Charity: Make it Your Wedding’s “Something New”

When planning a wedding, online access to friends’ wedding albums, DIY blogs, a parade of competing vendors and a plethora of websites can be inspiring…and overwhelming. In an industry where advice is handed out like candy and society sets expectations for everything from ring size to dress size to guest list, it‘s hard to remember that a wedding is not a competition. (Well, unless you’re on a reality show. But who can keep up with the Kardashians anyway?)

I was in three weddings this past year, each with its own flare. And it’s not the fancy meal, the lighting, or the color of the bouquet ribbons I remember. It’s the personal touches like receiving Save the Date cards on Willy Wonka-inspired golden tickets, watching the bride walk down the isle to Pure Imagination, laughing at the groom’s delivery of a comedy routine before the vows, and being asked to share marital advice using an antique typewriter. (This inspired moments of hilarity from my 20-something peers who had never used such a “high-tech” device. Luckily the parents stood by to help.) Now those were unforgettable moments.

Of course you want your wedding day to be special and express who you are as a couple. And ultimately, when all the elements come together to really capture that spirit, it makes an impression.

What’s trending now?

Many couples are personalizing their weddings by registering for charity and requesting donations for causes they care about. With organizations like I Do Foundation, it’s easy to manage a charity registry online, simple for guests to donate, and convenient to get a ready-made gift list when it’s time to send thank you notes. As a serial bridesmaid, I know anything that makes the after-wedding rituals simpler is appreciated!

For some couples like Annette Toutonghi and Bruce Oberg of Seattle, Washington, registering for charity made perfect sense. “We have everything we really need,” they said. “Physical gifts seemed wasteful. We are passionate about human rights, the environment, and the arts. And have quite a few loved ones who we’ve lost to cancer. What a wonderful gift to feel like our special day could benefit these causes.”

They’re not alone in their thinking. With nearly 70% of couples living together before marriage and many waiting until later in life to get married, home and kitchen items just aren’t needed. They want to make their day about something else. Charity gifts are an inspired, eco-chic option that shares the love in a feel-good and meaningful way.

For other couples, a charity registry offers a chance to give back locally. “We lived for decades in Minneapolis before moving to California just before our wedding, and wanted to benefit a charity that serves that local community,” explains Eric and Becky Bausman of San Mateo. “The notes from our guests reflected the true spirit of our celebration—they completely understood that this was about choosing to celebrate our joy by sharing our blessings with the world around us.”

What a wonderful world

Take a cue from popular wedding songs to personalize the charity choice for your wedding:

  1. Marry Me – The most important part of your day is joining the two of you as a couple. What causes and issues do you and your partner care about individually and together? Charity registries let you select favorite organizations so you can share your love with others.
  2. Celebrate good times – Weddings reunite family and friends and are a time to remember someone special who is not there to celebrate with you. Why not honor them and their health struggle by giving to make a difference for the cause? It’s a great way to include them in your day.
  3. Shout! – Let guests know about your registry by sharing a custom link in an email, on your invitations, and through social media—telling them how their gift to charity will mean the world to you.

“We felt giving our guests the opportunity to donate on our behalf would add to the good energy and feelings of love surrounding our wedding. It can be easy to get caught up in table decorations, favors, or any number of small details,” comments Elizabeth James of Santa Monica, California.

When it comes to starting a marriage off on the right foot and remembering what’s important, I think there’s no better way than to include charity on your special day. When I plan my own ceremony, I know I want to represent who I am and my dedication to charity, and I’m confident my partner will share this passion with me. I would love for my guests to be a part of the causes I hold dear and to leave the wedding feeling like we made a difference together.

Charity makes it easy to celebrate generously and creates not-to-be-forgotten wedding memories.

P.S. Still looking for inspiration? Visit A Soolip Wedding – they’re having events in San Francisco and Los Angeles, offer Ways to be Green, and support conscious vendors (like I Do!).

Check out I Do Foundation on Facebook!

– Michelle Koffler, Marketing Coordinator

Share the Love

I’ve celebrated Valentines Day many ways – from quiet nights at home with take-out and chick-flicks, to roses and fancy dinners with reservations made weeks in advance. Most years I felt a twinge of regret after the flowers wilted and the dinner bill was paid.

So last year I gave homemade gifts. From heart-shaped cat nip pouches to conversation heart cookies, Martha Stewart’s Everyday Living is my go-to site for fun and thoughtful gifts for all the Valentines on my list.


This year I’m taking it up a notch with personal gestures of love that last longer and make a bigger impact. For my animal-loving sister, I’m giving a gift collection, with donations to four charities dedicated to animal rescue and protection. For my Mom, who is new to philanthropy and loves discovering local charities, I’ll select a GiveNow charity gift card that lets her choose and make a difference for one of them.


For my friends getting married this year, I’ll remind them that the I Do Foundation has many ways to share the love! From creating a gift registry with stores like Target and Macys, where a percentage of purchases benefit their favorite charities, to choosing charitable favors with customized cards for their guests, there are many creative and budget-friendly ways to include charity in their special day. If you or someone you know is interested in creating an eco-friendly celebration with style, check out several great ways to Celebrate Green at I Do Foundation too.


