- Give Charitable Donations Instead of Favours: Choose a charity or a cause that is special to you and your future hubby (or choose one for each of you) and make a donation in honour of each of your guests in the amount that you would have spent on favours. To make this even more special, leave a personalized card at each place setting letting your guest know that this is what you did, giving them more information about the charity and how their donation helped and thanking them.
- Fair Trade or Charitable Favours: If you don't want to forgo leaving your guests with a tangible something special to remind them of your wedding day, you can make the effort to purchase fair trade favours (these are usually handmade and ensure that workers, especially women, in developing countries are paid a fair wage for their services and work in a safe and ethical environment). Fair trade hot chocolate packets, tea or coffee is a great option! You can also opt for chocolates, soaps, candles or even gloves for a winter wedding! You can also purchase favours that donate a percentage of the purchase to a charity of your choice, or a specific charity (check out Feed Your Soul Cookies!)
- Inspirational Book Favours: Read something that made an impact on your life and inspire you to make a difference? Why not leave guests with a copy to take home and read for themselves? Ask your guests to pass along the book to someone special to them when they are done with it. You can do this random act of kindness with any kind of favour! If you have any ideas, comment below. You can also use books as a centerpiece and donate them to a school after the reception.
- Charity Registry: Instead of a traditional gift registry, or alongside it, have the option for your guests to donate to a charity of your choice instead of purchasing a specific gift. A good option for this is the Crowdrise Wedding Registry.
- Donate your Wedding Dress: You're likely never going to wear it again! There are a number of charities that accept wedding dress donations (such as Brides against Breast Cancer). You can also reach out to a local church or community and ask if there is someone in need of a wedding dress who might not be able to afford it. If you know anyone who is participating in volunteer travel, ask if you can send the dress overseas with them along with the other donations they are taking with them. If you are especially sentimental about your dress or want to share it with future generations, cut a piece of the inner lace or fabric of the dress that you can preserve (and if you want to pass it down to future generations, can be sewn into another dress) instead of putting your dress in storage! Bonus: have your bridesmaids donate their dresses, too! This can even be done as a prom dress donation so that young girls who can't afford dresses can still participate! We especially love this idea to incorporate a piece of your wedding dress into a necklace you can pass down from LaceStudio on Etsy.
- Volunteer Honeymoon: Speaking of volunteer travel, how amazing would it be to forgo a traditional beach honeymoon in favour of this? Why not make the first thing you do as husband and wife be to build a school in a developing country or volunteer at an orphanage? If you don't want to give up your traditional honeymoon, you can opt to shorten it a little, or make the time to volunteer on one or two days in the country you have chosen to travel to. Check out honeymoonvolunteers.com
- Volunteer Bridesmaid's Lunch: Opt to have a day of volunteering or fundraising with your bridesmaids instead of a traditional tea or luncheon. When you are done why not treat your best (and very hardworking) girls to a homemade special dinner and a movie night at your place?
- Donate Unwanted Wedding Gifts or Duplicates: If you got three blenders or six toasters or something that you don't have space for or don't want, save yourself the trouble of attempting a return and donate it to a homeless shelter or charity. You can also re-sell them to someone brand new for a lower price and donate the money!
- Donate Excess Food from your Reception: You can ask your vendors to package it up and have someone you know deliver the food to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
- Collect Canned Goods at Your Shower and Reception: Ask guests to bring one or two canned goods with them to your bridal shower, rehearsal, and wedding day and donate them to a local food bank. This is super easy and most guests will be thrilled to do this!
- Have your Invitations Printed on Tree-Free or Plantable Paper: We especially love Porridge Papers who make all of their beautiful letterpress wedding invitations (and other stationary) from recycled fibres. When guests are done with the invitations, they can literally plant them and grow flowers! (Bonus: You can make your invitations scented)!
- Use Flowers that are In Season Locally: This helps avoid unnecessary costs and emissions associated with importing flowers that are not in season from developing countries. You can also opt for no flowers at all! Have a bouquet made out of recycled paper or beads and candles and photos of you and your husband as centerpieces! Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it's unique and personal.
- Blankets for Shelters: If you are having an outdoor or winter wedding, having a basket of blankets to give your guests to keep warm is a great idea. Why not donate those blankets to a shelter when your wedding is over?
With Sweet Love,
Vanessa + Miray