Celebrating love

25 amazing ways to support charities on your wedding day


In this guide:

Weddings are a very special day for couples and their families, and it's an even more wonderful event when people use their wedding to make a positive difference in the world. Charitable weddings are an amazing way for couples to show their love for each other, as well as their support for a good cause.

But supporting charity as part of your wedding day is a relatively new concept. For couples who are intrigued by the trend, it’s worth noting that including any charitable elements in your big day should only add to the joy – it isn’t about sacrificing any parts you’ve been dreaming about for years.

Recognising all the ways your guests go out of their way to support a cause which matters to you, in honour of your union, is important too. They may have never been asked to support charity as part of a wedding celebration so it’s likely you will have some questions.

With our advice, you can discover many of the answers and find plenty of inspiration, including how to make your special day even more meaningful. We'll explore ways to incorporate giving into your celebration, why donating to charity is important, and how it’ll benefit both your guests and the organisations you choose.

Chapter 1

The impact of charity at weddings


In the UK, there are over 278,000 weddings every year, with an estimated annual £14.7bn spend.

That’s broken down to:


on wedding days


on associated retail


on travel, tourism and pre-wedding events

If more couples look to support charities and causes as part of their celebration, it could have a real and meaningful impact. After all, it's not only a great opportunity to start your married life on a positive note, but it can really help an industry in need.

While around 5,000 new charities register with the Charity Commission each year in the UK, a similar number close down. As a result, the number of charities has remained fairly static for some time.

Further statistics from Charities Aids Foundation (CAF) Charity Landscape Report for 2022 reveal more into the state of charity in the UK:


of charity leaders are pessimistic about government support for the sector


say that generating income and achieving financial sustainability is one of their top three challenges

Only 50%

are optimistic about the future of the charity sector in general, but 81% are optimistic about the future of their organisation

But there is reason to be optimistic. The public have always been generous. In fact, we are – and have always been – the largest source of income for the voluntary sector.

According to a 2022 report from NCVO (The National Council for Voluntary Organisations):

The general public continued to be the largest income source, making up £30bn or 51% of the voluntary sector’s total income.

While weddings with a charitable focus are a newer idea, people have always looked for ways to support causes which matter to them – whether that’s through donations, fundraising, or other efforts. When planning for a wedding day, it's important to keep in mind the wonderful opportunities there are to support charities.

Chapter 2

How to support charities on your wedding day


Weddings are emotionally-charged days, so choosing to support charity really demonstrates your commitment to spread love and joy even further. It commemorates the importance of generosity and kindness as couples embark together on their journey as newlyweds, but how exactly can you support charities on your wedding day?


Make a donation to a charity in the names of each of your guests

Set the tone to your charity-focused wedding from the off by making donations on behalf of each of your guests. It’s an incredibly meaningful gesture that will not only show just how much you care, but also your intentions to give back as part of your wedding celebration.

This is incredibly important for other charitable efforts where you may be asking your guests for money or time. Not only is this an opportunity to spread goodwill, it can be a great conversation starter with your guests as you share the story of why you chose that particular cause and how they make real change in the world.


Make sure all service providers you hire understand your aim

When you’re planning a wedding with charitable giving at its core, it’s essential all vendors you hire understand your goal. It may be a determining factor in who you work with. Communication is key, so make sure to have many conversations with them regarding your aims, expectations, and other details — explain why it is important so they feel connected and engaged in this goal too.

Not only will they be aware of the importance of this day to you, they can also offer creative ideas on how to raise funds or involve guests in supporting the charity. Because a lot of the success surrounding giving back at this special event hinges on everyone being on the same page, take the time to ensure that all your providers make your day as meaningful as possible. They may even donate themselves.


Ask for donations instead of receiving wedding gifts

In somewhat of a cultural shift, couples tend to live together sooner and marry later in life nowadays, so they often don’t need the same gifts that would typically be given at a wedding – for example, homewares. If you know your guests would still like to get you something to commemorate your wedding, you can ask for charitable donations instead.

There are a couple of ways you could organise things. An online donation page can be shared ahead of the wedding, as well as on the day. Or you could set up a charity gift registry with several options so guests can choose a cause that’s more meaningful to them. But make it clear it is optional for guests to donate or you may risk adding too much pressure.



