Thinking of using a donation in lieu of favors? Read this first!

One of the most oft-discussed topics on this board are donations in lieu of favors. The discussions have gotten fairly heated in the past, so I thought it would be a good idea to create a sticky with some of the best advice this board has seen.

If you're considering this option for your reception, the two posts below encompass two rather different points of view on the topic, and will provide you with fabulous advice on this controversial topic.

The only thing I will say personally on the subject is that, if you do choose to make a charitable donation and advertise it at your wedding, give serious consideration to the organization you choose. For example, weddings are not, in my opinion, the place to advertise political or religious donations that could spark unpleasant conversations during your reception.

From trix1223:
Make your donation.  I believe in donations.  I make them myself.  I think they're a good thing to do.

But don't pretend that they're a favor to your guests.  Because they're not.  They're a favor to the organization, and to you.  You're taking the money you'd spend on a little something for your guests and giving it to someone else.  How do you figure that's a favor for your guests?

Honestly, I don't need a favor.  I don't really want a favor.  You're already giving me food, drinks, entertainment.  I don't need a matchbook or m&ms (although I LOVE m&ms) as a thank you.

But please don't in any, way, shape or form think that giving $$ to a charity is somehow doing something for me.

I'd liken it to a guest coming to your wedding and giving you a card that says "In honor of your marriage, I have given a donation to the "eastern micronesia tsunami prevention fund".  It may be important to your guest, but it probably doesn't mean anything to you.  So it's not really a gift for you, is it?

From StageManager14:
Okay, I'm gonna go against the grain here (again).  We did a donation IN LIEU of favors (meaning instead of, because the ladies are right, donating to a cause YOU support is not a favor to anyone else.)

I don't think there's anything wrong with doing donations as long as you follow a few guidelines.

1) make it a charity that is important to you and that you have some sort of connection to outside of the wedding. Just making a random donation because it's your wedding day definitely reinforces the "this is about looking good" vibe.

2) Don't do cards for every table or every place setting or whatever.  If you want to announce it, do one discreet sign that is in a high traffic area (like cake table or guest book table) and be done with it.  Plastering announcements all over your reception is very "look at how awesome we are" and also makes your wedding look like a fundraiser.

3) Do not put anything about the donation being "in honor of" your guests or in their name.  First of all, it gives the impression that you have now publicly linked your guest's name to a charity that they had no say it, which is rude at best and can be REALLY bad if it's a charity they oppose.  And secondly, it's a lie.  The charity does not need or ask for a list of your guests' names.

4) Don't do a favor on TOP of the donation that is themed to it, even if given out by the charity.  Wristbands, announcement cards, etc all cost the charity money to produce.  So by accepting them, less of your money is actually going to that charity.  If the charity is really that important to you, then spend the money for the DIY cards or hershey's kisses with tags or whatever on said charity as well.

ETA: Also, don't mention it in relation to favors.  Just say "Bride and Groom have made a donation to blah blah blah.  They would like to thank you for coming and sharing their special day." or something to that effect.

5) Realize that this is a controversial topic in the real world too, not just on the knot.  So, there's a good chance that at least 1 person who attends your wedding will secretly sideye your choice to do this.  If you can live with that, then go for it.  But do not convince yourself that the ladies on here who oppose are just bitter evil hags and YOUR friends and family are all better than them and would never see it as a bad thing.  That's naive and incorrect.
**i'm a little drunk on you and high on summertime** Photobucket

Re: Thinking of using a donation in lieu of favors? Read this first!

  • asialee2asialee2 member
    edited December 2011
    We originally decided to do candle favors, but when we found out that my dad had cancer we decided to also make a donation to the cancer society. 
    95% of the people who are coming have been hit hard by cancer, and ever since I was little I was always doing some kind of fundraising for cancer. 
  • edited December 2011
    Like Jesa, my fiance and I are making contributions two organizations that are close to our hearts.  We are going to have a little card in a frame on the table where guests pick up their place cards.  I am trying to not use the "in lieu of favors" wording but am not liking anything I read... any ideas???
  • edited December 2011
    You're also posting on a sticky which is not a discussion thread.  We've had countless discussion threads on this and Stage and Trix's answers sum up the opposing sides.  For anyone reading this sticky though, I can tell you that the overwhelming majority of people on the actual discussion threads sided with Trix.

