Things You'll Need
- Donation cards
Many couples look forward to using wedding gifts to build their homes together, but others choose to forego gifts altogether and ask their guests to make donations to a charity of their choice in their honor. Whether it's because they come from wealthy families or have previously been married, not every couple needs or wants wedding presents. Guests should honor a couple's choice to collect donations for their chosen charity, as it was likely selected because it holds special meaning for the couple.
Wording a Donation Card
Keep your message simple so as not to confuse guests. Clearly state that you do not want gifts, but do so in a polite manner. Remember, some guests are not accustomed to wedding donation requests and may not understand why you don't want a gift. Others may be confused about whether they should make a donation and still give a gift. Write something such as, "In lieu of gifts, please donate to an organization that is very special to us." This clearly tells guests not to get a gift for you. If you want to explain why you have decided to ask for donations, say something such as, "We have everything we need, but not everyone in the world is so lucky," before you ask guests to make a donation.
Tell guests how to donate. If your charity allows donors to contribute online, provide the Web site address on the card. Write "You may contribute online at," and then include the charity's Web site address. If the charity does not take donations online, provide a mailing address where a donation can be sent. Tell them to whom the check should be payable. Elderly guests may be more comfortable with sending a check, so if you can, provide both online and mailing methods. If you want your guests to specify that the donation is being made on your behalf, tell them how to do that in accordance with the organization's guidelines.
Explain to your guests why you have chosen the charity. If they know the reason behind your choice and how it relates to you as a couple, they may be more inclined to donate. For example, if you and your spouse have each lost a family member to cancer and are asking guests to donate to a cancer research organization, write something such as, "We have each experienced the grief and loss that cancer can cause. In honor of our union, please consider donating to an organization that is working to prevent other families from experiencing this pain." If you are both environmentalists and want guests to donate to a nonprofit that supports recycling efforts, write, "A healthy planet is very important to us. In lieu of gifts, please consider making a donation to an organization that supports our vision for a sustainable world."
Instead of foregoing gifts, some couples choose to use the money they would have spent on wedding favors on a donation to their charity of choice. This is an easy way to allow guests to get you a gift, but still feel that they have participated in a charitable endeavor. Print a message explaining your choice on cardstock and place it at every seat at your reception. Your message should say something like, "In lieu of favors, we have made a donation to a charity that is meaningful to us." State the name of your charity and provide its Web site address so that guests may learn more about it and make additional donations if they wish.
Talia Kennedy has been writing professionally since 2005. Her work has been published in "The New York Times," "San Francisco Chronicle" and "The Sacramento Bee," among others. Kennedy has a master's degree from the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.