Not only is February 14th Valentines Day, it’s also the start of Random Acts of Kindness Week! This site is full of simple sharing-the-love ideas for at home, at work, and at school – like donating used books to a library, making care packs for the homeless or offering to babysit for a family member.


Tell a friend about JustGive. Then jump over to Facebook and Twitter to tell us your thoughtful and creative plans for sharing the love this month.

The Growing Trend of Charitable Weddings

From favors to registries, ways for anyone to give back for that special day

Charitable Weddings Visit

Eight years ago when my soon-to-be wife and I were planning our wedding, we thought long and hard about how our wedding could reflect who we are and the love we share.

Like many engaged couples, we found a beautiful site—overlooking the confluence of two rivers. We involved our families and even took a painstaking amount of time finding just the right poem for the ceremony. But we weren’t able to share one important part of our lives: giving back.

I Do Foundation was founded for couples like my wife and me who want to make charity a part of their wedding. Backed by the work of organizations like I Do and JustGive, the trend of charitable weddings has grown by leaps and bounds—nearly 20% of engaged couples explored giving back last year.Celebrate Green

By joining forces this past November, I Do and JustGive became the most comprehensive charitable wedding source for brides, grooms, and their guests. As the unparalleled leader in helping people create socially conscious affairs, we’re committed to helping you and your guests to give back and go green at weddings.

Planning a Socially Conscious Wedding

Together, we offer engaged couples the largest variety of free services at In addition to personalized wedding websites and comprehensive tips on socially-conscious and green weddings, we help soon-to-wed couples raise money for charity in a variety of ways:

  • Gift Registries that Give Back: Create gift registries with major retail partners, and receive up to 10% back for the charity of choice.
  • Wedding Favors for Charity: In place of traditional favors, make charitable donations to honor guests.
  • Charity Registry Create a Charity Registry and allow guests to make donations in lieu of traditional gifts. (With more than 1.5 million charities on site, it’s a cinch to find ones that matter to you.)
  • Shopping for Change: Purchase invitations, honeymoons, rings and other services through I Do Foundation and generate donations for charity with each purchase.

Tools like these mean that we can look forward to the time when someone returns from a wedding, and people ask: “Who was the best man? What color were the bridesmaids’ dresses? And what was the couple’s charity?

As I look back on my wedding day, the sun was shining and my bride blushingly beautiful, but I do wish I Do Foundation had existed then. Sharing a part of the celebration with charity would have made our wedding day even more meaningful and personal.

Know someone getting married? Share how to plan a charitable wedding with them, or send them to the I Do website!

Be in love. Be inspired.


Celebrate love this spring

Days are getting warmer, flowers are in bloom, and love is in the air! Spring is a time for fresh, new beginnings, perfect for weddings. From favors and gifts, to invites and cakes, couples want echo-chic and budget-friendly wedding ideas that reflect their lives together. JustGive’s Wedding Center has plenty of tips and ideas for sharing the love—not just with friends and family—but the world.

Give the perfect, personal and meaningful wedding gift … even on a budget

With nearly 1.5 million charities on JustGive, it’s a cinch to make a donation to the couple’s favorite. Not sure which one to choose? The easy-to-use JustGive Guide features 1,000 national charities grouped into 19 categories. Add a personal message and JustGive will send an email to the couple saying you donated on their behalf (earth-friendly and the perfect last minute gift!)—or print the confirmation and enclose it in their congratulations card.

A gift that gives twice. Personalize a GiveNow charity gift card and let the newlyweds choose the charity together. JustGive offers online gift cards which can be printed or emailed as well as physical gift cards we will send to the couple in the mail.

Does the couple love animals, big and small? Or are they passionate about inspiring and educating children? Purchase a Gift Collection of four charities that support a cause you know is close to their hearts.

Plan a wedding that makes a difference

Recently engaged or have soon-to-be-married friends? JustGive’s Wedding Center offers all you need to make charity more a part of this special day.

  • Customize a charitable Wedding Registry and inspire guests to give to the charities that mean the most to you both. JustGive keeps track of gifts and notifies you when donations are made, so thank-you notes are a breeze!

  • Honor or remember loved ones by making a charitable gift in lieu of favors. Shara S., of Pennsylvania, loved the idea of wedding favors as a charitable way to help others. She thought using JustGive was hassle-free and “so worth it,” saying it “beat any mints, picture frame, or wine stopper you can buy.”

Love these ideas? Share them with others and celebrate love in an earth-friendly and budget-savvy way this spring.

Fall weddings turn a shade of green

More couples than ever before are choosing to give, rather than receive “green” to honor their special day and the love they share. Trendy and eco-chic, charitable donations are a unique and meaningful alternatives to traditional gifts. Couples are choosing to:

1. Register online for charitable gifts

2. Give personalized charitable gift certificates to their wedding party

3. Make charitable donations their wedding favors to thank guests.

For Catherine E. and Tom B. of Oakland, California, “charity gifts set the right tone” for starting their life together. Other couples want to honor a family member or give to a cause close to their hearts. Some choose charity because they “already have too much stuff.”

In the last year, experienced a 50 percent increase in the number of couples making charitable giving a part of their wedding. Since launching the Wedding Gift Center service five years ago, JustGive couples have contributed more than $1.1 million to charitable organizations.

Want to spread the word? Tell a friend.