‘Tis the season to give thanks, so I thought I would mention charitable ideas for your wedding. If you’re older, already have all the china and martini sets you need, or just feel like giving something back to the community, consider some of these options.
You can contact the I Do Foundation, which will make donations on your behalf if you set up a registry through their site. The I Do Foundation can help you give money to sites like the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal, among other organizations. Another place to look is Wedding Republic, which has an official launch in January.
The Human Rights Campaign has its own registry, in which money is given in your name, as does Freedom to Marry. Direct donations can be made to places like the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the LGBT section of the ACLU.
Other options include going local: Check with the HRC to find the LGBT organizations in your state, or city, to make a donation. In Pennsylvania, for example, contact Equality Pennsylvania. If you reside in New York, consider Empire Pride Agenda.
If you’d prefer people to make direct donations, choose your organization(s) and let guests know the URL and snail-mail addresses. Since it’s considered bad etiquette to list a charity on your invitation, spread the news the way you would any gift registry — have everyone in your wedding party blab. Another option, for those of you who’ve decided any gift is the wrong gift, is to donate money yourself and let your guests know. If that’s the case, you might place cards on the table that say “a donation to ‘organization’ has been made in your name.”
On a side note, no matter what you say or do, some people will bring you gifts. Accept it gracefully. If you’re worried lots of guests are planning to shower you, consider registering at one store. Once again, don’t mention it yourself, just let the wedding party know.
All of the above organizations have outstanding reputations, and are wonderful places to donate on behalf of equality. However, a gay wedding does not mean your charity must go to a LGBT organization. Feel free to donate to whomever you want. People give to sites as various as the American Red Cross and to animal rescue sites like the Mutt Shack Animal Rescue Foundation. It’s your wedding, and your heart.
If you have any doubts about your preferred organization, contact the Better Business Bureau. Not only do they provide information on standards and complaints, they offer addresses and contact numbers.
David Toussaint is the author of the Gay Couple's Guide to Wedding Planning, Gay and Lesbian Weddings: Planning the Perfect Same-Sex Ceremony, and TOUSSAINT!.