Host a fundraising activity

Hosting a fundraising activity on your wedding day is a meaningful – and fun – way to give back and support a cause you care about. There are plenty of creative ways to go about hosting a fundraiser, including:

Silent auction

Couples can run a silent auction during their wedding reception and donate the proceeds to a charity of their choice. You could have an auction of items you’ve collected or received, or even ask people to auction off their skills and services.

Dance with the couple

During wedding receptions, guests could be able to swap a donation for a dance with the bride or groom.

Song dedications

Similarly, you could have a dedicated section to allow guests to request a song for a donation.


Why not take this chance to see how well your loved ones know you and your partner, or potentially each other? You could organise quizzes about you, their own partners or perhaps around the theme of love and ask for donations for participation.

Charity photo booth

Photo boots are incredibly popular at weddings and it’s great to have a photograph to take home with you as a memory. Couples can set up a photo booth with props and charge guests for each photo with the proceeds going to a charity of their choice.

Wedding-themed merchandise

Creative couples might want to go one step further and create wedding-themed merchandise like t-shirts, hats, and mugs to sell to guests, or gift in return for a donation.

Fundraising ideas can be as creative or personalised as you like. With thoughtfulness and effort, it’s possible to make your special day even more memorable while supporting a worthwhile organisation in the process.


Invite a speaker from the charity you support

Inviting a representative from your chosen charity as a speaker gives you the opportunity to put what you believe in front and centre, while giving your guests an amazing chance to show your appreciation for their work. Hearing first-hand stories about the impact of the charity will be incredibly powerful and make a lasting impression on all of your guests, potentially encouraging further donations. This gesture should allow guests to feel connected to the cause and hopefully encourage them to get involved in making a difference too.

The charity or charities you choose to support is entirely up to you, but government income to small charities has declined by 20% over a five-year period (between 2013/14 and 2018/19), but increased for charities with an income over £100m. It’s important to think about where your generosity could have a larger impact.


Spread the message in other ways

It’s not just about the money you can raise, though. Supporting charities is also about raising awareness about their cause. Newer or smaller charities can struggle to draw attention to their cause and raise their profile while operating in the shade of some of the UK’s most well-known charities. But over 90% of households have used a charity at some point, according to older data, so it’s incredibly important to acknowledge how integral charities are to us.

After fundraising events, charities also often benefit from on-going donations and relationships. The same could be achieved from weddings if the message is spread clearly. You could:

  • Include information on your invite or wedding website
  • Share personal stories, especially if the charity has supported you or your family in some way, as part of the wedding speeches
  • Ask for people’s email addresses to share with the charity
  • Follow up with your guests and let them know how much everyone raised together


Donate unused food or bubbly drinks at the end of the night

Donating leftover food or bubbly drinks at the end of the night is a thoughtful way to give back, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Once food is opened, cooked or prepared, it has to be eaten or it will end up as waste. You can only donate food and drink which hasn’t been opened.

As a result, the average catered event wastes between 15% and 20% of the food it produces.

So it’s important to communicate with your venue to only open and use as they go to avoid waste which cannot be reused. Donating unopened food or drink enables couples to put those resources to better use by sharing them with those in need, rather than throwing them in the bin. Not only does it benefit others, but it also ensures that no one is wasting food or spending unnecessarily on what will inevitably become waste.



Think about the food choices

Food is often one of the top priorities for a wedding day, so why not find a meaningful way to embrace charity and make smart food choices at the same time. Consider asking your caterers to prepare a vegan or vegetarian dish, and donate funds to animal welfare organisations.

After all, animal welfare was the most popular charitable cause in 2021 with 28% of donors supporting animal causes.

It doesn't matter how much or how little you can donate, every little bit helps.


Take an ethical honeymoon

Ethical honeymoons are seeing a steady rise in popularity as an opportunity for newly married couples to focus on giving back as they kick off the next chapter of their lives together. Ethical honeymoons are all about having a meaningful experience that will benefit the planet, people, and culture of the chosen destination.

From building houses together in community-based organisations to helping endangered sea life, newlyweds can find countless ways to engage with the wider world on ethical honeymoons. Taking an ethical honeymoon is a great way to add a unique twist of charity to your wedding day that reminds newlyweds of their commitment to one another, while benefiting the lives of others. You could choose to dedicate your whole honeymoon to community and conservation projects, or just a day or two. For example, popular honeymoon destinations such as the Maldives or South Africa offer the chance to visit paradise and have a positive impact on the local area.

