A few years ago I attended a wedding where, in lieu of wedding favors, the couple donated to a few of charities near and dear to their hearts. What a sweet and generous way to start out your life as a married couple! Today, I thought I’d share six other ways to incorporate charity into your wedding. And as an extra bonus, I'll point you in direction of five Pittsburgh organizations that can help out!
DONATE YOUR FLOWERS
For me, the only sad part of a wedding is seeing all those centerpieces being thrown away at the end of the day. Share those gorgeous blooms with someone else and donate them to a local hospital, nursing home, or other long-term care facility.
Kelli Burns and Rose Davidson of Centerpieces 4 Seniors will collect any unwanted flowers from your wedding, create new floral arrangements with them, and deliver these centerpieces to local nursing homes and senior centers. The duo have been doing this since 2015!
DONATE YOUR DRESS
I know there are plenty brides who wish to hold on to their wedding dress as a keepsake or possibly for the next generation. But if you’re willing to part with your gown, here are a couple of worthy organizations that would love to take it off your hands and put it to good use:
Littlest Angels takes donate wedding and other formal gowns and creates beautiful custom burial gowns and angel wraps for families who have suffered the loss of a baby before, during or shortly after birth. They consist entirely of volunteers - from seamstresses, cutters, designers, to other helpers - and are able to offer their heart-felt creations to grieving families at no cost to them.
This event is a partnership with the Department of Human Services and the National Council of Jewish Women to provide prom dress to student who could not otherwise afford the dress of their dreams. This would be a great way for your bridesmaids to get in on the giving back!
DONATE YOUR FOOD
According to the USDA, food waste in America is around 40% of our estimate food supply. That means almost HALF of all food in America is thrown away - 133 billion pounds!!! Chances are you’ll have some food and sweets left over at the end of your wedding. You don't have to let it go to waste!
412 Food Rescue was founded as a direct response to the disconnect between food waste, hunger and environmental sustainability. They partner with food retailers, nonprofit organizations, and volunteers to bring healthy food directly to those experiencing food insecurity. 412 Food Rescue can navigate the ever changing laws around donating food and work with your caterer to figure out what leftovers can be donated.
If you or your partner have a non-profit that is near and dear to your heart, here are some ways to can use your wedding to support them directly:
For those of you who don’t know what a Dollar Dance is, it’s a wedding tradition in some neck of the woods where the guests pay a dollar to dance with the bride. That money then typically goes towards the couple’s new life together, but why not dance for donations and give it to charity!
Through online portals like SoKind Registry, you can provide your guests with a list of charities that you and your partner support and let them choose which one to donate to. This option is great for the couple who is already fairly established and doesn’t need any more “stuff”.
RENTING FROM A NONPROFIT
Why not book your reception at a non-profit venue and invest directly with that organization? Historical houses, conservatories, museums, art galleries, theaters – all of these can make for incredible locations.