One of the greatest things about living in the wonderful Washington DC area is that we are a very charitable people! We love giving back, in ways little and big. We are all about creative ideas and inspiring stories of unique ways to give to others whether it is through our work, our day-to-day lives and just about any other way we can think of! Did you know that you can also bring that generous heart to your wedding celebration in the Washington DC area as well? Today, we are giving you some unique ideas and inspiration on how to have a charitable wedding in Washington, DC, Maryland, and/or northern Virginia. There are lots of great ideas for how to bring a little charity to your wedding and here are just a few ideas that caught our attention for the DC area…

Virginia Wedding Ceremony TOMS Bridal Party Shoes

Photo Credit:  Meredith Hanafi Photography from Stephanie and Keith’s farm wedding in Virginia

Alternative Honeymoon
Are you interested in doing a little more on your honeymoon? I know after all those months of wedding planning you probably could use a vacation, but maybe “vacation” means something different to you? Consider having an alternative honeymoon that is focused on volunteering. Remember alternative spring break in college? There are adult versions for married couples that want to remain charitable throughout their entire wedding planning process. You can build houses with Global Volunteers or Habitat For Humanity. You could even watch what’s going on in the news and get inspired by current events to create your own alternative honeymoon. A newlywed British couple did just that. They raised money online to visit the French port city of Calais to give food to Syrian refugees.

Ideas For Before The Wedding
There are many wedding-related celebrations before your wedding ceremony and reception, such as your bachelorette party, bridal shower and rehearsal dinner. Guests tend to bring gifts to these events, so as an alternative you could ask that they make it a charitable gift instead of bringing a present for you. This might be a great option especially if you’ve been living with your partner and already have much of what you need or would like for your home. If you are having any of these pre-wedding related events around the holidays (or anytime really!), what about having people bring a gift for Toys of Tots instead of a bridal shower gift for you? You could also ask guests to bring canned goods to your rehearsal dinner to donate to a DC area food bank like the Capital Area Food Bank. Instead of a traditional bachelorette party, you can get your girlfriends together to volunteer like working the clothing boutique for Suited for Change or prepping food for Martha’s Table.

Donate Your Wedding Flowers
I think we can all agree that wedding flowers are expensive! Beautiful, but expensive. Those gorgeous blooms last longer than just your big day too! Consider donating your wedding flowers to a nursing home or hospital. You can give them to your wedding guests at the end of the night to take home with them, and you can also talk to your wedding florist (in advance of your wedding, of course!) about local wedding flower donation options in the DC area. In Washington DC, Petal Share will collect your wedding flowers at the end of the night, rearrange the blooms and donate the arrangements locally throughout the city to hospitals and homeless shelters, especially throughout Ward 8. If you are thinking about donating your wedding flowers, do make sure you read this wedding flower donation post from our friends at Petal’s Edge.

Animals and Pets
A recent wedding in Washington DC that we featured asked their wedding guests to donate to Homeward Trails Animal Rescue in Virginia in lieu of wedding favors, as they had adopted their cats from that shelter. You can also donate your time to animal shelters. With the The Washington Humane Society you can help the animals on their care by setingt up a special wedding fund for guests to donate to in lieu of wedding gifts or favors.

Virginia Wedding Ceremony Dog

Photo Credit:  Meredith Hanafi Photography from Stephanie and Keith’s farm wedding in Virginia

Clothing Options
Your wedding day fashion is a great opportunity to be charitable on your big day. TOMS Shoes are not only incredibly comfortable, but they offer the one-for-one program. For every TOMS product you purchase, TOMS will help a person in need. TOMS even has a line of wedding inspired shoes and accessories. You could also participate in charities like Brides Across America, which donates wedding gowns to military brides. Local Washington DC area nonprofit St. Anthony’s Bridal provides brides with tight budgets with marked down dresses and gowns. You can shop for dresses or donate your used wedding dress by mail or in store at their location in White Flint.

Charitable Registry
Great for the couple that doesn’t need anything for their home and would rather direct their wedding gifts for good. You could set up a charitable wedding registry. The I Do Foundation encourages couples to “celebrate generously” by selecting charities close to their heart and asking guests to donating to them as their wedding gift. Couples can even set up a charity option for tipping their wedding vendors. At NewlyWish, an online wedding registry site, you can create your own cash fund to donate to a charity of your choice or select from one of their charities to have your guests donate to. You could use NewlyWish to ask for a few items that you and your partner need, and also set up a cash fund for an alternative honeymoon or a charity donation.

Desserts and Sweets
There are delicious options for making your wedding in the Washington DC area charitable. If you are having fall or early wintertime wedding, you could buy your wedding dessert pies from Food and Friends who give healthy and home-delivered meals to children and adults battling life-changing illnesses. You can also get wedding-day sweets like cupcakes and cookies from District Desserts, who creates high quality sweets along with high quality employment and workforce training for under resourced women in the Washington DC area.

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So, what do you think? Will you find a creative way to be charitable at your wedding? I know there are plenty of other ways to have a charitable wedding in the Washington DC area! Let us know, we want to hear your great ideas for giving back during your wedding time.

In the meantime, be sure to check out all of the other DC area wedding advice that we have put together for you or look through our list of the best Washington DC area wedding vendors to help you plan your best, most charitable day!

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