Maldives Holiday Destination


Choose all suppliers and vendors carefully

Beyond simply telling those you’re working with about the charitable focus of your wedding, you’ll want to choose ethical suppliers – those who have philanthropic goals too. One way to do this is to shop and work with B Corps. Accreditation proves to customers that a company considers people and the planet, alongside profits. It’s all about making business a force for good. Only businesses that are able to showcase leadership in sustainability and ethical practices are awarded B Corp status.



Consider non-profit organisation spaces for your wedding venue

Hiring a venue is expensive, so if that money can go towards a cause, it’s a fantastic start to hosting a wedding with a charitable focus. There are many unique non-profit organisation locations that could make fantastic locations for wedding receptions. Consider:


Historical sites

Art galleries

Animal sanctuaries

Botanical gardens

There may be somewhere that’s incredibly meaningful to you, such as where you’ve been on a date or a place with family significance. Even if a venue doesn’t advertise weddings, it’s always worth asking – especially if their income goes directly towards the protection of the environment, art, or history. What you pay for hiring the venue will be equivalent to a generous donation.


Donate your wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses

For couples who want to do something that aligns with their values and make a positive impact on the world on their special day, why not think about donating your wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses? After all, you will only wear the dress once.

With the average wedding dress costing £1,350, it’s one of the biggest wedding expenses, besides the venue and the food.

Bride trying on wedding dresses

Wedding dress donations are a wonderful way to create joy in the lives of others. Even after your big day is long gone, you still gave back in a meaningful way. Donations can be given to organisations that help crisis brides or low income families find a beautiful gown for their special day. Your gift ends up brightening someone else’s wedding day, providing them with memories that’ll last a lifetime and allowing them to look stunning in photos they will cherish forever.

Wedding dresses


Decorations can also be gifted to charities

Chances are your decorations can also be re-used – and not just specifically for weddings. Charities often run their own fundraisers which would likely benefit from gifted decorations to elevate an event and drive further interest and donations.

Wedding Venue


Spread the word on social media

Social media is a powerful tool – in fact, 55% of people who engage with nonprofits on social media end up taking some sort of action, including donations and volunteering. So when you’re trying to spread the word about your unique wedding aspirations (before and during the day), make use of your own social media channels. Share an inspiring message that highlights why this is so important to you and specify the charity you have chosen.

Be sure to include simple instructions on how guests can send contributions if they wish to. Perhaps someone who couldn’t make the wedding will be reminded of the great cause you’re supporting, or someone you work with may pass on the message to your employers. Corporations often have larger budgets for donations.


Provide wedding favours which support local causes

We’ve already spoken about the importance of raising awareness, but there are more ways you can do this. Wedding favours can easily be overlooked or even wasted (edible favours, for example). Instead, you could use these guest gifts with more meaningful items that support local communities or causes – ethically-sourced honey or handmade soaps perhaps. It’s particularly nice if the favour showcases an underrepresented cause, but certain charities do offer wedding favours you can buy. Some examples include:

Wedding flowers


Plant a tree in remembrance of your union

Getting married is a special moment in anyone's life, and it is an occasion that should be celebrated. What better way to embrace charity on your wedding day than by planting a tree in remembrance of your union?

A living tree is a romantic way to symbolise the growth of your relationship – one you can continue to enjoy for years to come. But trees also provide much-needed benefits to our planet, which is why planting trees has become a popular way of offsetting emissions. There are companies who you can pay to plant trees for you, who typically work to protect forests and preserve wildlife habitats, or you could simply plant your own in your garden.

Tree planting


Place donation boxes around the venue

Placing donation boxes around the venue on your special day provides guests with a simple way to give back and make a difference in the lives of others. The physical presence also serves as a great reminder that even while celebrating a momentous event, there are still those out there who need our support and kindness. You could choose to include information on the charity somewhere to encourage further donations. Make sure you include some money in the box already to build momentum, and welcome small change too However, you may need to advise people to bring cash. Alternatively, you could go cashless if you have the capabilities to take card donations with a simple tap.


