a personal decision belonging to you and your fiancé.

A Few Ideas for Charitable Favors

A wonderful, timely idea for donation-in-lieu-of-favors are yellow wristbands from the Lance Armstrong Foundation. They’re $1 each — well within the range of most favor budgets — and will give your guests a tangible memento of a worthy, moving cause. If you like the idea but want another charity that might be even closer to home, you can order pink Carpe Diem (“seize the day”) wristbands for $5 each that support the Donna Hicken foundation for breast cancer research.

What Else You Can Do

You may be surprised to learn that donations at the wedding don’t start and end with the wedding favors. Older couples in particular are putting a new spin on registries by registering with ‘charity clearinghouses’ instead of, say, Crate & Barrel. If this idea appeals to you, check out JustGive.org, which makes the process easy.

That isn’t all you can do for others on your big day. Caterers can donate the leftover food to homeless shelters, you or your wedding party can drop off those flowers at hospitals or nursing homes, and bridesmaids can even donate their dresses for use by underprivileged teens on Prom night. These little-known options can make a big difference in someone else’s day.

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53 Responses

  1. laura

    I would like a poem as my wedding favour.
    i would like to donate to cancer research as myself and my hubby to be have both lost members of our family to cancer. finding a cancer research poem explaining this is what we want to do is harder then i thought,can anyone help please x

    Reply
  2. Abbey

    My fiance is native american and instead of favors we want to donate to his tribe. Trying to come up with wording so the guest can fully understand why we chose to donate to a tribe, vs a typical charity.

    Reply
  3. Darcy

    I lost my father when I was 16 due to suicide. I would like to donate to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention instead of favors – any thoughts for wording??

    Reply
    • staceyleah

      Darcy,
      I am so sorry about your father.
      Here is some wording ideas…

      Amazing wording here….

      I like this one…
      With much thought and consideration,
      we have chosen a special way to say
      Thank You for sharing our wedding day.

      In lieu of traditional favors
      we have made a donation ion
      in your honor to the
      Name of Charity
      in loving memory of
      Name of Person
      Relationship to Bride and Groom
      We feel the finest gift is one which
      helps others live longer and healthier lives.

      All our love,
      Name of Bride and Groom
      Wedding Date

      Reply
  4. Shannon M.

    I used this idea for birthdays.

    Thank you to all whom took the time to write the amazing messages in this thread … it really helped to make a meaningful gift that more special!

    Best wishes 😀

    Reply
  5. Jessica

    For our wedding favors we would like to donate to a local pet rescue. Need some help with wording on the cards which will have a silver dollar attached for each guest to contribute their coin to a fountain or something that ties in with the chosen charity. Any ideas on what to write and what to have as the collection for the coins?

    Reply
    • [email protected]

      Jessica,
      This might help

      Scroll down here for aspca wording…

      Here is one I saw online but added wording…
      The tradition of the wishing well is one that is known by all. Go to the well, toss in the coin, and as the coin does fall. make a wish upon the coin, would mean so much to the bride and groom. For each coin thrown in the well, will be donated to animal rescue.
      Thank you for celebrating this special day with us. With love and affection Bride and groom. wedding date.

      Reply
    • [email protected]

      Dean,
      See this

      I also googled breast cancer awareness wedding favors and there were loads of links. With the same search switch over to the google images to see what is there as well.

      Here at FavorIdeas

      Komen site

      National Breast Cancer site

      Wedding Tulle

      Green Bride Guide

      Reply
  6. Nicole

    I need help with wording for our charity favors. My fiance almost died in a car crash in England a few years ago–Luckily North Air Ambulance saved his life and airlifted him to a nearby hospital. We want to donate to them since they are a private organization and function only on donations. I want to acknowledge what they did for us but am having difficulty wording it. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
    • [email protected]

      nicole,

      With much thought and consideration,
      we have chosen a special way
      to say “Thank You” for sharing
      our wedding day with us.
      In lieu of a traditional wedding favor,
      we have made a donation in your honor to

      Luckily North Air Ambulance

      These donations are made in acknowledgement and appreciation for the selfless care and support given to
      Grooms name
      after his car accident in ( year)

      We feel the finest gift
      is one which helps others
      live longer and healthier lives.

