Tips to Plan a Socially Conscious Wedding

The selfish groom or bridezilla might soon face extinction – many blushing brides now plan weddings that benefit others. From donating leftover food to renting “green” venues, couples are finding creative ways to improve lives as they start new lives together.

CharityChoice, a nonprofit organization that promotes charitable giving, offers the following tips for couples hoping to give back even as they celebrate their union:

• Put charities on your wedding registry. Instead of listing KitchenAid stand mixers and new cutlery on your registry, ask guests to donate to charitable causes that are meaningful to you as their wedding gift. For example, their Web site,, allows couples to create wedding gift registries that name the organizations that they want to benefit. A pair of animal lovers might name the American Humane Society, while tree-huggers might ask guests to donate to Greenpeace or the Sierra Club. You may select your favorites from CharityChoice’s broad list of organizations. You can also have a personalized Web page and e-invitations and download graphic themes for your printer.

• Waste not, want not. Find ways to reduce the amount of waste generated by your big day. For example, print invitations on recycled paper or donate any leftover food to a local food rescue. Encourage bridesmaids to donate their dresses, perhaps to an organization that provides prom dresses to impoverished high-school students. You can even donate your wedding flowers to hospitals or nursing homes, where they’ll be sure to brighten someone’s day.

• Give donations as wedding favors. Instead of providing standard wedding favors, give your guests a charity gift card. You can pre-select a list of causes that are especially meaningful to you or allow recipients to choose from a larger list of over a hundred major charities. The charities are organized into 13 different categories, including children’s charities, causes for health and disease and environmental and disaster-relief organizations, so every recipient will be able to find a cause that is close to their heart.

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