These wedding charities and related giving ideas will make hosting a socially-conscious wedding easy for couples, event pros, and guests.
Weddings can be inherently self-interested affairs, and that’s totally okay. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating love and the big step of embarking on a shared journey called life. Nothing wrong with it at all.
And yet, there’s a massive trend toward incorporating more giving into weddings. Weddings are big, complex, and generate an enormous amount of waste and single-use items. When the lights go down on the dance floor, the florals are still gorgeous, leftover food still tastes great, and the bridesmaids’ dresses could fit someone else.
And what about before the wedding? Is a new toaster really a critical need? For many couples, the answer is no, so they add charitable giving to their registries.
Make Giving Easy
Look, at the end of the wedding, the couple is exhausted, the uncles are drunk, and everyone’s tired and off to bed, including the vendors. No one’s particularly motivated to load a van with the florals and schlep them off somewhere. Certainly not without planning.
That’s why these wedding charities are so important. They understand weddings and know how discombobulated everyone is before, during, and after (tip: use detailed wedding timelines). So they’ve stepped up to make giving easier.
Related: Sustainable Event Planning Alternatives For An Eco-Friendly Event
Charity Is Added Value For Event Professionals
As an event professional, incorporating a socially conscious aspect to your services can be a business boon. I’ve noted a trend for event pros to take on the responsibility of managing the related socially conscious action.
For example, as a caterer, you could connect with a local food bank and offer to handle the food donations for your client. Or, as a florist, you might offer to transport leftover florals to the local children’s hospital. I’ve seen photographers commit a percentage to charities and dressmakers who collect the wedding dress to donate later.
You could donate services to organizations like Wish Upon A Wedding and let your couples know that by choosing your wedding business, they’re supporting good causes indirectly. So while your business might not be one of these wedding charities, you can still help make weddings charitable.
Related: Why You Need Brand Values For Your Wedding Business
Charitable Wedding Registries
Fact is, most wedding registries offer the option to add charitable donations as items. Some allow you to work with one charity; others connect givers with many charities. I’ve chosen the below examples because they go the extra mile or offer something unique to the charitable wedding registry concept.
The Knot Gifts Back
Using The Knot Gifts Back, they’ll donate up to 3% of all qualified gifts purchased from your registry to the charity of your choice. Every time you receive a wedding gift, The Knot will donate a percentage of the purchase price of every gift bought off your registry to that organization.
VOW for Girls
VOW for Girls partners with individuals, brands, and the wedding industry to end the international child marriage crisis. 100% of the funds raised from couples and wedding industry partners go directly to organizations working to end child marriage. VOW fundraises separately for its operational costs from foundations and generous individuals.
VOW for Girls is a registered 501c3, and donations are tax-deductible.
You can add VOW to wedding registries like The Knot, use Amazon Smile, or shop directly on their site. And you can create a fundraising page too. Details here.
Changing The Present
Changing The Present lets couples set up charitable wedding registries. It’s similar to a traditional registry, except guests donate to specific nonprofits, schools, or teachers instead of buying conventional gifts.
Changing The Present is a registered 501c3, and donations are tax-deductible. Their fees are 2.4% and 30 cents and a 5% transaction fee to help cover the cost of their service.
SoKind is an “alternative” registry and wishlist service that encourages the giving of homemade gifts, charitable donations, secondhand goods, experiences, time, day-of-event help, and more. While not a charity themselves, SoKind makes it easy to make charitable giving a part of the registry.
The Good Beginning
They bill themselves as a wedding registry for conscious couples. The Good Beginning streamlines the giving process by allowing couples to choose their organizations and having an interface that allows for identifying, giving, and tracking of gifts to occur in one place.
Note: The Good Beginning is a for-profit business within Libby Helms, Inc. 89% of each donation goes to the chosen cause. 3% of donations go towards credit card processing fees, and 8% of the donation is considered an administrative fee.
