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donation over favors

I've been to a few weddings lately where instead of getting a favor there is a place card at each table that explains that in lieu of favors the couple has made a donation to the (insert charity here). I thought this was a great idea, but wanted to get some opinions. Most of the time I think favors are a waste of money unless you can afford to get people something really nice. Also, at my brothers wedding a lot of people left their favors behind- personalized Hershey bars! We are planning to spend a good chunk of our budget on food/drinks/entertainment so I thought it would be okay to do the donation instead of favors. I think a charity would get much more value from a lump sum then each person would get from a candy bar....

Re: donation over favors

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    Favors are never required and are usually the first thing to be cut regardless of budget. Donations are not favors under any circumstances. If you want to donate to a charity that is near and dear to you, then do that but *keep it private between you and the charity*. Your guests do not need nor want to know at all that you donated to a certain group, especially if it is something they don't personally agree with. Also, whatever you do, never do anything in your guests' names because many charities will go after your guests for future donations, which is not appreciated, again if the guests have personal conflicts with the charity in question. You may think it's a great idea to announce it, but it's really a bad idea and despite your best intentions, it does come across as "look at what we did".
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    I understand what you guys are staying, i just though it was standard etiquette to explain why there were no favors, as all the weddings i've gone to that have gone this route did so. I understand that it isn't necessary to do so, but I also don't think putting out a small card to let the guests know that you've done this is bragging or will offend anyone. I think a lot of the guests at our wedding will expect favors (that's just what's done in our area/family, whether it's necessary or not) and I would rather have people think (incorrectly) that we are bragging then offend some of our guests. I think just one card on a common table is a better idea then individual cards on each dinner table
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    In response to this same question during the summer, a wise knottie pointed out that you don't tell people about something they're not getting.I was just about to post my standard answer to find that I had already been quoted.  ;-)Do your donation, but don't feel compelled to announce it.Ditto
    The Bee Hive Est. June 30, 2007
    "So I sing a song of love, Julia"
    06.10.10

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    Sorry Mrs.B-I didn't mean to steal your thunder!  I thought it was the best answer to the question I've seen.  From now on, I'll leave it to you to give your answer, or at the least attribute it to you.  =)OP:  Were you just looking for affirmation here?  Because it sounds like it.As for left over candy bars-where's the downside of that?  =)
    "Trix, it's what they/our parents wanted. Why so judgemental? And why is your wedding date over a year and a half ago? And why do you not have a groom's name? And why have you posted over 12,000 posts? And why do you always say mean things to brides?" palegirl146
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    I'm just messing with you Trix....glad my explanation made sense and stuck  =-)
    The Bee Hive Est. June 30, 2007
    "So I sing a song of love, Julia"
    06.10.10

