I wanted to make this blogpost because this is something close to my heart personally. When I was a teenager I started volunteering in charity shops, (my local Barnardos) and working for Crisis at Christmas. Nowadays, although I no longer have the time to donate, I still do a lot of my bargain hunting through charity shops with my charity shop trawling buddy Harriet, buy the Big Issue and give money where I can to various causes. I feel extremely lucky to have grown up relatively privileged and safe in the knowledge that I’m surrounded by family and will therefore never be homeless, but I know so many others aren’t as lucky so it’s important that people in a position to help do what they can.
For my own invisible-years-in-the-future wedding, I’ve always known that I would be incorporating charity into my wedding for several selfless and selfish reasons! Firstly, as I’ve said, I feel it’s really important to help other people who may not be as fortunate in life as you. Secondly, it’s eco friendly as it’s recycling used goods! Lastly, it can save you lots of money!
Here are 5 ways to incorporate charity into your wedding, you don’t have to do all 5 together, but even if you did only one, you’d still be helping out others in some way which is great!
1. Get your wedding supplies from charity shops
This is something I will be doing a lot personally (much to my mum’s horror at the idea that I’d wear a second hand wedding dress). When I worked in Barnardos, I learnt that some charity shops tend to store all the wedding dresses they receive and do a wedding themed month (ours was January) where they will have racks of wedding dresses, shoes etc. If you go into your local charity shop and ask, they might be able to tell you if they have anything currently stored or when they’d be selling their wedding donations.
Also, a lot of clothing labels actually donate their end of line stock to charity shops, so if you’re a bit squeamish about wearing something secondhand, a lot of people don’t realise that charity shops get a lot of new stock in as well. If your local shop isn’t doing a wedding month, you can always go to Oxfam Bridal where you can either buy online or go into one of their 10 specialist bridal departments. They also sell bridesmaids dresses, bridal accessories etc. so you can kit out the whole wedding party in one charitable go! When you’ve had your wedding day, you can even donate the dress back to a charity shop so that someone else can benefit as well!
2. Have charity favours
Let’s be honest, wedding favours often get left at the end of the night on a chair or in the lamb gravy, so why not make sure your wedding favours don’t go to waste! Instead of a favour, you can buy the £1 ribbons/badges on behalf of your guests and put them on the place settings. That way, even if a guest forgets to take it home, the money has already gone to a good cause so nothing is lost! Also, lots of the charities have cottoned onto this idea already, so if you don’t want a standard pin, they actually do special wedding charity favours that come with a little personalised card such as these lovely ones designed by Jenny Packham for Cancer Research which you can get here.
3. Ask your guests to donate to charity instead of a gift list
Nowadays in the modern world, a lot of couples live together before getting married anyway, so no one really needs that fifth toaster or a cutlery set for special occasions that you’ll get out once every few years. If you’re a married-to-be who already has all the household items you need, why not set up a charity registry with the I Do Foundation and get your guests to donate to charity instead of a gift list? If you find that you are missing certain things in your life and still want to have a traditional gift list but also want to donate to charity, many of the department store gift lists allow you to add a charitable donation as an optional extra. All you have to do is let them know that you’d like to add a charitable donation to your gift list and they can arrange it for you.