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Asking for a Donation in Lieu of Gifts


You can never have too many bath towels, right? I know plenty of modern newlyweds ready to emphatically disagree! Asking for donations instead of wedding gifts is a growing trend steadily gaining popularity – but how do you convey this wish to your guests?


Proper Wedding Etiquette


Most wedding specialists agree that including gift or registry information within your invitation is completely tasteless and unacceptable. Instead, family members and the wedding party are typically in charge of relaying these details to the guests. If you prefer donations in lieu of gifts, these rules still apply, but there are a number of ways to get the word out.


What is Acceptable?


  • Many couples set up a wedding website to keep guests informed and to provide additional details, pictures, and more. This is an acceptable place to mention your gift intentions, including links to the charities you hope to benefit. It is typically seen as acceptable to mention the address in your invitation.

  • Registry announcement cards are often sent with shower invitations. You can have cards printed to inform guests of your donation preferences.

  • Remember to tell your wedding party and especially your parents about your plans. Many guests will stick with tradition and ask them about gifts. 

Choosing the Right Organization


Couples who decide to requests donations in lieu of gifts have a variety of options. Some couples like their guests to choose the charity their gift benefits while other brides and grooms designate a particular organization that reflects their interests. Some give their guests a choice of multiple charities.


For the most impact, I would recommend selecting two or three organizations to receive your gifts. There are donation registry websites, like the I Do Foundation, that will help you organize all of this or you can direct your guests directly to the website of the charities you prefer. You can also allow guests to make their donations by check, made out to the organization.


Other Options for a Wedding That Makes a Difference


If you’re feeling uncomfortable requesting your guests to make donations but would still like to do something for your favorite charity to celebrate your special day, there are a few options. Many couples make a charitable donation instead of supplying wedding favors. A number of organizations offer memento scrolls or place cards to honor your guests. You can also encourage your guests to make their gift purchase to benefit the needs of a local organization – books for a local library or towels and sheets for a community shelter.


Deciding to request donations in lieu of gifts is an incredible way to help others as you embark on your new adventure as husband and wife. Remember that you may still have guests that prefer to honor tradition with a wedding gift so always be gracious!


Last Updated: December 4, 2008 at 8:37 am
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