10 Thoughtful Ways to Give Back on Your Wedding Day

Wedding ceremony at the Rough & Ready Vineyards. Photo by Elizabeth Jane Photography

Heather Featherston

April 2, 2024

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Embarking on your wedding journey isn’t just about creating beautiful memories; it’s also an opportunity to make a positive impact. Today, we explore ways to infuse your wedding plans with a sense of purpose and generosity. From organizing volunteer-focused bachelorette parties to donating your dress, there are countless ways to channel your wedding budget toward meaningful causes.
Join us as we unveil 10 thoughtful and charitable ideas designed to inspire you to use your special day as a force for good.

1. Organize your bachelor/bachelorette around a cause you care about

Why not plan your bachelor or bachelorette bash around something that truly matters to you? Consider lending a hand at an animal shelter, pitching in to build a home for a family in need, or assembling food packages for those facing hunger. It’s not just about giving back; it’s about bonding with your crew and letting them see the compassionate side of your heart.

2. Let your vendors know your values

Communicate your desire to make your wedding a force for good with your team of vendors. Let them know you’re committed to having a positive impact and invite their suggestions on how to achieve this goal.
When it comes to minimizing wedding waste, engage your suppliers in discussions about their waste management strategies. Ensure there’s a plan in place to reduce, reuse, and recycle any surplus materials. By working together with your vendors, you can ensure your celebration aligns with your values and contributes to a more sustainable future.

3. Volunteer with your wedding party

When you’re planning your bachelor or bachelorette parties, think about spending a couple of hours volunteering with your friends. You don’t have to spend the entire trip volunteering, but even just an hour or two can make a big difference.
Wherever you are, there are local groups that could use a helping hand. It’s a great way to bond with your friends and give back during your engagement time.
Tables and chairs arranged for a wedding reception at the Rough & Ready Vineyards. Photo by Elizabeth Jane Photography

4. Make a charitable donation in honor of your guests

Many couples opt to contribute the same amount they would have spent on wedding favors to a charity. Lesley Smith, from Ceremony App, points out that the average US wedding favor costs $3 per guest, which can add up to a significant donation, especially for local charities.
By removing this expense from your budget and creating one or two lovely wedding signs near the reception exits, informing guests of the donations made in their honor, you can end your celebration on a meaningful and positive note.

5. Share that you’d prefer donations over traditional wedding gifts

Many couples today live together before they get married, so they already have the household essentials they need. Setting up a charitable registry lets guests contribute to a cause close to your heart instead of gifting items you may not need. Choosing an organization you’re passionate about helps guests connect with you on a deeper level.
Hanging wedding gown at the Rough & Ready Vineyards guesthouse. Photo by Elizabeth Jane Photography

6. Donate your dress to a meaningful cause

Instead of letting it gather dust in your closet, your gown can bring joy to others. Here are some organizations where you can donate your wedding dress:

  • Brides for a Cause: Sells donated dresses to support women-focused charities.
  • Brides Across America: Offers gowns to military and first responder brides facing financial difficulties.
  • Adorned in Grace: Resells donated gowns and accessories to support anti-sex trafficking efforts.
  • Your local Goodwill or Salvation Army.

Your gesture can make a meaningful difference in someone else’s life!

7. Choose local vendors who prioritize eco-friendly practices and sustainability

It’s heartening to see many wedding businesses taking steps to lessen their environmental footprint. In fact, many caterers and rental companies that create waste and use large amounts of water have started to do what they can to reduce their impact on the environment.
When considering disposable utensils or plates, opt for those made from recyclable materials and ensure your vendors have a solid recycling plan in place. Choosing eco-conscious local vendors not only benefits the environment but also contributes to a greener and more mindful celebration.

8. Donate your wedding flowers to a nursing home or hospital

Extend the joy of your wedding flowers beyond your celebration to brighten someone else’s day. You can bless those in need by donating your centerpieces.
Coordinate with your florist to arrange drop-offs at local children’s hospitals or retirement homes. Alternatively, consider appointing a groomsman or bridesmaid to deliver them the next day.
In some areas, there are companies that collect flowers after the reception and distribute them to nursing homes and hospitals. If you’re interested in donating your wedding flowers, Repeat Roses and Random Acts of Flowers are two organizations that can help give them an extended life.

9. Donate leftovers to a food bank, shelter, or animal rescue

Why not spread the love by donating your leftovers to those in need? While many food banks and redistribution programs primarily accept unprepared or canned foods, some homeless shelters are more than happy to take your untouched leftovers. And if you’re an animal lover, consider donating leftovers and scraps to your local animal rescue to support our furry friends.
Before your big day, reach out to the service nearest your venue to learn about their donation program specifics. Here are some resources to help you find a shelter, food bank, or animal rescue center in your area:

Your generosity can make a real difference in your community!

10. Host a fundraising activity

Hosting a fundraiser on your wedding day is not only meaningful but also a lot of fun! There are so many creative ways to give back and support a cause close to your heart:

  • Silent auction: Hold a silent auction during your reception and donate the proceeds to your chosen charity. You can auction off items you’ve collected or received, or even ask guests to offer their skills and services.
  • Dance with the couple: Allow guests to swap a donation for a dance with the bride or groom during the reception.
  • Song dedications: Create a section where guests can request songs in exchange for a donation.
  • Quiz: Test your loved ones’ knowledge about you, your partner, or even each other with fun quizzes. Guests can donate to participate.
  • Charity photo booth: Set up a photo booth with props and charge guests for each photo, with the proceeds going to charity.
  • Wedding-themed merchandise: Get creative and design wedding-themed merchandise like t-shirts, hats, and mugs to sell to guests, or offer as gifts in exchange for a donation.

Remember, fundraising ideas can be as unique and personal as you want them to be. With a little thought and effort, you can make your special day even more memorable while supporting a meaningful cause.
Weddings are filled with emotions, making it even more meaningful to support a charity. By doing so, you’re showing your dedication to spreading love and joy beyond your special day. It highlights the significance of generosity and kindness as you start your journey together as newlyweds.

Rough & Ready Vineyards

At Rough & Ready Vineyards, we’re excited to offer our wonderful couples who have booked their wedding at our venue the opportunity to utilize any items from our Something Borrowed Barn at absolutely no extra charge on their special day!
Couples who have gotten married at our venue love this option for their wedding day. In addition, many enjoy the chance to “pay it forward” to our future couples by donating some of their wedding items after they’ve used them.
At Rough and Ready Vineyards, we grasp the significance of your wedding day – it’s a cherished moment that you’ll treasure for a lifetime. Our dedicated team is here to ensure that your special day exceeds every expectation, just as you’ve always envisioned. If you’re eager to begin crafting the next beautiful chapter of your love story amidst our scenic vineyards, we warmly invite you to connect with us today. Let’s embark on this wonderful journey together and start planning your perfect day!

Heather Featherston

Written by Heather Featherston

Heather, an Event Manager for the Rough & Ready Vineyards, oversees the day-to-day operations. She takes satisfaction in seeing everyone happy and is always grateful for the opportunity to make this happen. Heather enjoys meeting with brides-to-be in order to gather the details needed to ensure their wedding day is perfect! “Every wedding and reception at the Rough & Ready Vineyards is so beautiful,” she says. “I love being able to see people enjoy the amazing venue we have created here!”

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