      All Our Love
      Bride and Groom
      Date

      Reply
  7. Lily

    We would like to do donations instead of wedding favours as well. Lovely idea and a great way to make sure the money doesn’t go to waste on meaningless stuff. I would like to donate to Alzheimer’s society! Any suggestions on the wording?! Thanks

    Reply
    • [email protected]

      Lily,

      “In your honor, a donation has been made to the “Alzheimers Society” With love and thanks, Jeff and Jenna

      In lieu of favors, a donation has been made to the “Alzheimers Society” ( is someone passed away from this disease, you could also have: in memory of my (insert name). With love and thanks, Jeff and Jenna.

      Reply
    • Diane

      Lily, see my post of January 27 in response to WEndy’s post of Oct. 28. I posted what I did for the favor cards for my son’s wedding.

      Reply
  8. Diane

    I am having a wedding reception for my son and want to donate to Head Trauma Research or a scholarship fund in memory of my younger son. Any ideas on wording for a donation card.

    Reply
    • [email protected]

      Diane,
      * some ideas

      the first one has in memory of. I like that one.

      Reply
  9. Wendy

    We are donating to the American Cancer Society… the poem we are using says…

    For those who have faught and lost;
    For those who have faught and won;
    and for those who are still fighting.

    I just wanted to share because I love it!! My mom and his dad died of cancer, my dad is fighting it now but we are hoping he will have won by our wedding date..fingers crossed! :cheer:

    Reply
    • andrea

      i Love LOVE LOVE this idea 🙂 we are doing the same thing donationg to the american cancer society and were trying to find the perfect way to honor the ones gone as well as the ones still here.

      i love this! 😀

      Reply
      • Diane

        what i finally decided to do was to get small note cards that can be printed on my printer. on the front i put a quotation by barbara bush
        “Giving frees us from
        the familiar territory of
        our own needs by opening
        our mind to the unexplained
        worlds occupied
        by the needs of others.”

        Barbara Bush
        and on the inside i put the following
        With much thought and consideration,
        We have chosen a special way to say
        Thank You for sharing our special day.

        In lieu of traditional favors we have
        Made a donation in your honor to the
        St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
        In Loving Memory of
        add name/names

        We feel the finest gift is one
        which helps others
        live longer and healthier lives.

        We truly appreciate your being a part of
        our special day.

        signed by the bride & groom

        I then put them in envelopes and glue silver heart charms to the outside of the envelope and had one placed at each place setting.
        hope this helps.

      • andrea

        that is wonderful and so very deep and meaningful.

        Thank you for your thoughts!

  10. Rachel

    My fiance and I have decided to donate to the American Cancer society in remembrance of family and friends who have died from Cancer. Here is a little thing I put together for the cards. Use it if you’d like.

    “Cookies and candy and chocolates are sweet,
    And normally you find a treat at your seat.
    But the gift that we have decided to give,
    Is one that will help others to live.”
    A donation has been made in your honor to the American Cancer Society

    Reply
    • Cassie

      Rachel, I was trying to figure out the correct wording to announce to our guests who we are donating to. A poem is a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
    • Anonumous

      This almost made me cry…its wonderful. I’m gonna use this for my wedding. Thank you so much!

      Reply
    • Jana

      I love this wording. I am going to use it for my upcoming wedding. Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
  11. angie

    My daughter and her fiance’ are wanting to donate to the animal shelter in the town where they live in leiu of wedding favors. Does anyone have or have seen a picture that would be appropriate for the card?

    Reply
    • [email protected]

      Angie,
      * here are some real wedding favor pics for this cause
      * anything like this would be super cute.

