"Why do we get all this, all about us, when there are people who have no idea where their next meal will come from?" said newlywed Elizabeth Salisbury of Anaheim, California at the end of her wedding reception. Elizabeth and many more brides and grooms are happy to be celebrating their marriage, but feel a little guilty with the excess that comes with most celebrations.
Elizabeth and her husband Michael were so appreciative of the luxury of their wedding that they decided to give all their monetary wedding gifts to their favorite charities. "Nothing could have made us happier than to be able to donate to so many charities. If we had taken the money we received and bought, an espresso machine, we would soon forget who gave us the money for it, it would just be another appliance. However, I truly believe we will remember who gave us the opportunity to donate to so many worthwhile causes. We donated the money in honor of the people who gave us the monetary gifts and chose causes that we knew would have significance for them as well as for ourselves. It felt so good to give something back to our community; it was a nice way to end this very self-centered time of our lives. I think donating brought us back to reality and reminded us that there are more important things going on in the world, other than our wedding," Michael stated. Liz agreed, "We loved our wedding but if we had it to do over again, we would have integrated the element of giving back more into our entire wedding celebration. I have a friend that asked her girlfriends to forgo a wedding shower/bachelorette party and instead we all went and served food to the homeless. It was a very fulfilling experience."
If you agree with Michael and Elizabeth, here are a few ways you can integrate giving back to the community during your wedding celebrations:
- Add a note on your personalized wedding website that states instead of gifts you would appreciate it if your guests would donate money or time to their favorite charity.
- Create a Charity registry on the I Do Foundation website. This allows your guests to donate easily to your favorite organization.
- Instead of favors, donate the amount of money you would have spent on throw-away trinkets to your favorite service organization. Add a little note in your wedding program that lets your guests know that in lieu of wedding favors, you have donated money to a worthwhile cause, in honor of your treasured friends and family.
- Donate a tree to your local community park in honor of your wedding day.
- Donate all left-over food and plastic utensils from all your wedding festivities to your local food banks. You must contact each food bank to find out what they can accept (some cannot take prepared food, but only non-perishable items).
- Donate your left-over decorations and accessories to your local non-profit thrift store.
- Instead of giving the usual wedding party gifts to your bridesmaids and groomsmen, donate (in each of their names) to their favorite charity.
- After you get back from your honeymoon, find a local organization where you and your newly minted spouse can volunteer. Now that you are not spending every waking moment on wedding planning, there is plenty of time to volunteer. Volunteering together is a nice way to spend time with each other, as well as developing the character of your married life.
One amazing Anaheim charity, Los Ninos de la calle con Wendy Foundation, was just profiled in the Orange County Register News. Maybe this local charity will be the right place for you to give a little back after you say I do?
And please consider donating to Wish Upon a Wedding, an organization that grants weddings to couples who are challenged with a terminal illness.
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