The royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is the latest ceremony asking for charity donations instead of gifts
No gifts, please.
Prince Harry and bride-to-be Meghan Markle are requesting that wedding guests give donations to one of several charities that they selected in lieu of gifts, Kensington Palace announced Monday.
The duo, who met through their humanitarian efforts, selected two charities: the Children’s HIV Association (CHIVA) and Crisis, which provides support for homelessness, two causes that Harry and his brother, Prince William, have advocated on behalf of just as their mother, the late Princess Diana of Wales, once did.
The couple, who will wed on May 19 at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, is taking a similar “no gifts” approach as Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton, who married in 2011 and asked wedding attendees to donate to one of 26 charities of their choice, including the armed forces, children, the elderly, art, sports and conservation.
The royal couple is the latest to request donations over more traditional wedding gifts. When newlywed Amy Schumer tied the knot with chef boyfriend Chris Fischer in February, the actress asked her fans to consider donating to Everytown For Gun Safety — the non-profit organization which advocates for gun control — following the horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Schumer has been passionately fighting for stricter gun laws after two women were shot and killed in a movie theater shooting while seeing her film “Trainwreck.”
And when Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello tied the knot in 2015, they asked guests to make a donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, where Vergara serves as an ambassador.
In 2017, 10% of couples set up a charity registry for various causes, that’s up from 7% in 2016, according to wedding site The Knot. On average, couples receive $338 in donations from wedding guests towards their charity registry.
“There’s definitely a trend we’ve noticed in recent years,” Lauren Kay, deputy editor at The Knot, tells Moneyish of couples who prefer to support causes rather than accept tangible gifts. “It really speaks to the millennial audience getting married now. They’re very concerned and focused on social causes and things that have to do with their community. They’re less into spending on material things.”
Wedding guests, on average, spend about $127 on a gift for family members and $99 for friends, according to a survey by American Express. But instead of sifting through registries for the perfect blender or vase and paying the shipping fees attached, guests can now simply click on a link to a charity of the couple’s choice. Websites like SimpleRegistry, JustGive and Blueprint allow couples to add charities to their wedding registries. And if you don’t want to ask guests to donate up front, you can use a wedding sites like The Knot: Each time a wedding guest uses TheKnot.com to buy a couple a wedding gift from one of the registries they signed up for, a 3% donation goes to a charity of their choice.
The etiquette of asking guests to donate to a particular cause or charity is easier than just asking for the cash.
“Go about it how you would a regularly wedding registry,” says Kay, who recommends having bridal parties spread the word and making note of the request on the wedding invite. “Say ‘we appreciate the desire to give something’ but you would prefer that they donate to’ and put your cause of choice.”
Brooklyn, New York-based couple Eliza Brown, 26, and her wife-to-be Danya Lagos, 27, are planning an August wedding and have asked their guests to consider donating to the Ali Forney Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting LGBTQ youths from the harms of homelessness and help them live safe and independently.
“We feel so lucky to be able as a queer couple to get married that we wanted to give back to queer youth who are struggling with homelessness,” Brown says. “Especially because many of them became homeless from coming out after gay marriage was legalized to unwelcoming parents.”
The brides-to-be have set up a registry link so guests can donate and on their wedding day.
Another couple, Max Duckworth and his wife Sarah Godlewski, who met through their volunteer work, requested donations be made to UNICEF in support of child protection programs as well as child labor and trafficking in Belize.They raised more than $40,000.
“On behalf of the children of Belize, thank you very much for your kind and generous support,” they wrote on their registry page.
Kay says she’s noticed a spike in donation requests for charities like The American Heart Association and The American Cancer Society. In 2016, former NFL player Devon Still used his wedding as a platform to raise funds for childhood cancer foundations like Saint Jude’s in honor of his daughter, Leah, who battled and beat cancer.
“People are living with less, and they’re going for that mantra of quality over quantity,” says Kay. “It’s another layer of giving back.”
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