Image by Kyra Boyer via Loran & Simon’s Botanical Inspired City Wedding at Glasshaus Inside

It’s been a horror summer of bushfires for many towns across Australia, and it’s normal to feel helpless and perhaps even guilty if you’re busy planning your wedding day in the midst of such devastation. But the good news is there’s a way to give back – to any cause that’s close to your heart – and make it part of your celebrations. Asking for charity donations instead of gifts or giving to a charity in lieu of wedding favours is a really positive and meaningful way of making a difference on your special day.

Here’s how to go about giving back on your wedding day:

Step One: Choose a charity you’re both passionate about and proud to support. It may relate to health and finding a cure for illness, the environment, education, or social justice. Your choice of charity may be a very obvious decision or it may require discussion – whatever you choose, be true to yourselves and your shared values.

Step Two: Decide how you’d like to incorporate charity fundraising into your wedding day – would you like to encourage donations instead of gifts, or would you prefer to contribute to a charity in lieu of wedding favours. Either way, they are very thoughtful and generous gestures and your guests will likely see it that way too.

Charity donations in lieu of gifts

The best way to ask for a donation rather than a gift is by including this on your wedding invitations and your wedding website (if you have one).

Keep the wording simple, for example: “Instead of gifts, we ask for your help in giving back on our wedding day. We would greatly appreciate a donation to our favourite charity…“. Make sure you note whether your chosen charity is tax-deductible. You may decide to also include a more traditional gift registry option too, so that you’re giving your guests a choice.

Charity donations in lieu of wedding favours

This is becoming increasingly popular at weddings (and even engagement parties). Instead of giving out wedding favours or bonbonnieres, you’ll make a small donation per guest, and in return you’ll receive a card for each guest from your chosen charity, informing them you’ve made a donation in their honour.

Need inspiration? Here are some of our great charities making a difference:

The Starlight Children’s Foundation, dedicated to helping sick kids, will supply you with a card and special pin, when you make a donation per guest, in lieu of wedding favours:

At The Australian Cancer Research Foundation, you’ll also receive a card to form part of your place settings, letting each guest know their wedding favour is a donation in their honour:

It’s a similar set-up at Dementia Australia and anti-domestic violence organisation, White Ribbon Australia

The RSPCA has two options for fundraising on your wedding day. You may opt for wedding favours or alternatively, you can direct your guests to your own fundraising page.

If you register your wedding with Breast Cancer Network Australia, they will send you envelopes (to be sent to your guests as part of your invitations), asking them to make their own donation:

The Royal Flying Doctor Service allows you to build your own personal fundraising page, making it easy for your guests to donate:

There are also websites that will host your fundraising page, so all you have to do is choose a charity then provide your guests with a link to your page:

Finally, congratulations on your upcoming wedding and for considering celebrating your love by giving back!

Ms Zebra Says: We recently did this at our engagement party and LOVED it! It felt so nice to give back to those going through tough times, rather than piling up the gifts at home that let’s face it, we don’t really need!

About Melissa Polimeni Marriage Celebrant: As a celebrant, my job is getting to know couples and crafting memorable and engaging marriage ceremonies. I will treat your wedding day as I would my own special occasion – with joy, excitement, care and consideration, careful attention to detail and constant support.