How to Ask for Charity Donations Instead of Wedding Gifts

Here's how your big day can support a big cause.
Couple with charity donation box
Photo: Getty, Georgijevic,Graphic: Nataline Romine for The Knot
emily rumsey the knot editor
Emily Rumsey
emily rumsey the knot editor
Emily Rumsey
Assistant Commerce Updates Editor
  • Emily helps maintain and update e-commerce content for The Knot
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Emily worked as a website editor and manager for The Paleo Diet®
  • Emily holds two bachelor's degrees in Journalism and International Affairs with a Chinese minor
Updated Dec 19, 2023

A wedding registry is a must-have for many to-be-weds, but traditional gifts aren't for everyone. If dinnerware and linen sets don't spark joy, there are plenty of modern ideas that may fit your lifestyle better, like a cash fund for yourself—or for others. A charity wedding registry is one way couples can use their wedding to give back to their community and causes close to their hearts. The best part? It's easy to set one up and spread the word to your guests by using The Knot Registry. Here's everything you need to know about creating a wedding registry for charity donations and how to communicate your generous request to your guests.

What is a charity wedding registry?

A charity wedding registry is exactly what it sounds like; instead of (or in addition to) traditional wedding gifts, to-be-weds ask their guests to help them raise money for a cause close to their heart. They can donate any amount they're comfortable with to a charity or charities of the couple's choice. It's a nice option for couples who feel they're well-stocked on traditional wedding gifts like kitchenware, bed and bathroom linens and home decor. Of course, with The Knot's all-in-one registry, couples can register for both physical items and charity donations. It's the best of both worlds!

Can you ask guests to donate to charity in lieu of gifts?

Yes, a couple can absolutely ask their guests to donate to charity in lieu of wedding gifts. While a no-gift wedding is also an option, most guests expect to spend money on a wedding gift and want to help couples start their newlywed life off right, no matter how that may look. With a charity registry, you'll both feel good giving back. Remember though, just as guests aren't required to give wedding gifts, they also aren't required to donate to a charity registry either. If you're passionate about the cause, you'll want to be thoughtful with your charity wedding registry wording. Express why the nonprofit means so much to you and your fiancé and let them know you appreciate anything they can give, big or small.

As mentioned, you can ask for multiple types of gifts in the same registry, from physical items to cash funds and gift cards to donations. In doing so, guests can decide for themselves how they want to spend their money. Some may want to buy you a gift in addition to donating to your charity registry. No complaints there!

How do you create a charity wedding registry?

There are two ways to create a charity wedding registry with The Knot. One option is to create a GoFundMe fundraiser, while the other is to create a custom wedding cash fund. To create a GoFundMe fundraiser, you'll first need to create an account with The Knot and select the brand from their list of retail partners. You'll then be taken to to create an account with them as well. From there you'll be able to choose a certified charity to support. The content of your fundraiser is completely customizable, from the title and description to an image and how you want to manage your page. Whenever guests donate, the money will be automatically sent to the nonprofit of your choice or directly to your bank account to donate on your own as one lump sum. By partnering with The Knot to host your charity registry, guests can access your fundraiser and anything else you register for in one place. Plus, it appears on your wedding website so they can find it easily.

Alternatively, you can add a wedding cash fund to your registry on The Knot. The process for this is equally as simple. Once you have an account, you'll select "Registry" in the top menu bar, then "Add Cash Registry" in the dropdown menu. From there, you'll choose "Add a Custom Fund" to personalize the title, description, image and amount. Donations will go to your bank account and then you'll need to give the money to the charity of your choosing on your own. You can create an infinite amount of cash funds, allowing you to support multiple nonprofits alongside other monetary asks for yourself, like a honeymoon fund.

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