By Michelle Walsh, Wedding and Events Coordinator at Virginia Barn Wedding

While the average wedding costs go up every year, you shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting the best for your special day. One way to help justify costs is to make an effort to give back with your wedding. Say “I Donate” while saying “I Do!”

1. Invitations
Choosing where you order your invitations can make a big impact on not only non-profit organizations but the Earth as well. Look for companies that offer 100% post-consumer recycled paper. Or keep an eye out for companies that plant a tree with every order in U.S. national parks to rebuild the forests that have been destroyed by wildfires. You can also use companies that print on seed paper, then your guests can plant your invitations and watch the wildflowers grow.

Michelle Walsh Virginia Barn Wedding thoughtful give back Richmond
Paige Stevens Photography

2. Bridesmaids and Groomsmen Gifts
When giving gifts that say thank you to the amazing people in your life, choose to buy products that help artisans around the world. Shop marketplaces that are ethically-sourced and Fair Trade Certified. These companies pay fair wages to help people in poverty across 30 developing countries.

3. Venue
Where you choose to get married can have benefits long after the big day. Look at venues that support a worthy cause like nonprofit organizations, schools, museums, historical sites, and parks. The revenue generated from weddings and other events helps keep many of these beautiful venues open and running.

4. Wedding Favors
You can make a difference with the gifts you give, and your guests will love the thought behind them. Buy products made from companies that hire veterans, deaf, physically disabled, or senior citizens. There are also many companies who donate part or all their proceeds to organizations that provide emergency shelter for those displaced, sponsor pet fostering and adoptions, help the homeless, and further develop cancer research. Another option is a donation to your favorite charity in your guests’ honor.

Michelle Walsh Virginia Barn Wedding thoughtful give back Richmond
Hayes & Fisk Photography

5. Wedding Dress
After the big day, your wedding gown can help someone else feel special. Give your dress a new life! There are charities that accept gently used wedding dresses and pass them along to families or brides that otherwise couldn’t afford one. Your bridesmaids’ dresses can also be donated to less fortunate women that can’t afford a new one for prom or special event.

6. Food
Spread the love by donating your leftover food and desserts to help fight hunger. Homeless shelters and rescue programs would benefit from prepared food that otherwise would have been thrown out. There are some animal shelters that also accept certain donated food for their animals.

Michelle Walsh Virginia Barn Wedding thoughtful give back Richmond
Aniko Levai Photography

7. Flowers
You can share the feeling of joy from your wedding by donating your flowers to others. Deliver your flowers to local nursing homes, hospitals, hospice care facilities, or shelters. There are also charities that will come to your venue after the wedding is over and collect all the leftover ones to make small arrangements that they will deliver for you.

These are just a few of the ways to give back. You can have the wedding of your dreams while helping others, giving back to your community, and making the world a better place.

Michelle Walsh is the Wedding and Events Coordinator at Virginia Barn Wedding located in Central Virginia. This beautiful venue is located on 131 acres, provides a unique country setting full of rustic charm and stylish elegance. To learn more or to schedule a tour call/text 1-757-784-7974 or go to