Whether you make a donation to a cause in place of party favors or ask your guests to invest in a charity instead of a crock pot, a little selflessness can go a long way for many non-profits—and experts say the practice is becoming more and more popular for engaged couples.
Why? Lizzy Ellingson, co-founder and chief creative officer of Blueprint Registry, explained to Brides where this spike in charitable registries came from.
"Millennials are cohabiting before marriage and getting married later in life," she says. The material needs of a 21-year-old just starting out are different from a couple of 30-somethings who have already been living together.
Additionally, "Crowdfunding has exploded in popularity over the past 10 years growing at 26 percent a year. Based on proprietary research, Blueprint Registry estimates that cash gifting and personal crowdfunding will exceed $33.5 billion by 2021," Ellingson says. She expects this to heavily impact wedding registry trends, as well—her company has already seen this shift start to happen.
"At Blueprint Registry," she continues, "70 percent of couples register for at least one cash gift like a honeymoon plane ticket or contributions to help with remodeling a kitchen. We still see couples register for both physical and cash gifts, we just see more couples register for cash who may not have registered for any cash gifts five years ago."
The increase in popularity for cash registries demonstrates that even for "the couple who has everything," there is a way for guests to celebrate the union with a gift. It's also a good option to help ease the financial burden for guests who might already find it challenging to accommodate the cost of attending the wedding (think destination weddings and multi-day celebrations). Just like with any crowdfunding, there's security in numbers—each individual doesn't feel obligated to fork over the same amount they might for a more traditional, high-quality registry item, and that's fine.
Blueprint found that while the average fundraising goal for charitable registries is just under $900, and the average amount raised is a little less than half of that. An idea for couples who want to keep their guests motivated to give more: if your budget allows, agree to match their donations up to a certain amount. You'll do good for the community and the world, plus you'll get an even bigger tax write-off.
You can also think small if you'd like. A charitable registry—or swapping out wedding favors to donate money in your guests' names—can have a more local impact, too. Blueprint Registry offers an option to create a cash registry for local charities as well, which has become the most common choice among couples on the site.
Choosing which organization will be gifted with your support can be overwhelming—but with so many worthy causes, you can't go wrong choosing something personal to you and your fiancé. A couple who has lost a family member to suicide might donate to research efforts around prevention like the Military Veteran Project. This is just another way to personalize the wedding celebration while giving back. Whatever you choose, know that you're making a difference by paying all that wedding generosity forward.