12 Stories of Charity Registries that Made the World a Better Place

"One day a bride won't have to worry about her grandmother not being there because MS took her too soon—because there will be a cure."
by Andrea Fowler
The Knot Gifts Back charity registry real wedding stories

Your wedding is all about you and your partner. It’s about the celebration of your relationship, and for so many couples, that story weaves in and out of bigger narratives like family members fighting cancer or volunteer work at organizations held close to their hearts. For those couples who may be conflicted over making a charity registry or a traditional wish list, we’re here to let you know it’s okay to admit you’d appreciate gifts to jump-start your newlywed life. (Really!) We’re not here to judge. Actually, we’re here to help.

In case you haven’t heard (which we’ve discovered, that’s a lot of you) The Knot Gifts Back gives you the best of both worlds: You can make a traditional registry and for each gift purchased, a percentage of that goes toward a charity of your choosing. It works out for your guests too, because they’re 90 percent more likely to buy a gift off a registry if there’s a charity component. The best way to let guests know about your charity component would be through word of mouth (enlist those bridesmaids!) or by putting a special note on your wedding website.

If you’re not sure which charity would be right for you and your partner, here are 12 stories from real couples to inspire you:

"When the idea of registering for our wedding was brought up, my fiancé and I considered forgoing gifts and asking for donations to an animal shelter. This was the perfect solution. We were able to ask for some items we needed to start our lives together and still make a difference for a charity that means a lot to us." —Lorraine, donated to ASPCA
"In 2012 there were 3.3 million reports of violence against children. Out of those reports, 251,764 children were placed in foster homes; 23,439 emancipated from their foster families after unsafe environments took place. As a result, 1 in 5 become homeless by 18, less than 3 percent earned a college degree, and half were unemployed by the age of 24. We need better care for our foster kids. They need loving and supportive figures in their lives. We found this is the ONLY organization in America that supports this cause. We’re so proud The Knot had this charity and could offer it to us." —Julia, donated to A Home Within
"I chose this particular charity because one of my favorite people in the world, my grandmother, passed away from cancer. She spent a lot of her life fighting and being in and out of remission. We would walk together every year and raise money for the American Cancer Society, so it made sense to honor her in this way, especially during a time I would have loved to share with her." —Kayla, donated to American Cancer Society
"My original plan was to make a charitable donation to a cancer charity instead of favors, but this allowed me to do it in an easy way, plus I ended up still having favors. Not having my dad there obviously created a huge emptiness on my wedding day—something the guests were all aware of. I felt like in honor of him, the least I could do was help contribute to a valuable cause." —Alison, donated to American Cancer Society
"I find it very important to support an organization you truly believe in. The MS society was that for us. It is difficult to watch my mother-in-law and it breaks my heart I hope that one day they can find a cure, but for now having an organization to help care for this disease and make people more aware of it will have to do." —Alexandra, donated to National Multiple Sclerosis Society
"The beautiful daughter of a couple in our wedding party was diagnosed with stage 4 b-lymphoblastic non-Hodgkin lymphoma four days before our wedding. They all missed the wedding because of this. [We’re] hoping that our small donations will in some way help the hospital research." —Andrea, donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
"My fiancé (now husband!) and I didn't want to only request charity donations from our guests. Although I'm sure most would have happily obliged, I know my grandma at least wouldn't consider it a marriage if she didn't gift a KitchenAid. Ultimately, we wanted to consider our guests and give them the opportunity to demonstrate their support and love in whatever way felt right for them—be it kitchenware or an educational charity." —Alexandra, donated to The Algebra Project
"I serve on the National Board of Governors for the Human Rights Campaign and this organization is near and dear to my heart. We never thought marriage was possible for us—and the work of this organization made it possible for all LGBTQ couples to marry and become legally recognized. Our marriage came on the heels of the one year anniversary of the groundbreaking Supreme Court decision! It was a day we'll never forget, spent with friends, family and loved ones." —Ann, donated to Human Rights Campaign Foundation
"When I heard about the Orlando shooting, my heart broke for everyone impacted by it, which I really think includes all of us. I thought about how my fiancé (now husband) and I were so lucky that our relationship, engagement and marriage was so celebrated by our family and friends. We take it for granted that our love for each other is accepted and welcomed. While significant strides have been made, the shooting highlighted for me that there are still so many who, although they now have the right to marry, may not have the same support and love shown for their relationships that we have. In some small way I felt that The Knot Gifts Back program was a way for us to share some of the outpouring of love that we received with others who may not have the same experience." —Cathy, donated to Human Rights Campaign Foundation
"Brayton and I dated nine years before getting engaged. Almost every day for those nine years I asked him for a puppy. Last summer he surprised me with not one, but two goldendoodle puppies! They are our babies and mean so much to us both—they even were part of our engagement. I have always been an animal lover so donating to The Humane Society was a no-brainer! I love the work they do and admire their genuine love for the animals they care for." —Ashley, donated to The Humane Society of the US
"I used to work at a children's hospital and I had the opportunity to see the kids that have somebody or something that help them have a good day in a sea of bad days. The events that Make-A-Wish organizes for those kids make a huge difference in their life. It's a charity that I believe in, and it's a charity that I try to support in any way I can." —Allie, donated to Make-A-Wish Foundation
"We chose to participate in The Knot Gifts Back because the National Multiple Sclerosis Society has been something that David and I started participating in when we were dating. To not have your grandmother at your wedding is very hard. And to be able to celebrate her life and others who are affected by this disease by participating in The Knot Gifts Back makes me feel as if one day a bride won't have to worry about her grandmother not being there because MS took her too soon—because there will be a cure." —Kari, donated to National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Did you use The Knot Gifts Back too? Let us know what you thought here.

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