Honeyfund is a typical registry with the option to add charitable items as part of your registry. You can view an example here. These cash-fund registry items let guests send couples the funds to support their chosen causes. Honeyfund’s fees are low. They charge a 2.4% – 2.9% fee plus $0.30 per transaction.
Wedding Charities That Help You Donate Your Flowers
Weddings can be a significant source of waste, and flowers are a large part of it. But you can donate your wedding flowers to any number of wedding charities that specialize in recycling, sharing, and repurposing your gorgeous bouquets. I’ll list many of these wedding charities below, but I want to mention two things before we get there.
Donate Your Flowers Directly
You can often donate your flowers directly to organizations that will appreciate them. These include:
- Women’s shelters
- Nursing homes
- Children’s hospitals
Use Google to find an organization near you and reach out. Then, ask a civic-minded friend or family member to help transport the flowers at the end of the wedding.
Additionally, there are often local organizations that will handle the floral donations. Again, turn to Google if you don’t see a charity here with a presence in your area. Try “donate wedding flowers [city]” in the search bar. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
BigHearted Blooms – Cleveland, OH
BigHearted Blooms delivers joy through recycled flowers. They repurpose flower arrangements to lift the spirits and boost the emotional health of individuals in all forms of care facilities.
BigHeated Blooms collects flower arrangements that would typically be thrown away after their intended purpose and makes new bouquets with the help of our volunteers. They deliver these bouquets to individuals in care facilities to share the joy that flowers bring.
Bouquets of Aloha – Maui, HI
Located on the island of Maui, Hawaii, Bouquets of Aloha recycles donated flowers and restyles them into beautiful bouquets, which are then delivered to the elderly in senior centers. They are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and handle flower donation pickup, bouquet assembly, and delivery.
Bouquets of Kindness – National
Bouquets of Kindness engages seniors living in assisted living, memory care, and HUD-funded long-term care. They accept donations of floral arrangements from events, weddings, funerals, florists, and grocery stores.
Flowers that were destined for the landfill are refreshed into new bouquets. Volunteers arrange donated flowers into new bouquets and deliver those to individual rooms and visit with each recipient.
Education Blossoms – Central Texas
Education Blossoms takes flowers you no longer need and repurposes them to further student education and create bouquets of happiness for the community.
Floral Angels – London, United Kingdom
Floral Angels was created in 2013 to recycle and reuse flowers from events, weddings, and retailers. They deliver bouquets and arrangements to those in the community who would not normally receive flowers, including hospices, elderly care homes, shelters. In doing this, they also support the floral industry in reducing waste. Like most of the wedding charities mentioned here, Floral Angels is run entirely by volunteers. They’re based at New Covent Garden Flower Market in London.
Floranthropy – Houston, Austin & Dallas
Floranthropy is philanthropy through flowers – spreading joy, kindness, and love through the simple act of giving flowers.
A Christian-based charitable organization, Floranthropy was established in 2010. They work with brides, event planners, and florists to collect the flowers that remain from various celebrations and repurpose, refresh and deliver to area assisted living homes, hospitals, and other charitable organizations.
After you submit a form with the required information, a Team Member will contact you via email within 24 hours about pickup times, transportation, and fees.
Flower Angels USA – Cape Cod
Flower Angels deliver flowers to the elderly and disabled across Cape Cod They joined the Community Connections family in January 2020 and continues its operations under the Community Connections umbrella.
I do want to also mention that Flower Angels collaborates with adults with disabilities from Community Connections and LIFE communities.
The Flower Shuttle – Raleigh, NC
The Flower Shuttle recycles flowers to people living with sickness, terminal illness, poverty, and disability who don’t usually get flowers.
They accept both one-time donations from events such as weddings, funerals, or community galas, as well as recurring corporate donations from florists, grocery stores, flower farms, and others.
Note: They have a particular need for vases and mugs (with no logos). I mention this because some wedding charities that repurpose flowers specifically do not want vases.
