(Closed) Charitable Donations instead of Gifts…

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
4887 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I think its one of those things where you’re technically not even supposed to assume you’ll be getting a gift, so to tell someone how to spend their money is against the ‘rules’.

The best way you can go about this, IMO, is to not have a registry at all, then donate all the money you get to a charity if your choice.


ETA:  When you write your thank you notes, you DO NOT TELL YOUR GUESTS that you donated the money, or where it went.  Just simply thank  them and say that it’ll be put to good use.  I know I’d be pretty put off if I gave unknowingly gave $100+ to a cause I don’t believe in.

Post # 4
366 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I am not sure exactly how other people feel, but to me this is along the lines of asking for money. Only because it is exactly that, a cash contribution it may not be to you but it is still asking for cash. Plus then you run into the issue of what if you guests don’t like the charity you pick? Those are just my thoughts on why it might be off putting though.

Post # 5
10288 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

Asking for donations sounds good in theory but the PP’s are right, by doing this you’re basically assuming that your guests will be giving you a gift and dictating what that is. I don’t know if I’d personally be put off by this request but I bet a number of my family members would be. I don’t know how this works in your circle but in mine, wedding gifts are almost always monetary. What about just making the donation yourself with the gifts you receive? Even if you get the dreaded toaster or blender, I bet certain charities would be more than happy to take those off your hands. 

Post # 7
10288 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

@KristenGotMarried:  TOTALLY agree. 

OP, definitely don’t mention that the gifts were donated. That’s between you and the charity. No-one else needs to know that. 

Post # 8
4887 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@KelsieLea7:  Here’s the thing though:  a honeyfund is cash directly to the couple with the intent that it’ll be used for the couple’s honeymoon.

What you’re talking about is telling the guests to go ahead and put their money somewhere else.  Many guests might even say they donated, and not do it.  I’m still willing to bet you’ll still get cash though, so the whole telling people where to donate will be moot… plus it just kinda comes across as just a touch uppity.  Like, we’re so well off that we dont need your cash kind of thing.  Even though I’m sure that’s not the message youre trying to send.

I just really think you shouldn’t mention anything about it.  Just don’t register, let people feel liek they’re giving you a gift if they choose to do so, then use the money however you see fit.

Post # 9
17 posts
  • Wedding: October 2012


I agree with not mentioning it on the invite for the reasons mentioned above. 

My Fiance and I are making a donation to several charities instead of full-blown guest favours.  We will be leaving a small favour for each guest at their place setting, along with a small card indicating that a donation was made in their name to XXXX charity.  Perhaps you can combine the monetary gifts you receive in this way?

Just a thought Smile  Best wishes!

Post # 10
4125 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

It’s acceptable to write “in lieu of flowers” for funerals, so I don’t see why you can’t put something similar for a wedding…  It’s one thing to ask for money, it’s another to suggest a worthwhile cause.

Post # 12
1855 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

Instead of asking for charitable donations, you could give a donation as your wedding favor. Fiance and I are having a small wedding (40 people), so we’re doing a box of 4 different flavored Macarons, with a card saying a donation has been made in their (the guests) name to Neuroscience research. 

So it’s always an option to make a donation as a favor, instead of giving people gifts that they may not use.

Post # 13
2589 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

OP –  we will not make any mention of gifts at all in our invites,

but on our website, we’ve worded it this way:


Most importantly, it is your presence, rather than presents, that we are looking forward to most. We are extremely thankful to be able to say that we truly don’t “need” anything, except the continued support of our family and friends.

We have registered at:

  • (amazon)
  • (viva terra)
  • (CB2)

  • We would be honored by a donation to the United Front Against Riverblindness in lieu of a traditional gift: UFAR is a charitable organization that distributes medication to prevent Riverblindness in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This organization is important to us as A interned with the founder and traveled to Africa with him. To donate, click the link to open the UFAR website, and then click on “Contributions” in the left-hand margin of the page. If you donate, be sure to mention the XXX/XXX wedding, so that we can thank you for your generosity. Click here to donate to UFAR

Post # 14
3265 posts
Sugar bee

Charity is so personal. No matter what you choose people will have a problem with it. I personally vet the charities I am going to donate to very thoroughly to make sure my money is going to the cause I am supporting, that they aren’t spending too much on overhead, that they aren’t damaging in any way.

I also don’t think weddings are a platform to be used as a fund raiser.

If you want donate what you get after the wedding. But it is not polite to dictate what your guests give.

Post # 15
735 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

One more chiming in to agree – Mentioning that you’d like your guests to donate to a charity in lieu of gifts is tantamount to assuming that those guests will be giving you a gift.  And that’s not proper.  So this information should not go anywhere that registry information would not be printed (i.e. it doesn’t belong on invitations.)

The suggestions for adding the information to your wedding website in the section dedicated to the registry is as acceptable as having registry information published there.  (The acceptablitiy will vary depending on your social circle.) 

Even more traditional would be to mention it to your Maid/Matron of Honor, bridesmaids, mother, Mother-In-Law … and possibily one or two other key key people associated with the wedding party.  These are the people that the guests will question if/when they would like registry information.  – This doesn’t always work if your guest list has people who aren’t traditional, or don’t know your family & bridal party though!

If you are especially fond of the charity and would really like to be sure that a donation is made on behalf of your wedding, embrace the idea propsed by @the_future_mrs:  and make the donation yourselves, in lieu of favors… a $4 favor is rarely a keepsake (it’s just tough to do in that price range!) but a $400 donation ($4 x 100 guests) can be pretty meaningful to a charity.

Post # 16
1595 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Honestly, I think it’s a great idea…not sure why so many people are against it.

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