(Closed) Donating to charity for wedding favor

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
9053 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2010

I find donating as favours a little eye roll inducing, not because I feel like I’m cheated out of a Cavour but just because I find it a little attention grabbing/holier than thou. But I don’t have an issue with either charity. I saw once that a bee gave little chips and people could put them in the jar of their choice and then the couple donated the corresponding amount.  Nice way am make itinteractive at least. 

Post # 4
3267 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
963 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I agree with PPs. It’s wonderful that you want to donate to charity, but I don’t see why you need to tell your guests about it. Just make a private donation to the charity of your choice and don’t give any favors at all. No favors is increasingly common and I doubt anyone would miss them.

Post # 6
827 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I am totally in favor of donating to a charity instead of favors. I can’t imagine too many people thinking “Oh, I really wish they’d given me some trinket I’m going to throw away rather than donating to help cure pancreatic cancer!”

I like the PP’s idea of giving a chip for guests to put in a jar to determine what charity you decide to donate.

Out of the 2 choices you gave, I would donate to pancreatic cancer since it has impacted your family.

Post # 7
10453 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

@SapphireSun:  As a guest I would feel the same. Don’t do favors if you don’t like them.

But I do love your idea of the ASPCA donation. I’d actually be really happy with that.

Post # 8
402 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Either one is a wonderful charity.  My fiance and I are doing something similar, but aren’t mentioning it.  My sister and her husband didn’t have favors at their wedding, and no one noticed.

Post # 9
440 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I don’t know if it’s different in the UK regarding the etiquette of giving favours but it’s a dwindling tradition and the last 4 weddings I’ve been to didn’t have favours at all. I didn’t miss them either. In fact at the last wedding the name tags had numbers on them and they did a raffle for prizes rather than individual gifts. Still not sure how I feel about that.

Anyway, we are doing a donation in lieu of favours and we are doing it memory of my fi’s best friend who died unexpectedly last year. He would have been best man, so it will be a nod to him and we will approach his parents to ask what charity they would like us to donate to in HIS name not the guests. The guest are already being spoilt rotten on the day 🙂 so a little fridge magnet won’t change there lives but a donation to a charity might save someone elses

Post # 10
11419 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

I agree with the prior posters who expressed that, despite your best intentions to do something more positive than provide potentially useless or eventually-to-be-discarded-or-consumed trinkets to your guests, donating to a charity (however worthy you think it may be) in someone else’s name or honor is not a good idea.

Post # 11
134 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

We donated to the Christopher Reeve Foundation. We actually gave our guests book marks as favors attached to a card that stated something simlar to: In honor of ‘two names here’ who are with us today to celebration this joyous occassion, the Bride and Groom are making a generous donation to the Christopher Reeve Foundation.  The Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy.

This was easier for us, in regards to approval from guests, because we had a bridal party member from each side of the family (his and mine) struggling with spinal cord injuries. 

I do agree with PPs though, in letting the guests pick the charity. I attended a wedding once in which a donation was made in my name to a charity I do not so much support. 

Post # 12
1696 posts
Bumble bee

Etiquette does not require any sort of favour. Neither, for that matter, does “tradition”. Favours have been a temporary fad, largely born I suspect of new technologies that have made it possible for the bride and groom to have their names printed or engraved on nearly anything.

The traditional thing for a guest to bring home from a wedding is a tiny slice of wedding cake. Traditional fruit cake is hard and dense, and a girl can put it under her pillow to induce dreams of her future husband without waking up with buttercream smushed into her pillowcase. When American milling technology produced a superior white flour, it became an American tradition to serve fragile fluffy white cake instead, so eventually little cardboard boxes were provided to carry home that slice of cake. English, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand brides who continued the fruit-cake tradition didn’t need to bother with little boxes but some provided them anyway; others continued (and occasionally still continue) just to wrap tiny slices of cake in a paper doilie or foiled paper, or even just provide little scraps of foiled paper for their guests to wrap their own slice. Other brides provided Jordan almonds instead, which are even less likely to get smushed into the pillow-case.

When smoking was the fashion, brides and grooms also provided matchbooks; which by the sixties were often printed with the couple’s names. Guests carried these away because you always need a match. Smoking is dwindling, so matchbooks are no longer provided in public, and now you can never find a match when you need one, let alone one out of a teal-blue matchbook with your friend’s name embossed in brown.

No-one will notice the absence of favours. No-one will think “Oh I really wish they’d given me some trinket”. Some people might think “well, how boastful of you” when you announce your charitable giving, and as always in social situations, the mention of financial arrangements will make some people less comfortable. By all means give to charity, and forego favours. But don’t discuss money at social events.

Post # 13
1446 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I think both of the charities sound great! I might lean slightly more towards 1 since it has directly affected your family, but both seem like great choices!

Post # 14
8682 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

@andielovesj:  I am with you on this and have often posted about the fact that as a guest I would be much more impressed if a couple said that instead of centrepieces we have donated to xyz charity. As a guest I don’t care about favours but equally I don’t care about centrepieces or chair sashes. Giving to charity is about giving something of yours up (cash, goods or time) and to give up favours is giving up something on behalf of someone else! The purpose is to go without to feel empathy for those that are suffering.

Just FYI there have been investigations into donations to the ASPCA and how much actually funnels down to local SPCA branches. There were also allegations that a lot of the animals seized in puppy mill etc raids actually end up dead rather than passed onto shelter for rehoming. Very few charities are without some kind of contraversy. Your guests will have differing views on differing charities.

For example my vegan Darling Husband would be offended if you gave to a pancreatic cancer foundation if they funded medical research because he is against animal testing. Don’t assume that you knwo what will or wont offend your guests.


Post # 15
3697 posts
Sugar bee

We are making a donation (but not publicizing it) and giving out little bundles of fair-trade chocolates purchased from a local fair trade shop. Not sure if something like this would suit what you’re looking for?

Post # 16
1715 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

@aspasia475:  i do believe the tradition goes back quite a bit further since sugar was given by the wealthy in adorned containers to there guests and this was considered a show of there status.


I would never give a trinket but have gotten many calls from guests saying how incredible our favors are. We made red pepper jelly and BBQ in mason jars and its been a hit since people got home and back to the BBQ.

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