Forget Me Knot – Philadelphia, PA
Forget Me Knot will restyle and repurpose “still-beautiful” wedding or event florals into petit bedside bouquets, completed with donator’s names and a love poem. They will be personally delivered to community health care facilities along with a bit of conversation, making a meaningful connection with those dealing with illness, loneliness, or in difficult times.
Franzie’s Flower Friends – Houston, TX
Franzie’s Flower Friends exists to deliver repurposed flowers to nonprofits, healthcare centers, and women’s shelters to boost morale, encourage and motivate. All supplies and unusable flowers will be recycled and or composted.
The Gardenware Project – Minneapolis, MN
The Gardenware Project is a budding nonprofit organization with a mission to give beauty, share love, and spread joy through the gift of flowers. They don’t accept donations from events, but rather, they work with florists directly. They started in November 2017 and have delivered almost 9000 arrangements to date.
Healing With Flowers – Tennessee
Recycled flowers and vases are used by volunteers to make arrangements for delivery to hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices.
Petals 4 Patients – Sacramento, CA
Petals 4 Patients is an organization that assembles and delivers flower bouquets to individuals in long-term care facilities and hospitals. Their goal is to brighten someone’s day with a fresh bunch of flowers, particularly those who may not have someone to comfort them, may be in serious treatment, or simply need a reason to know that someone cares.
Petals For Hope – National
Petals For Hope rеpurposes dоnаtеd flоwеrѕ frоm wеddіngѕ, еvеntѕ, flоrіѕtѕ, and rеtаіlеrѕ. They restyle these donated flowers іntо bedside bоuԛuеtѕ and аrrаngеmеntѕ whісh аrе thеn dеlіvеrеd tо thоѕе іn nееd including infusion centers, nursing homes, cancer treatment facilities, homeless shelters, schools, and more.
These donated arrangements are also used to host ‘floral arranging workshops’ in children’s hospitals, nursing homes, at-risk children, shelters, and other places.
Additionally, Petals For Hope compost all blooms that are unfit for use and return to pick up flowers from their drop-off locations to compost at the end of their second life as well.
Petals With Purpose – Palm Beach County, FL
Petals With Purpose brings joy to the lives of children, the elderly, and those living with disabilities through repurposed flowers that go hand-in-hand with visits. The flowers are recycled from weddings, celebrations, and corporate events and delivered to youth organizations, shelters, hospitals, nursing homes, and hospice care facilities.
Plants and Blooms ReImagined – Washington, DC
Plants and Blooms ReImagined uses post-event floral arrangements, gleaned surplus, and end-of-market cut-flowers to create new bouquets. These are used to facilitate educational and therapeutic programming to enrich the lives of under-resourced and marginalized communities.
Plants and Blooms ReImagined believes that the beauty, joy, inspiration, and healing power of nature’s gifts of indoor plants and cut-flowers should be experiences shared by all. Its mission is to increase personal enjoyment and enhanced wellbeing for under-resourced and other marginalized groups in the DC region through the gifting of repurposed cut-flowers and donated indoor plants.
Power of Flowers Project – Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire
Power of Flowers Project shares hope and happiness by providing a kind connection to seniors and veterans in care communities. Their dedicated volunteers repurpose donated flowers into bouquets and deliver these gifts to give an unexpected moment of joy and improve the wellbeing of a vulnerable population.
They re-new and re-fresh gently used flowers recycled from weddings, banquets, business conferences, memorial services – any event where flowers are left behind or tossed in the trash while still fresh.
Random Acts of Flowers – Indianapolis, Knoxville & Tampa Bay
Random Acts of Flowers improves individuals’ emotional health and wellbeing in healthcare facilities by delivering recycled flowers, encouragement, and personal moments of kindness.
They try to recycle 100% of the arrangements they receive, from ribbons, wire, and foam, to vases and flowers. Clippings and other green waste are composted and used by landscapers, gardeners, and other partners in the community.
They have locations in:
Reflower Project – Boston, MA
The Reflower Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization who “repurpose” and deliver flowers to community centers. They’re dedicated to improving the health of the environment and our community’s wellbeing. We serve the Boston and South Shore, MA areas.
