Instead of providing traditional chocolates or candle favors, here’s how one couple shared the love and gave back. Here is one couple’s story and a dozen other options that might better fit.
We all like to get wedding favors like candies, fragrant candles or sachets of potpourri, however, if my opinion is like most, although kind, they are usually not very useful or matched to my taste. I’ve received a few vanilla-scented candle favors that I hope to successfully re-home soon.
Making a charitable contribution instead can be so much more thoughtful and evidently a whole lot easier too than getting pounds of chocolate to distribute in the middle of the summer… On a day in which you will be showered with so much adoration, attention, and gifts, it will do your heart and spirit good to give and that warm feeling will spread to each guest and the 100-tree forest that grows in place of a barren one, touchingly in each of their names. Your guests will most certainly be impressed with such a mindful expression of good taste. The icing: The cost of the donation you might be tax-deductible. We discovered a couple Jen and Alex who experienced the Donate a Tree wedding favor and they walked us through their humanitarian efforts and are happy to report that the process is pretty simple. Here is their story:
Jen & Alex
The Cause: Help the environment
The Gesture: Jen and Alex planted trees in the name of each guest who attended their wedding. They made plans through the National Arbor Day Foundation, which plants trees in national forests that have been destroyed by fire, insects, or disease. The foundation even has a rainforest protection program. “We wanted to give something more meaningful and long-lasting than sweet, or,” describes Jen. “We knew we wanted to do a charitable favor but didn’t wish to just contribute cash. With the trees, each person knows there is a tree out there that has actually been planted just for them, which makes it really special and personal.”
The Cost: $1 per guest
The Information: “I did it all online in about 10 minutes!” exclaims Jen. Weeks before the wedding event, she logged in to the National Arbor Day Foundation website ArborDay.com, went to the donate-a-tree section, and paid with a credit card.
The Presentation: For each place setting, Jen and Alex created a table setting card for each guest that included a picture of a tree and included text that explained the charitable contribution. You can even get a little creative and generate positive affirmation with an inspirational quote that changes with each guest at the table such as: “Of all man’s works of art, a cathedral is greatest. A vast and majestic tree is greater than that.” — Henry Ward Beecher or, “He who plants a tree plants a hope.”-Lucy Larcom and, “It is difficult to realize how great a part of all that is cheerful and delightful in the recollections of our own life is associated with trees.”-Wilson Flagg
Make It Your Own: There are so many other giving options such as Save the Elephants (SaveTheElephants.com); the Sierra Club (SierraClub.org); or Greenpeace (GreenpeaceUSA.org).
Others Options: Physical Favors from Charitable and Fair Trade Organizations
Some couples opt-out of favors altogether and spend the money that would’ve been allocating to guest gifts on a charitable organization of their choice. If you choose to go forward with this option, it’s recommended to include ample signage on the tables or somewhere centrally located so that your guests know about your awesome donation! If you can, it’s great to include a little blurb of information about the charity as well as why it’s a cause that means a lot to you and your partner. This will help personalize the donation and also may spur your guests to donate themselves as well! Although a few more traditional guests may not love the idea of you skipping the favors, most will understand and love that you’re using your event to support a cause you love!
Small Favor with Donation Card
If you’re not comfortable completely ditching the favors, another option would be to opt for a more modest favor with an attached card or paper with information about your chosen charity and the donation you’ve made. This option is the best of both worlds — your guests will still leave with a small token of your appreciation, but you’re also able to spread the word and donate money to a cause you love. This might be especially effective if you know that you have many more traditional guests who might be put off by the idea of no favor, as it still provides the personal touch of a small gift, but also highlights the charitable aspect of your approach. Now, of course, it’s your wedding and you should do what you feel is best! But if you wanna minimize potential guest conflict, this is just a nice middle-ground option!
Physical Favors from Charitable or Fair Trade Organizations
Some charitable organizations actually create physical objects you can purchase that will, in turn, help them. For example, when you buy brownies from Dog Tag Bakery, you’ll not only get some delicious chocolate treats, but you’re also supporting an organization whose goal is “to build a bridge to business employment and a productive civilian life for returning veterans with disabilities and caregivers that have served our country so well.”
Purchasing items from companies that provided ethically sourced, Fair Trade gift items like One World Fair Trade is a great option if you don’t want to nix the idea of giving your guests a gift, but you want to be sure that you’re supporting organizations that give back to the product makers. You could even go with a company like Equal Exchange to provide Fair Trade coffee as a cute, inexpensive but ethical favor item.
A Roundup of Organizations and Charities who might fit better for your needs:
To feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.”
The organization also pushes for better research and solutions into the causes for autism spectrum disorder.
Working closely with other organizations like Suicide Prevention Lifeline and The Trevor Project.
Another very well-known organization, between 1989–2014 their efforts have helped to reduce deaths by 38%.
One of the largest humane societies in the world, their mission “is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”
In times of crisis they “roll up their sleeves” and provide time, blood, money and services to those that need it the most, everything here goes to a greater cause.
Every holiday season, Toys for Tots goes around collecting new, unwrapped toys for to less fortunate children within the community.
This time birthdays are the focus. Their mission “is to bring JOY to homeless children through the MAGIC of birthdays.”
Helping worldwide, Doctors Without Borders delivery emergency medical care where it’s needed the most.