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8 Ways to Make 'Philanthropy' Your Wedding Theme

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Sponsored by FareStart 

Vintage, glamorous, rustic, modern. Thanks to planning tools like Pinterest, wedding theme possibilities are virtually (no pun intended) endless. True, choosing a direction can help you narrow down a mind-boggling number of options during the planning process, but what if you're looking to go beyond the typical theme? What if you'd like your wedding to be about something bigger, besides the obvious fact that you're marrying your best friend?  

Weddings offer a unique opportunity for you to give back to your community in a variety of meaningful ways. If you're looking to incorporate the greater good into your big day, it's especially important to note that you don’t need to sacrifice quality when choosing non-profit organizations for your wedding. We've come up with a few simple, affordable ways the charitable couple can still have the wedding of their dreams with a side of philanthropy.  

1. Forgo the Favors  

In lieu of your typical favors, consider donating to a favorite charity. Let your guests know which cause you've donated to by placing a sign near the guest book or on a small card at each place setting.  

2. Catering with a Cause 

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photo: FareStart Catering

Have an organization like FareStart, a culinary job placement and training program for disadvantaged individuals, cater your food. Under the direction of seasoned catering professionals, students prepare gourmet, personalized cuisine and every one of your dollars helps to fund job training and support for disadvantaged people in your community. And don’t think that by choosing a non-profit you'll be forgoing quality. FareStart competes with some of the best caterers, which makes giving back feel like an added benefit. 

3. Support local farmers  

This can be done with both flowers and food. Check with your florist or caterer to be sure they source their supplies locally.   

4. Choose a non-profit venue 

Opt for a venue supported by a non-profit agency, like FareStart's spacious urban-themed restaurant in downtown Seattle or their elegant, new Panoramic Room at the historic Pacific Tower with views that stretch from the Olympics to the Cascades.  If you're looking to support the arts or local history, consider hosting your wedding at a museum or historical site.  

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photo: FareStart's Panoramic Room

5. Don't Leave the Leftovers 

Contact your local nursing home and/or hospital to see if they'll accept a flower donation, so your centerpieces can be enjoyed by others for the next few days. Put a friend or family member in charge of safely delivering the flowers post-reception.   

Connect with a local organization that will accept leftover food donations. Make sure you and your caterer are aware of the organization's regulations surrounding the types of food that can be donated and how it needs to be packaged, as well as their requirements for drop-off. 

6. Give back with the gown 

Find your dream dress at a charity gown sale like one of the many events held by Brides for a Cause, where you can find both new and lightly used designer gowns at a fraction of the cost and a percentage of the proceeds are donated to Wish Upon a Wedding

Post-wedding you can also pay it forward by donating your gown to an organization like Brides for a Cause or Brides Across America, a non-profit that provides military brides with their dream gowns.  

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photo: FareStart's downtown Seattle restaurant

7. A Charitable Registry 

Websites like the I Do Foundation make it easy for your guests to gift you with a donation to your favorite charity. 

8. Get the Gang Involved 

Spend some quality time volunteering with your bridal party before the big day. Donating your time to a local food bank or getting involved in a community charity event (like a 5K!), is a great way to ease some wedding stress while giving back.  

Whether you opt to include one, or all of the above ideas on your special day, you'll be able to add an extra layer of celebration knowing you've also paid it forward.

Catering by FareStart can help you create something completely unique: an event that will be truly memorable in your life, and truly meaningful in the lives of others. We deliver delicious food and outstanding service in any setting, including our two inspiring venues. FareStart, where happily ever after happens every day.

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