After a wedding, corporate or social event, flowers will continue to spread cheer in the community. They also receive flower donations from local flower retailers and wholesalers. They also accept vases. Being environmentally friendly, they try to use or recycle all of the donated flower arrangements.
Repurposed Blooms – Birmingham, AL
Repurposed Blooms is a faith-based 501(c)(3) organization located in Birmingham, Alabama, that recycles flowers from weddings or events that would otherwise become waste. By utilizing these flowers and repurposing them, they spread happiness to many in the process.
Their goal is to bring joy to those in need by delivering flowers with a smile and encouraging fellowship! Repurposed Blooms focus on serving people who feel forgotten or alone in this busy world, including the elderly and disabled, in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and rehabilitation centers.
ReVased – National
ReVased understands the power of flowers, and they take a fresh approach to pay it forward.
They donate flowers to nonprofit facilities such as nursing homes, women’s shelters, cancer support centers, and hospitals. It is a crucial part of their mission to give back to the places that do so much for the community.
Note: I reached out to ReVased to confirm that they do this impactful work nationwide. I got a response in minutes saying, “We are building out a nonprofit directory of our nonprofit partners nationwide who will accept floral donations. If our team isn’t in the area to upcycle flowers, we’re happy to connect event hosts with the nonprofits for them to coordinate a donation!”
The Second Bloom Project – Monterey Bay, CA
Second Bloom is a nonprofit that repurposes flowers for hospice patients in the Monterey Bay region. Their team of volunteers uses flowers from special events and other floral donors to repurpose into bedside arrangements. Second Bloom gives the flowers to hospice, and they deliver to their patients.
The Simple Sunflower – Richmond, VA
The Simple Sunflower partners with VCU Health Volunteer Services to deliver flowers directly to patients’ rooms. They ensure each bouquet is personally gifted to an individual and aim to brighten and comfort each patient’s stay while contributing to the sustainability of their community by repurposing florals.
They partner with local venues that host events with fresh flower arrangements — like weddings and receptions. After the event, their volunteers gather donated flowers, arrange them into bouquets, and deliver them to individual patients receiving end-of-life care at the VCU Medical Center.
Through our partnerships with local wedding venues, independent florists, and nearby universities, The Simple Sunflower brings the people of Richmond together.
Unexpected Blooms – Kansas City, MO
Unexpected Blooms is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to positively affect the emotional wellbeing of its community. They deliver repurposed and recycled flowers to individuals in healthcare facilities throughout Kansas City. Flowers are donated from weddings, memorial services, charity, corporate and private events, florists, and retailers.
Their volunteers recut, refresh and reuse those flowers to create beautiful bouquets that we deliver to brighten someone’s day. They work hand-in-hand with healthcare, hospice, senior resident, and social service communities throughout the city to touch people’s lives.
Wedding Charities That Help You Donate Your Leftover Food
Donating leftover food is a little trickier than donating flowers. There are likely several safety regulations in your local area, so please check in about that. However, whether you’re a caterer, planner, or the happy couple, you’ll also find resources at hand. Your local food banks will share the requirements, so please them. Definitely check before you show up at a food bank with food.
Legal Liabilities When Donating Food
Let’s begin with this. Food donation is not illegal. There has never been a lawsuit recorded related to food donation.
I’ll quote Rescuing Leftover Cuisine:
“The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act protects food donors from both Civil and Criminal liability when donating ‘Apparently Wholesome’ food to nonprofit organizations in “Good Faith.” All 50 states have passed Good Samaritan Laws on the state level that likely provide additional liability protection beyond the Federal Law.
The Food Donation Act of 2017 clarifies and expands food donation under the Emerson Act.”
Rescuing Leftover Cuisine – National
Donate your business’s excess food in any amount with regular pickups. RLC will locally distribute it to the organizations providing meals to others. Their volunteers will pick up your leftover food on a scheduled basis, and their Massachusetts branch can accommodate same-day requests as well. There is no minimum pound requirement for a pickup.
