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Charitable Wedding Ideas Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

A wedding isn’t just a celebration of love—it can also be an opportunity to give back. Here are some ways to help your community while celebrating your nuptials.

wedding couple walking together
Andrii Korbyn/Shutterstock

wedding couple walking together
Andrii Korbyn/Shutterstock

If there’s ever a time to give back, it’s now, as the world struggles to get a hold of the new reality that’s been brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. The economy has taken a sabotaging blow as a result of the hundreds of thousands of businesses that have had to close their doors in response to the government-ordered shut down, and many of those businesses are in the wedding space.

“Your wedding itself supports so many small businesses (for most weddings at least 5 to 20 businesses) and livelihoods that, just by having your wedding, you're already giving back in a way,” says Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events in Los Altos, California. “Especially now, during these tough economic times, planning a wedding (instead of canceling) is immensely supporting.”

While donations are a great way of giving back, they don’t always have to be monetary. In fact, there are countless ways you can give back to the wedding community after your own special day has come and gone. 

Here are five ways you can give back in light of COVID-19 with your wedding.

Leave reviews and referrals.

Whether your wedding just happened, has been postponed or you're just starting the planning process, consider taking the time to write reviews and testimonials for your key vendors who you feel went above and beyond for your big day. Doing so is a wonderful way to give back, according to Chang. “It doesn't cost you anything, but shows your support for their small business,” she says. “Shouting your love from the rooftops not only makes them feel good during this time (which we could all use), but can help them to get more business as well.”

Donate your dress.

The financial impact of COVID-19 has cut down the budgets of many couples significantly—and many may no longer be capable of purchasing the dress of their dreams. If you’re okay with separating from your wedding dress, consider donating it to a bride in need. “There are many companies who are helping to facilitate the resale and donation of gently-worn wedding gowns,” shares Jen Avey of Destination Weddings Travel Group. “This is a great way to help a fellow bride in need, whose initial vision of their dream wedding may have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.”

Donate your leftover reception food. 

Another devastating side effect of COVID-19 is that it has made it extremely challenging for many Americans to feed their family. Considering that you may wind up with a heaping pile of leftover (and delicious) food from your big day, Avey recommends asking your catering company or venue if they can donate any leftover reception meals to a local food bank or homeless shelter. “Better yet, if your original honeymoon plans had to be postponed due to the pandemic, see if you can volunteer at a local shelter to see your good deed come to fruition,” she says. 

Ask for charity donations in lieu of gifts.

If you and your spouse don’t particularly need extra funds from your wedding, consider asking guests to make donations towards a COVID-related charity of your choice as part of your wedding registry. “If guests see that the crisis is on your radar, and that you are looking for ways to help even in the midst of your own wedding-planning nightmares, they may feel more inclined to give,” says Kristen Gosselin of KG Events and Design in Edgartown, Massachusetts. 

Update your honeymoon plans .

Once it’s finally safe to travel again and you’re able to visit your dream destination, consider adding a day of volunteering to your plans. “For many couples, a honeymoon is a chance to relax, recharge and simply lay by the beach or pool with a cocktail in hand soaking up the sunshine—and that is certainly well-deserved, especially after the strife of needing to postpone or cancel your original plans. “However, we recommend taking a day out of your honeymoon to volunteer at a local charity in your destination.” Not only will you be providing an invaluable service to the local community, but it’s a great bonding opportunity for you and your partner, as you can relish in the joy of making a difference.