(Closed) Charity Donations as favors?

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
46402 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

You can choose to donate to charity but it is not a favor- it is in lieu of a favor.

Your money will likely be better spent than using it for most favors, but it does not relace a favor.

There is no rule that you must have a favor. You do not need to do one at all.

I for one, would not  be telling my guests that we made a donation in lieu of a favor. I do not tell anyone about my other charitable donations. There is no need to tell them about this one.


Post # 4
3265 posts
Sugar bee

A favour is something FOR your guests.  A charitable donation is not a gift FOR someone. It is not polite to say to people, we thought about getting you a gift but decided not to, so we spent the money elsewhere.  Even if the sentiment behind the gift is lovely.

It also seems a little self congratulatory.  If one wants to make a donation to charity go nuts, but it is not polite to tell everyone about it.

Charity is also a very private and personal matter.  Many people, very carefully vet which charities they want to support. Even if you pick a charity like the cancer foundation, you think who likes cancer right?  Wrong, lots of people are against them saying that they spend too much on research and not enough on living with the disease.  It isn’t much of a favour to attach someone’s name to a charity they are against in principal.

Not directed at the OP, but I also find it odd that you see many posts about in lieu of favours, but I’ve yet to see one sign saying “in lieu of wedding shoes, the bride is wearing old flip flops, so a donation could be made to help homeless pygmy goats”

Post # 5
1627 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I actually also asked on this. Here’s more replies on the idea if you’re interested: http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/wedding-favors-idea-tacky-or-thoughtful

In the end we are doing cute ring pop favors and attaching a card that said we are making donations to specific charities on our guests’ behalf. I really thought about the bees opinions but also really wanted to do the donations bc they are for charities that directly affect family members of the bride and groom (that is included on the tag). So we felt this was a good alternative. πŸ™‚

Post # 6
1778 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

This is a VERY popular trend.  For reasons PP said and others, it is not my cup of tea.  I personally feel a little awkward at weddings where they do this, I would rather not have a “favor” at all.  To me, charity would be if the bride and groom gave 10% of their gifts to charity.


I think the photo booth is lovely and that could be a favor.  What about tiny picture frames to put the photos in? (assuming there are print outs)  Or a candy buffet/bar is always a nice (and relatively inexpensive) way to go.


For my wedding we did lucky bamboo as a favor in a small clay pot, I still here from people (almost 2 years later) that their bamboo is alive and doing well and they love it!


Whatever you pick, just make sure that YOU love it and are happy with it. 

Post # 7
1043 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I agree that donations are NOT favors in the literal sense.  And I cannot argue with PPs when they say that donations are personal – people have very different values and therefore support very different charities.

But, I will say that coming from a very charitable circle of family and friends, this would be appreciated within our circle.  I personally like the idea and I’ve seen David Tutera use the idea with a bride for donations to Make-A-Wish.

I’m in the minority here, so I’d suggest maybe thinking about the guests that will be at your wedding and how they might feel…  πŸ™‚   

Post # 8
827 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I don’t really agree with people who say that a charitable donation can’t be ‘in lieu of favors’ because you are taking the money you would have spent on each person’s favor and spending it on a ‘gift’ of charity. I attended one wedding where this was done and very much appreciated that the money was spent for a good cause rather than a shot glass with their names on it that I would toss in the garbage. I feel like this is what more and more people are doing nowadays anyway- myself included.

However, I totally understand what PP said about not everyone agreeing with the charity itself because I’m sure we’ve all heard stories about how money can be misappropriated and such, so I’d say it is up to the bride and groom to make sure the money is being donated to a charity that really uses their donations in a way that is acceptable to the them.

Post # 9
7173 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I would rather not have a favor at all then receive a favor of a donation to a charity (that I do or do not care about) in ‘my honor’.  I DEFINITELY understand the sentiment behind it, I’m just saying this frankly as a guest.  If you want to donate ‘x’ dollars to a charity of your choosing, GO FOR IT!  But, don’t do it on display and don’t do it because you want that to be your favor.

We did a photo booth with double prints and that was an unspoken favor.  We added some wording to the bottom of each photo that read something like:  “Thank you for sharing this day with us”.

I really wanted to do some sort of edible favor or lotto ticket favor but ran out of time, money, and energy.  It would have been a nice touch, but no one knew what was in my head! 


