8 Easy Ways to Turn Your Wedding Into a Charitable One

How to give back and still have a memorable wedding

Wedding reception

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Yikes! Weddings are more expensive than ever!

In 2016, there were 2.25 million marriages in the US. The average cost of a wedding went up to $35,329. The wedding dress alone has an average cost of $1,505.

Feeling a bit guilty about any of that? You do not have to give up your wedding to feel better, however.

Just think about charity when planning every aspect of your wedding. You'll be happier and make the world a better place at the same time.

Here are eight ways to start being a more charitable bride and groom.

  1. Turn that Wedding Shower to Good.
    Ask wedding shower guests to bring canned goods to donate to your local food bank. Not sure where the nearest food bank is? Search at FeedingAmerica.org. Be sure to let your guests know what food items are most useful to food banks.
  2. Use a Nonprofit Venue for Your Wedding.
    Consider having your wedding or reception at a nonprofit venue. Just think of the lovely spaces at museums and historical sites. Many organizations even have catering services. All the money you spend will go to a good cause. While you are at it, consider performers from a cultural organization to entertain at your reception.
  3. Sign Up for a Charitable Wedding Registry.
    Set up a registry at the I Do Foundation. Then ask guests to give donations to your favorite charities rather than just give you a gift that you might not even need. If some gifts do leak through, consider reselling them at eBay For Charity where a percentage of the sale goes to a charity of your choice.
  4. Turn Pre-Wedding Events into Volunteering.
    Instead of a pre-wedding event for guests or bridesmaids, volunteer as a group to do something worthwhile. You could help build a house with Habitat for Humanity, serve a meal at the Salvation Army, or pick up trash at your public beach. For more ideas than you could ever use up, check out VolunteerMatch.org.
  5. Let Your Wedding Gown Have a Second Life.
    Donate your bridal gown to Brides Across America. That organization gives gently used gowns to military brides. Bridesmaids can donate their dresses for someone to use as a prom dress. Check your local area for charities that accept dresses, or use DonationTown, an online portal to find a place nearby for your dresses.
  6. Turn Your Honeymoon into a Volunteer Opportunity.
    Voluntourism may be just the way for you to have an adventure and do some good as well. Take a look at our How to Combine Volunteering and Travel. That article has a list of websites where you can start looking for the ideal destination. Outdoorsy? Take a gander at the volunteer vacations in some of America's most beautiful spots at the American Hiking Society.
  7. Donate Frequent Flyer Miles.
    Did you rack up some frequent flyer miles on your honeymoon or when you flew family members to your destination wedding? Consider donating them to HeroMiles, where they will be used for families of wounded warriors. Alternatively, check out these airlines for their policies around giving miles.
  8. Make All That Wedding Shopping Do Some Good.
    GoodShop is one way to give back when you shop. It is a gateway to thousands of merchants, plus there are savings coupons galore. Pick a charity and shop up a storm, knowing that a percentage of your expenditures will go to helping a good cause. If you are an Amazon shopper, you can do the same thing by signing up for AmazonSmile. Pick a charity and then just shop. On both of these sites, you can change your charity as often as you wish should you want to spread the good around.