Venues with consistent leftovers can schedule regular, recurring pickups to occur weekly. Pickups can occur once a week, daily, or anywhere in between!
RLC also provides a hold harmless clause in agreements with our food donors for losses incurred in connection with food donation. RLC’s food donation processes ensure that safe food handling and transportation meet established standards.
Feeding America – National
Feeding America secures and distributes 4.3 billion meals each year through food pantries and meal programs throughout the United States and leads the nation to engage in the fight against hunger. Use Feeding America to find your local Food Bank so you can find out how to donate leftover wedding food to those in need.
Wedding Charities That Help You Donate Wedding Dresses
It might be tempting for brides to keep their wedding dress, and that’s okay. But to some brides, the dress is a one-time garment. There are wedding charities that turn a single-serve item into a good deed.
When you donate your wedding gown, you help another bride feel as wonderful as you did, cut down on waste, and raise money for worthy causes.
Adorned In Grace – National
Adorned in Grace brings churches together to fight human trafficking in their neighborhood in the areas of awareness, prevention, and restoration. Like other wedding charities handling used wedding dresses, they resell the gowns to raise funds and awareness for their cause.
They accept dresses no more than 5 years old, formalwear, mother-of-the-bride dresses, and flower girl dresses. They also accept donations of veils, belts, hair accessories, shoes, jewelry, bras, and petticoats.
Brides Across America – National
Brides Across America is a nonprofit that gifts weddings and wedding gowns to our military & first responders.
To date, BAA has gifted over 26,000 wedding dresses and over 25 free weddings to a military or first responder bride. Each year they host dozens of Operation Wedding Gown giveaway events at participating bridal salons nationwide. Events are held in July (around Independence Day) and November (around Veteran’s Day).
Brides Against Breast Cancer – National
Give your wedding dress a second life by donating to a meaningful charity devoted to helping women. Bonus, you’ll support Breast Cancer Causes and by receiving a 501(c)3 donation receipt, maybe save money on taxes too!
Their mission is to allow conscientious women to provide affordable wedding dresses to others while also helping fund a charitable mission and lessen the environmental impact of wedding dress manufacturing.
In 2019 their expense efficiency was 100% with all Management as Volunteers.
Note: They also accept veils, tiaras, and accessories.
Brides for a Cause – National
Brides for a Cause is a nonprofit organization that collects and resells wedding dresses to support charity. Funds raised from donations support a variety of local and national women-focused charities across the United States. To date, they’ve recycled over 23,000 wedding dresses and raised over $1,200,000 for charity since 2012!
Note: Brides for a Cause accepts wedding dresses 5 years and newer, as well as bridal accessories.
They also partner with bridal organizations to host Dress Drives in cities across the US to help collect wedding dresses from local brides and stores. This allows local brides and stores the opportunity to drop off dress donations rather than shipping them to their headquarters in Oregon.
The Glass Slipper Project – Chicago
The Glass Slipper Project is a nonprofit organization that collects new and almost-new formal dresses and accessories. It provides them, free of charge, to high school juniors and seniors who are unable to purchase their own Prom attire.
Since 1999, the Glass Slipper Project has helped more than 20,000 young women attend their Proms in style.
Note: The Glass Slipper Project has been postponed indefinitely due to COVID, but please check their website for more details.
Other Ways To Make A Wedding Charitable
There are many other ways to incorporate giving into a wedding without wedding charities. I’ll add a few ideas below:
Book the wedding at a nonprofit venue:
This supports venues like public gardens and museums and also raises awareness for the nonprofits themselves.
Source party favors, wine, and other wedding details from vendors and suppliers who donate a percentage to charity. Here are some examples:
If you’re a wedding vendor who belongs on this list, let me know, and I’ll add you. And thank you from the whole ThymeBase event professional software team for being amazing. Together we all help make the event industry a positive force for good.
Header Photo by Everton Vila