Post # 10
40 posts
  • Wedding: May 2007

This is a great idea.  Actually, this was done very well at a wedding we attended, and was probably, to date, the most expensive wedding we’ve ever attended (I’m assuming). 

I’ve seen it done very well in two different ways…1)  a formal card placed on each person’s plate stating something like ‘in liu of favors, they were making a donation to charity’ – but stated much better than that….2)  They had a sign at the table where the seating cards were, stating that they were making a donation to the couple’s favorite charity, and listed the charity and why they chose that charity (I think it was the pet shelter where they adopted their dog…or something like that). 

If you’d rather make a donation then give your guests something they probably won’t even use anyway, then it’s a win-win!  Seriously, how many favors do you remember using after the wedding??  My guess would be zero.

Post # 11
2603 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I think that there’s a bit of a presumption with this sort of thing, which is that your donation is not a gift to your guests and you are in a way implying that it is. That’s not to say that your guests would rather an actual favor, it’s just can be taken as a sort of moral “one-upmanship,” as in, our superior ethics is a “gift” for you. 

The other problems include (as PP mentioned), supporting a charity that not everyone will agree with and the concern that you are gaining points by “announcing” your charity, rather than just doing it. 

But it’s also the thing that also changes by situation. People are less likely to take issue with personal connections–if say, the groom or the MOB was wounded in the line of duty and the charity supports wounded veterans, or the donation goes to a charity for autism research because the couple has an autistic child. 

For our party (we had a separate party after getting married in a small ceremony), we included links to charities for guests to donate to in lieu of gifts along with the registry links on our website (we weren’t expecting a lot of gifts because no one was going to witness the marriage, but upon advice from bees we decided to include the links on the website). There were three charities and all three were organizations that we had intimate ties with–either as employees, founders, or volunteers. We wrote up a little blurb about each one and stated how we were connected to each one. About 10-15 people donated overall. 

Post # 12
3583 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

“A donation has been made in your honor” does not mean their name was explicitly on the donation, and that’s okay.  I think it would be quite graceful to include this at the bottom of the menu that is placed at each plate.  I also think this is a much better option than a beer koozie, candy covered almonds, a hand mirror with your names, matches with your names, etc.  You can easily find a local non-profit that provides education services to youth.  If someone gets offended by education, well….they are useless.

Photobooth….its for both you and the guests.  You can call this the favor if you want to, and you can also do a charity if you want to.  Or do nothing!!  A lot of us do nothing because we don’t really see the point.

Post # 13
5670 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

I have seen this done at multiple weddings. However as a guest my first thought it always so you took the money that you were going to buy me a favor with and gave it away, ohh why thank you. If people want to donate to a charity then they should probably say in lieu of gifts. It’s like giving away something that is someone else’s without asking them.

With that being said I am probably worse because I didn’t even do favors. I spent the money on a full open bar and a late night desert bar.

Post # 14
42 posts
  • Wedding: July 2012

Celticbride said it best “I don’t really agree with people who say that a charitable donation can’t be ‘in lieu of favors’.”

For our wedding favors we planted a tree in honor of each guest in attendance at the wedding. Although they will not recieve a traditional gift, they will each recieve the card shown below. It will be displayed at each place setting and printed on seed paper that they can then plant if they would like. 

I dont know what your budget is like, but we did however send a pre-wedding day gift to all of the female attendees with our wedding invitations. It was a swarovski chrystal brooch that we suggested they could wear creatively and would be a photo oppertunity at our wedding. This might be a great idea for you, unless you already sent out your invites.

Hope I helped give you an idea or two πŸ™‚ Good Luck!

Post # 15
3175 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

As a guest, I prefer that the hosts just forgo favors & donate the money to a charity of their choosing privately. You’re not doing a “favor” to me, so don’t label it as such, and an announcement about the donation just seems self serving. Sorry, I don’t like it. 

I *have* heard of people doing a donation to a charity close to them “in honor of their  wedding/marriage” and I think that’s a sweet idea if it has special meaning. 

Post # 16
42 posts
  • Wedding: July 2012

@les105:  Actually with this kind of “charity” you physically give each and every guests name to the charity and they plant the tree in that guests name. So telling the guests at the wedding would make a lot of sense, how else would they know there is a tree named for them(the specific person). It’s not a standard charity but is a gift for each guest…. ever heard of naming a star after someone as a gift… yea kinda the same thing. 

What you should be doing instead of attempting to insult others people is research different charity options there are. Classless.

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