      Reply
      • [email protected]

        Angie,
        * THIS is soooo cute

    • Lauren

      Hi Angie,

      I wanted to say, I think this is the most wonderful favor idea I’ve heard of, I love it
      and the bride and groom for thinking of it!

      Lauren

      Reply
    • Grace

      Hi,
      How much should the bride and groom donate to a charity of their choice? Like a $1 or $2 per person?

      Reply
      • [email protected]

        Grace,
        The suggested donation is $2-$5 per guest. But the total amount is up to you.

    • Gianni

      …i’m an animal lover myself but with all the human suffering going on i think the money would be much appreciated elsewhere.

      Reply
  12. Lauren

    I was just wondering if anyone had a sample of what they wrote to describe their donation at the wedding???

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Thank you for sharing this special
      day with us!!
      With Thanks and Appreciation a
      donation has been made in your name
      to help continue to provide the
      excellent care, given by this NO KILL
      Shelter

      Reply
    • Debbie

      Hi Lauren.
      I was wondering if you got any responses to donation wording. My son is getting married 10/10/09 and we want to make donations in the name of the guests to a charity.

      Debbie Noon

      Reply
      • stacey

        debbie,
        Thank you for sharing this day with us. In recognition of your love and support, we have made a donation in your name to ( name of charity).

  13. Katherine

    I recently attended a friend’s wedding, and they had donations in leiu of favors. The bride and groom each picked a charity and each table had one or the other charity listed. They also had a small poster by the gift table describing each of the charities and why they chose them. I thought it was very classy and will probably steal the idea for my own wedding someday.

    Reply
  14. sherri

    Would like to make a donation as party favors but do not have enough time to order place cards. What can I do to let my guests know we donated in their names?

    Reply
    • Alison

      I have seen people type up something nice and put it in a picture frame on the table. Good Luck!

      Reply
  15. shauneen

    How do i go about donating money to Heart fund for my wedding favors, i am donating to the Cancer fund but woulf love to donate to the haert fund as well.

    Reply
  16. Heather

    Jennifer,
    I was recently at a wedding and the bride’s grandmother had just passed away from breast cancer. To honor her grandmother she gave
    the pink, rubber breast cancer awareness bracelets as favors. They are a dollar a piece and the proceeds go towards breast cancer research and awareness. You could also donate the money received from the dollar dance or money tree.

    Reply
  17. eileen

    need to have 25 charity donation cards in 5 days. is it possible?
    today is mar. 4, 2008

    Reply
  18. SaundraK

    Hi Becky, can you just say “in support of loved ones” or “for those close to our hearts?” That seems to apply to family members both here and passed.

    Reply
  19. Becky

    We want to split our donations into two charities – Alzheimer’s (my grandfather passed away from this) and Parkinson’s (fiance’s grandfather now suffers from it). I’m having trouble with the wording, since I can’t necessarily say “for family members who couldn’t be with us” since his grandpa might very well be there. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  20. Lindsay

    Kristina,
    If you decide to donate to the ASPCA they will already provide the cards for you, otherwise, this is one I used for the shelter where I adopted my dog from…To Our Family and Friends
    We have chosen a special way to say “Thank You” for sharing our wedding day with us.

    We have made a donation in your honor to the Pet Matchmaker Association.

    We feel strongly about giving all animals a second chance to live longer, healthier and happier lives.

    We truly appreciate your being part of our special day.

    Reply
  21. Kristina

    We are interested in donating a dollar per guest out of our pocket to a”saving animals” organizations and instead of having traditional favors at the tables, have a card which says ” A donation has been made in your name for ie: The Animal Protective League” Any suggestions?

    Reply
  22. Pooja

    I’m actually trying to find out how to make a donation to the Cancer Society for my sister’s wedding shower. I figure, it’s the most giving favor of all!

    Reply
  23. Shannon

    Can I do a donation for favors at the bridal shower, as my sisters maid of honor? Or is this only appropriate for the bride and groom decide for the actual wedding? Thanks

    Reply

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