While wedding planning might feel like it’s all about you and your fiancé, it doesn’t have to be. It’s certainly a hectic and busy time, but there are plenty of ways to give back while planning your big day. Check out our seven favorite ways to pay it forward!
Donations on Behalf of Your Guests
Oftentimes couples will spend hours poring over the perfect wedding favors, only for guests to leave them behind or not use them. Instead of providing guests with material favors, consider donating to a charity or cause close to your hearts instead. By doing so, not only will you be paying it forward, but your guests will love knowing they were a part of your contribution too.
Many credit-card companies offer rewards and perks that you can earn and redeem based on your purchase history and spending. Some enable customers to donate their cash back, rewards miles, and more to a charity of their choice. Wedding expenses (as you know) add up to quite a bit of spending. Why not donate the rewards perks for some added cheer and goodwill?
Web-based registries like Honeyfund enable you to donate a percentage or amount given to you by guests and well-wishers to a charitable cause of your choice. Additionally, you can consider registering for items you intend to donate. Just be certain to label the items as such so guests know exactly what they’re gifting and why.
You don’t realize how expensive flowers are until it comes time to select floral arrangements for your wedding. Unfortunately, flowers also have a short life span, and most event arrangements aren’t exactly reusable in home decor. Instead of letting your guests take home the arrangements or, worse, disposing of them at the end of the evening, consider contacting a local nursing home, rehabilitation facility, or senior-citizen center and inquiring if it would like to repurpose your flowers. Many facilities will love the gesture, and it will bring smiles to residents, patients, and hardworking care providers alike. (Just remember to hold on to your own bouquet to preserve it!)
Depending on your caterer and/or venue, you may be able to bring home and box up all leftover food. This can amount to quite the feast, which you may not even have room for in your fridge and freezer. Aside from the top layer of your cake (which you should save for your first anniversary), consider donating the leftover food to a local shelter. You’ll feel great knowing your carefully created menu isn’t going to waste, and many will be more than grateful for the opportunity to eat a delicious, quality meal for the first time in a while.
Volunteering on Vacation
Consider spending a portion of your honeymoon helping others. Whether through Habitat for Humanity or local organizations, there are numerous ways find a volunteer opportunity while abroad. Although you certainly need some rest and relaxation after the wedding, helping others while basking in your newlywed glow will be an incredible feeling.
Attire & Accessories
For a truly altruistic experience, consider donating your wedding gown, bridesmaids' dresses, accessories, and more. If you truly don’t have a need to hold on to these (or fear they will spend the rest of your life in the back of your closet), there are tons of brides out there in need of wedding-day attire. What a beautiful feeling to know that something that brought you so much joy and happiness on your big day can be shared with others to make their own memories!