Trendspotting: Philanthropic Weddings

I’m going to four weddings in the next nine weeks. As Karla told me, we are coming to that age when many of our friends from high school and college are getting hitched.

I’m really looking forward to Mike and Alex’s wedding this upcoming Sunday because 1) Alex is one of my best friends and we go all the way back to the elementary school days, and 2) they’re employing what I think is a pretty neat philanthropic idea at their wedding.

You know how at the end of weddings, they give out those (usually) tacky wedding favors? Generally it’s a piece of plastic crap that has the couple’s names and the date of the wedding on it. Or perhaps it’s a food-related favor like a bag of cookies or packaged cupcakes. Alex’s idea was rather than paying $3-4 per person for a random wedding favor, she would instead donate the cost of the favors per person to a nonprofit organization that she and Mike valued. She  asked me to help her choose a nonprofit organization or charity that aligned with their values, and after some research, I sent her a list of 17 recommendations, and my opinions of each. The list included some of my favorite orgs like College Summit, Ashoka, and Green for All.

She recently told me that she and Mike chose BUILD (I swear I didn’t twist her arm or anything) as the recipient for the donation, and each guest at the wedding will receive, in lieu of a wedding favor, a little piece of paper describing the organization.

In two weeks, I’m attending Erwin and Coy’s wedding–Erwin is my chorus brother and their wedding will be my first gay one (Go California!)–and they are also employing philanthropy at their wedding. On the back of their invitation, they’ve written:

Because we already have more things than we need, in lieu of gifts we ask for donations to help continue the right of GLBT folks to marry. We encourage gifts to Equality California at

It’s hard not to be cynical at weddings, but given that both of these weddings have the underlying theme of giving back, I think they might turn out to be fun after all.