Have charity in mind at the stag and hen dos

If your goal is to give back, it’s important to incorporate charitable activities into pre-wedding celebrations too. This could focus around things like:

Volunteer work

Consider volunteering for a day before heading out for your party event. This could be anything from helping out at a local soup kitchen to a beach clean-up. As everyone is getting together anyway, it’s a great way to make a larger impact as there should be a group effort.

Charity fitness events

Stag or hen dos often involve an active element, so organising a fitness event such as a fun run, bike ride, or obstacle course feels like a good fit for the occasion. The only difference would be the sponsored element where participants can commit to raising a certain amount of money for charity in exchange for participating in the event.

Entertaining fundraising

If fitness isn’t your thing, you can make a challenge out of pretty much anything – from cake-eating contests to lip sync battles, with set entry fees going to charity. What about a three-legged pub crawl with targets for each pair raising a certain amount of money for charity? Be as creative as you can.

No matter which approach or activity is chosen, the goal should be to have fun while supporting a worthy cause. After all, choosing to prioritise charity as part of your wedding doesn't mean you sacrifice any elements of the wedding – it simply adds to the occasions.

Women socialising


Run games on the day to raise money

Wedding entertainment is an area where couples can get really creative. In return for a small donation, you can provide games for your guests to take part in. Funfair, carnival or garden games are particularly popular and relatively easy to set up. Here are some ideas:

Giant Jenga

Bouncy castle

Ring toss

Bean bag toss

Giant Connect-Four

Hook a duck

Coconut shy

Having some small prizes (or simply awarding a winner) can boost engagement. Everyone loves a competition.


Give away flowers

Charity doesn’t always have to take the form of a donation. It can simply be an act which spreads joy. Wedding flowers are beautiful, and deserve to be enjoyed way beyond just a day. You could arrange to give the flowers used as part of the décor to retirement homes, hospitals or other places with patients or elderly people in need of cheer. Just be sure to organise this ahead of time as certain places may have restrictions.

Bride and bridesmaids with flowers


Shop at charity shops for your outfits or decor

Weddings cost a lot of money ( £18,400, on average, in fact). The outfits and decorations can make up a big chunk of this budget, so rather than spending money with for-profit organisations, you could buy items from charity shops where possible. It will take a bit more effort to shop around for what you’re looking for, but it’s a worthwhile investment of your time and money. You could even make this a fun shopping experience with family and friends ahead of time. You’ll know what you’re spending is having an impact on a charitable cause, rather than adding to the bottom line of a company who may or may not.

Leading charity shops in the UK – typically selling a selection of clothes, accessories, books, and home goods – include:


Sue Ryder



British Heart Foundation

Cancer Research UK

Wedding flowers


Think about how you spend

In the lead up to your wedding, it’s likely you’ll be spending a lot of money. You can make this money go further with cards that support charities too. With every purchase, you could be making a difference because certain cards will donate a percentage of each charge to a charity. Examples include Charity Charge or charity-branded options, such as Shelter and the RSPCA.

Be sure to compare the percentages of what will be donated to charity, though, because you may be better off with a cashback card where you earn a percentage of what you spend back on everyday purchases. This could then be gifted to charity. It’s all about making the money you would be spending anyway go further.


Accept drink donations

If you’re providing drinks throughout the night or on arrival, you could ask for a small donation. The average price of a pint is £3.95, so if you’re able to set up options for accepting donations – for example, pre-set card amounts of £1 or £2 – then your investment in the day can have a more meaningful impact too. When guests are receiving something, they may also be more likely to feel comfortable donating too.

Men drinking alcohol


Create thank you cards for all attendees

If you have chosen to include a charitable focus on your wedding day, then it’s important to recognise the support your guests have shown you by attending, engaging and donating. Whether they’ve simply shared the charity on their social media or they’ve donated their skills to a silent auction, a big thank you will mean a lot.

While charity-focused weddings are becoming more popular, it isn’t that typical for guests to be asked for donations so it’s important to recognise how guests may have gone out of their way to support something which matters to you in honour of your union.

Wedding thank you notes


Continue your relationship with the charity

If you are supporting charity as part of your wedding celebrations, it’s unlikely you need this reminder. But it is important to acknowledge the power of on-going support. Regular commitments and donations play a huge part in what a charity can do. Knowing what support they can continue to expect offers great reassurance amongst the unpredictability and instability of running a charity.

Chapter 3

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