Charitable Wedding Registries

Ivy Lamb

One Columbus couple raised $27,000 for charity in lieu of a traditional wedding registry.

When Lori and Michael Corey were planning their wedding last year, the thought of setting up a traditional registry just didn't feel true to them. Instead of picking out household items (many of which they didn't need), the couple decided to use the registry as way to share their passion for philanthropy with their guests.

In lieu of traditional wedding gifts, Lori and Michael invited guests to donate to one (or all) of the charities they selected. "It was a really easy decision," Michael says. "I think we talked about it for about five minutes. The harder part was picking the actual charities."

In the end, they chose four charities with personal significance to each of them. Lori, a social worker with the Homeless Families Foundation, set up a fund through the organization specifically to help low-income families afford household appliances like stoves and refrigerators. She also chose Clothe-A-Child, a charity run by her father that helps clothe children for the winter.

Michael, a policy analyst for the Children's Defense Fund, chose Susan G. Komen Columbus (his mother is a breast cancer survivor and they've been involved with the organization for many years) and a scholarship fund at the Columbus Academy, which was set up in Michael's father's memory.

The couple set up links to each charity on their wedding website, along with instructions on how to donate in their name. They asked for regular updates from each nonprofit so they could send out thank-you notes and track the overall amount donated.

At their Aug. 8 wedding, they announced during the reception that guests had donated $15,000 all told. But it didn't stop there. Friends and family continued to make donations even after the wedding was over, and in the end, they collectively gave $27,000 to charity. "We tried to make the wedding reflect us as much as possible and this was an extension of that," Michael says. "We were blown away by our guests' generosity."

Lori and Michael both agree that setting up a charitable registry was not only a great way to give back, it also made their wedding more personal and meaningful. "It represented what we care about," Lori says, adding that some guests signed up to get regular emails from the charities and later decided to adopt a homeless family instead of doing Christmas gifts that year.

Adds Michael: "I think every wedding and relationship is unique to the couple and we wanted this to be as much a part of that as anything else. We got to help organizations we really care about-we'll support these orgs for the rest of our lives-and our friends and family members also got to know us better through this." œ