Many brides and grooms are already blessed to have everything they need and want. Others simply want to be environmentally conscious. Having a charitable component in your wedding doesn’t mean you need to skip gifts all together, but with the stress and craziness of wedding planning, we wanted to share ten gratifying ideas that will allow you as a couple to give back on your special day – socially, locally and environmentally.

1. Link to favorite charity on your registry.   Add a link to your registry. Should guests feel obliged to donate in your name in lieu of a gift, or as a part of a gift, they can do so through your registry. Create a wedding gift registry with the I Do Foundation and up to 8 percent of the gifts purchased will be donated to your favorite charity.

2. If you and your fiance are passionate about a museum or historical site, ask if you can rent it and hold your reception there. Not only are you having your wedding somewhere special, but you are donating money in support of the arts. Also, make sure you find out if any of the rental fee is tax deductible.

3. Donate leftover food to a food rescue organization.  Food rescue programs differ from food banks because they pick up both perishable and non-perishable foods. Food items not consumed at a wedding are perishable, and some food rescue programs will pick up food from the reception to local shelters and soup kitchens that same day. Feeding America has an extensive on-line network of over 200 food banks and food-rescue programs. Your local soup kitchen can also refer you to food rescue programs.

4. Donate Your Flowers. Consider donating your flowers to a local church, hospital, or assisted living facility.  Your beautiful centerpieces will surely put a smile on anyone’s face.

5. Silent Auction centerpieces off for charity.  Guests would love to take your fabulous centerpieces home, and auctioning them off for charity is a great and easy way to raise money for your favorite charity.

6. Donate in honor of your guests. In place of guest favors, give a donation to your favorite charity in honor of your guests.

7. Give seeds or a small tree as a guest favor.   Give back to the environment with a symbol of new life. Seeds are also a fabulous green wedding guest favor.

8. Recycle Your Dress. There are many organizations that will gladly take your dress and use it for a good cause. And you will most probably be able to write off your donation.

  • Making Memories.org. Donate your wedding and bridesmaids dresses and support the fight against breast cancer
  • The Cinderella Project. Donate your gown and allow young women to attend their high school formal occasions without worrying about the financial burden

9. Support local farmers and florists.  A single wedding leaves a significant ecological footprint and a great way to have a green wedding celebration is to partner with environmentally friendly, local vendors who follow sustainable business practices.

10. Dedicate one day of your honeymoon to helping others. It may be hard to give up one day of your honeymoon, but working for a cause you are both passionate will be a wonderful and gratifying memory you can always look back upon.