Most people love the idea of giving unique wedding gifts to celebrate a friend or family member’s big day, but often feel at a loss for what—and how much—to give. This can quickly turn to anxiety, as guests worry that what they give won’t seem impressive or useful enough, or that they won’t be able to match the amount given by a more affluent guest. If you’re getting married this year, take the stress out of wedding gifts by borrowing a page from almost-marrieds Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and newlywed Amy Schumer, and ask your guests to skip material gifts and make a donation to charity instead.
Traditional wedding gifts, such as china, small kitchen appliances, and bath towels, aren’t the must-have items they used to be. With many of us getting married later in life, there simply isn’t as much need for those “setting up house” gifts—not to mention that they may unintentionally imply some outdated thinking about gender roles, and may offend some people.
That’s why charitable donations as unique weddings gifts are on the rise, up about 3% in the past year, with an average of $338 received per couple in donations. Although Lauren Kay, deputy editor of The Knot, believes the trend to be especially strong among millennials, more mature brides and grooms—who’ve already established households, or may be getting married a second or third time—are equally likely to not want gifts; they simply don’t need more material objects, and feel better about asking guests to put their hard-earned money toward a cause that needs it.
Giving to charity is also more ethical and better for the environment than buying physical objects. That’s one reason Meghan and Harry have asked guests to give to one of 26 favorite charities, which encompass everything from charities that aim to eradicate illness in children to those that promote marine conservation and protect wildlife.
Similarly, when fans congratulated Amy Schumer on her surprise wedding in February and asked if they could send gifts, she posted on Instagram, “No gifts but thank you for asking. Instead please consider a donation to everytown for gun safety.”
Your charitable giving list doesn’t have to be as elaborate as 26 choices, or restricted to a single charity. Instead, try setting up a unique wedding gifts wish list by following these steps:
- Choose a charitable-giving website that’s easy to use and contains a variety of causes that are important to you. The Pungl marketplace makes it simple to find your favorite charities and their spotlight projects, in just a few clicks. Add them to your Wishlist by selecting the “Add to Wishlist” button on the individual project page. Then share your Wishlist with family and friends!
- Identify projects that are meaningful to you, and ask your partner to do the same. Guests will feel more connected to the causes if they feel personal to both of you.
- Select projects that allow for multiple donations, so more than one guest can donate to the same project.
- Select several different projects, at different price points. This allow guests to stay within their budget. While you’ll receive a notification that a donation has been made, the names of donors aren’t posted on Pungl, so your guests will never have to feel sensitive about how much they’re able to give.
- Create an e-mail or a digital flyer or invitation announcing your unique wedding gift wish list. Use a predesigned template from Canva or your favorite graphic design software to make it really stand out! Explain that for anyone who wants to celebrate with more than just their presence, you’d prefer they make a donation to one of several handpicked causes that are close to your heart. Include the list of projects you’ve selected, with a sentence or two about why they matter to you, as well as a direct link to the project.
Once you’ve let your guests know about your wish list full of unique wedding gifts—causes both you and your partner find personally meaningful—spread the joy! Post about your charitable choices on social media, and encourage friends to donate. You’ll feel good helping to raise funds for favorite nonprofits and organizations, and they’ll feel great knowing their donation—no matter the size—will not only benefit worthy causes, but will also celebrate your big event.