    BFAR:We Defined Our Own Success!
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    Julesmarie - almost every wedding i have been to, they have made a donation.  I have never ever heard anyone complain about it or think the couple is bragging about the donation.I think its a great idea, and much better than a favor that most people either won't care about or won't take home.  There is also nothing wrong with letting your guests know about it.We are putting a card at each place setting saying something like "we have made a donation in honor of our wedding to the American Cancer Society".  It states nothing about in lieu of favors and doesn't say the donation has been made in the guests name.I say you should do it - i have never heard of an issue with this before the knot.
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    "Julesmarie - almost every wedding i have been to, they have made a donation. I have never ever heard anyone complain about it or think the couple is bragging about the donation. I think its a great idea, and much better than a favor that most people either won't care about or won't take home. There is also nothing wrong with letting your guests know about it. We are putting a card at each place setting saying something like "we have made a donation in honor of our wedding to the American Cancer Society". It states nothing about in lieu of favors and doesn't say the donation has been made in the guests name. I say you should do it - i have never heard of an issue with this before the knot. " Thank you! I don't think any of my guests would think it was bragging, but instead would think it was a nice gesture that explains why people are not getting favors. end of story. Also, nowhere in my original message did i say i would be making the donation on behalf of any of my guests, i would never do that. Plus, it will be going to our local animal shelter....seriously, who would be against that? We have a dog and a cat so it is something that is very close to us and our guests know that. I understand that i asked a question and am now getting feedback, but it seems that some people just post on boards to pass judgement and not actually help....
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    "Why do you need to tell people if you aren't trying to show off? " This was one of the posts I was referring to...it is not helpful in any way...just judgemental. I explained why I felt i needed to tell my guests, so this post was just unecesary. Sorry, I should have been more specific, not all of the posts were this way and I appreciate the opinions I got from both sides.
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    Honestly, i really don't think the guests would even be putting this much thought into it.  No one will complain about not getting a trinket.  For my wedding, they will be getting a really nice meal, open bar, and some yummy cake.  They will see the donation, and think, that was a nice gesture.  This is just my opinion.  Maybe its different in other parts of the country, but that is how i feel it works around where i live.  I really don't ever see it as bragging or offensive, unless of course its a controversial charity.  However, cancer and animal shelters are not controversial, IMO.
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    Animal shelters can be very controversial. People have strong feelings about the kill/no-kill policies either way. If you happen to have an animal activist on the guest list, you are risking offending them. My question was not meant to be mean. I just can't understand the logic behind needing to tell people that you made a donation, other than wanting to boast about it. I still don't think you've answered it. I make donations, large and small, all the time. If I were to walk around telling everyone about it, people would think I was completely class-less. Why on earth would this suddenly be appropriate for a wedding?
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    My mother passed away from breast cancer so we are doing the "In Favor of a Cure" Pink Ribbon Favor Boxes.  We are filling these with Hershey Kisses.  10% of the cost of the boxes are donated to Breast Cancer Research.  So we are getting the best of both worlds, making a donation as well as still giving the guests a small treat.  I am not making any kind of announcement or putting anything on the boxes that state it was for charity.  This is my silent tribute to my missing mother on my wedding day. 
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    bf - that sounds like a great idea!!! I think the reason couples want to let people know about the donation is because its for their wedding.  No, you don't tell everyone everytime you donate money to a charity, however, this a very special time for the couple, so there is nothing wrong with letting people know about it.  They are coming to your wedding to celebrate with you, so what is wrong with telling them about your donation in honor of your wedding? FI and I looked through the better business bureau to make sure we used an accredited charity to donate to. As far as animal shelters, i'm not familiar with them, but if guests know the couple, and know this charity is important to them, i don't see why they shoud be offended.
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    I actually kind of like bf's idea.  Could you purchase favors where the profits go to a charity that means a lot to you?  For example, if I wanted to do a donation, I might purchase something being sold as a Relay for Life fundraiser since my family walks in the Relay in memory of family members who had cancer.  No need to say that the favors are for charity.
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    because it's not any random donation...it is a donation made with the money that we would have spent on their gift. It's almost like saying to your guests "because you are okay with not getting a favor this charity is getting the money instead... so thank you for being okay with it" even though the guests don't really get a choice in the matter it's because of them the charity is getting the money (even though i'm not putting the donation in their name) Just because YOU don't see a reason for something doesn't mean there isn't one....
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    "My question was not meant to be mean. I just can't understand the logic behind needing to tell people that you made a donation, other than wanting to boast about it. I still don't think you've answered it. I make donations, large and small, all the time. If I were to walk around telling everyone about it, people would think I was completely class-less. Why on earth would this suddenly be appropriate for a wedding? " my last post was in response to the above
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    And just because YOU don't understand why it's rude to boast about donating money doesn't mean it isn't.
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    I think most people "announce it" because it's something that is really meaningful to them and they want to share that with their friends and family. I know for us we've chosen the donation as a way to honor FI dad who passed away a few years ago. I think both are familes will appreciate the gesture. Below is the wording we're using.. We’ve chosen a special way to say thank you for sharing in our wedding day. A donation has been made to (Charity) in loving memory of (Insert Name). We feel the finest gift is one which helps others live longer and healthier lives.   Thank you for your love and support on this special day.   Dominic & Sarah. October 9, 2009
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    hello! so glad to see you post this question since i've decided to do donation favors. this is what we're doing and i think it's super symbolic and reasonable. my dad and my fiance's grandfather both passed away from cancer. i had heard about donation favors, but didn't like the idea of my guests receiving nothing. i came across the idea of giving a bracelet from an association as a gift to each person with a tag. i found through the american cancer society a black tie string bracelet with a silver bead that said "hope." i felt this was so fitting for us. they are a dollar a piece and we'll be getting enough for each guest. the card will read: "in honor of [my dad] and [my fiance's grandfather], we have made a donation on your behalf to the american cancer society."as far as i'm concerned the guests can toss the bracelets if they don't want them, but the money will go a good cause. i agree with you about favors being a waste, you can't imagine how many plastic ornaments i've received over the years.
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    I stopped reading this post about half-way through but here's my two cents...do the donation if that's what you want to do. You know your guests better than anyone on this board. Sometimes I think people on this board get way too serious about other people's weddings. I've been to plenty of weddings that do donations "in lieu of favors" (gasp!) and guess what? I still love the couples that did it because they are our friends and family...even if it was a charity that I don't support - who really cares? And if someone has a problem with you donating to an animal shelter then they have bigger problems than your choice of charity. Who ever brought up the kill-shelter/no-kill-shelter thing...that's RIDICULOUS. Kill shelters need money too - so they don't have to kill as many animals.
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    I agree with MrsMFB. I don't agree that telling your guests that your money went to a charity is boastful at all.  I think it's a great idea and plan on doing the same for my wedding next year!  Good Luck!  :)
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    i have been thinking about doing the same thing. unfortunately favors have not fallen out of fashion in my area yet. to me, the reason to state the donation to charity is to minimize the complaints from obnoxious family members who feel like they are "entitled" to a teeny tiny picture frame or whatever other tzotchke. at least they would know why they aren't getting a favor. i was thinking of giving to Oxfam or the Heifer Project, which are on the lower end of the controversy spectrum.
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    I think that it's extreme to be so concerned with ettiquette regarding doing a good thing! We are making a donation to a German Shepherd breed rescue that we've been involved with ever since we fostered and then adopted one of our dogs through them. It means A LOT to us. We are choosing to share this with our guests because it's an amazing, but very small and poor organization. If even one person visits their website as a result of the card placed by the guest book then I will be a very happy person. And if anyone thinks that's cheap or tacky, I really think that's shallow of them.
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    IMHO, I think it's fine.  We did donations to the ASPCA and used the cards at each table. In terms of people who thought I'm 'showing off' that I spent money and made a donation  they can think whatever.  Both my husband and i love animals and it was an issue close to our hearts. Favors or donation it's what's important to you.  It's your day; if you do what makes you happy you'll have a happier wedding.It worked for me:)G\L,  Jessica
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    I completely support this! It's definitely going mainstream too with places like The Ritz-Carlton offering something similar I've heard. It's a program you can select when you book your wedding their called A Vow To Help Others and a percentage of your food cost will be donated back to the charity of your choice and then you can put the small placecard at each seat, or one at each table to let them know that's been done. WAY more meaningful than an item that most guests will simply leave behind.
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