    Proud to be an old married hag!! image
  • auramarieauramarie member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    You can always do both.... stick a tag on your truffle box that says you've also made a donation.
  • abbaumbaughabbaumbaugh member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    My fiance and I are getting married on a lake that I grew up on and means a lot to both of us.  I lieu of favors, we are giving a donations to the preservation society that keeps the lake the wonderful place I remember it to be as a child.
  • schbucli3schbucli3 member
    edited December 2011
    this post just made me decide to do this!  Almost everyone coming to our wedding knows how much are dogs are our babies and how much we love animals. I'm going to donate 1-2$ per guest to Siberian husky rescue.....So much better than stupid wine charms!! BTW- my cake toppers are a bride and groom siberian husky!!
    What a great idea to donate!! Thanks
    Warning No formatter is installed for the format bbhtml
  • edited December 2011
     My thoughts are--YOU are "hosting" the wedding, even if your not paying for most of it,  the guests are there for YOU as a new couple starting off your life so it is your choice where you spend your money on favors. Whether its a wine stopper, lenox bowl or something more important to you as a couple. You have to stop and think what means more to you...a chochkey or something more.
    My nephew was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was 2 years old, he is now 6 years old and doing great. My family has been through hell with him being sick, cancer effects everyone. If your inviting people that are close to you then that means they know you or a general idea of you, they will know the trials and tribulations that you have been through. Even if you dont have something that hit so close to home, you can still spend your money towards a cause. You are why they are there so, if you choose to spend your own hard earned money on something that means something to you then why second guess yourself?
  • tldhtldh member
    edited December 2011
    AKA GoodLuckBear14
  • my fiance and i are doing charitable favors AND regular favors, maybe homemade candy or something. 
    our lives revolve around our dog. he is our world! we are donating to
    the animal shelter from where we adopted him. everyone who knows us,
    knows our dog is number 1.
    i am a huge, huge animal lover and thats probably one of my biggest attributes.
  • I think the original sticky should be updated to better reflect what is now deemed as acceptable and how the majority of people feel. I think 2 years ago this was seen as tacky and stupid because it was new. Now that people 'get it' I think the overall opinion has changed. Perhaps a new poll on the subject? it also bothers me that the 'opposing side' includes 3 'don't's that the majority of people who make donation favors DO. what is well accepted now and what used to be is changing. let's update this crap! 
  • I love this thread. I think you ladies have some really great ideas and I shared on my blog.

    Thank you!

    Wedding Favor Ideas: Charity in Mind? http://blog.weddingcrowd.com/wedding-favor-ideas-charity-in-mind/ What are YOUR thoughts?
  • We ultimately decided to do the charity donation instead of individual guest favors and what brought me to this articlce was my basic search for how to word this in the correct manner.  I didn't realize it was such a heated discussion and controversial topic! Wow!

    I, too, have been to countless weddings and have lost, broken or discarded the favors.  Once I started the wedding planning process for our wedding, I had to sit and really think hard about what I received at recent weddings for favors...couldn't remember.  I even asked my friends who got married (not within this past year) and many of them couldnt even remember what they had themselves! So, that sealed the deal for me! No individual favors (although my mom still insists on the traditional Jordan Almonds...but, that's another topic).

    I did go to one wedding where the bride/groom gave to a breast cancer charity organization because the groom's mother passed away from breast cancer when he was a teenager. It was more of a "in memory of" and "in lieu of favors" framed piece of paper...however it was placed on the gift table in front of the card box so they actually got change and random money put in it because people thought it was a donation box! Oops. Tacky!

    That's why I'm here...I need to read some suggestions and constructive criticism on how best to do this.  I really think more people should do this...unless the favors are something of real value that the guests WON'T forget at the table after a night of taking advantage of the open bar.  I'm not being cheap, I just want to use our money in a wise and productive way.

    Thanks for the input!
  • Hey ladies, let's try to keep the sticky thread discussion free. If you'd like to further discuss donations v. favors, start a normal discussion thread please! Thank you!
    **i'm a little drunk on you and high on summertime** Photobucket
  • I am wondering about how people feel about a donation in lieu of favors at a destination wedding. We will already be leaving welcome bags in the hotel rooms when people check in as a thank you for travelling down for the wedding. The hotel we are staying in has some sort of partnership with a local school. My fiance and I are both teachers, so we thought it would be nice to make a donation to the local school as a thank you to the people of the area for allowing us to host our wedding in their country. I am pretty sure we will make this donation regardless of whether we advertise it at the wedding or not, so do you think we should inform our guests that we made the donation, maybe by writing a little blurb and framing it at the main table, or should we just keep it private? Can anyone think of a reason it would be considered rude if we do alert our guests that a donation was made to a local school? I really am wondering, because I want to make sure I don't accidentally commit a faux pas that I didn't even think of.
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