Real brides share why they opted for charitable donations in lieu of traditional guest favors.

People often tell the betrothed, “Your wedding day should be all about you.” While the advice makes sense for many aspects of a wedding, some philanthropic couples choose to incorporate a cause they care about into their big day as well. We asked several local newlyweds who opted to make a donation in lieu of favors to share their experiences.

Why did you forgo favors for a donation?

Martin: It seems like wedding guests often forget their favors on the table. We're definitely guilty of that! We loved the idea of making a positive impact through a donation instead.

Schmitz: When I moved to Columbus, we bought our first dog [together]: an 8-week-old Bernese Mountain Dog we named Duke. We loved that pup beyond words. When Duke was about 5 months old, he got very sick. Unfortunately, after suffering from numerous [serious medical conditions], Duke died at just 1 year and 12 days old. To say we were [heart]broken was an understatement. We had always dreamed that Duke would help walk me down the aisle. Since he couldn't be there, we wanted to honor him in some other way.

How did you decide which charity the donation would benefit?

Martin: We are animal lovers and chose to make a donation to Capital Area Humane Society. [It's] an organization very close to our hearts because we adopted our two cats, Rafi and Larry, from there.

Casto: We chose our charity because it directly funds much-needed research for a rare cancer affecting a close loved one.

What was the feedback from your guests?

Casto: Guests who were aware of who the donation was in honor of seemed very touched, and many shed tears. Other guests reached out to us and mentioned how they thought it was a very thoughtful gesture, especially with it being such a personal decision.

Schmitz: Many people thought it was such a good idea. We never heard anything negative. I think people just know us and how much Duke meant to us. I think many people felt good that their names were part of helping other dogs like Duke.