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5 Ways Your Wedding Can Give Back to the Community


The wedding industry in 2013 was estimated to be worth $53.4 billion dollars in America, and Austin wedding venues are not exempt from those earnings! That’s a lot of investment in the love lives of so many couples. Couples are spending more on weddings than ever before; and while the price tag of weddings is going up, the waste doesn’t have to too.

At Gather Venues, a wedding venue in Austin, we continually support our community by giving up close to $75,000 in profits a year to nonprofits and mission-based organizations doing important work in our community. We’ve worked with organizations like African Leadership Bridge and Sanctuary Project; two organizations changing the lives of people right here in Austin.

And because we take community impact seriously, we encourage our clients to do the same. You don’t have to donate $75,000 to make a big impact on the community. We’ve identified 5 ways your wedding can help make the world a better and more sustainable place for everyone.

Book a venue and caterer that give back

Often the biggest expense for weddings is the venue and the catering service. These are large investments in your special day; so if you’re interested in supporting initiatives locally, see how your venue and caterer invest in their local communities.

Gather continually gives space to nonprofit organizations, but in addition to that, we work with Impact Hub Austin to house the Austin Impact Accelerator program. A program that is focused on solving our city’s affordability issues. In short, we’re not your average Austin wedding venue!

Some caterers donate food to shelters and organizations; others give a percentage of their profits back to nonprofits. Use a community impact lens when shopping around for a caterer. Not only does it ensure your wedding is supporting impact, but it also creates the demand for catering companies to provide ways to give back.

Use recyclable materials and dishware.

Events create waste. There’s no getting around that fact. But you can take active steps to reduce the amount of waste you use for your big day. Using glassware instead of plastic plates is a great option. If glassware isn’t quite in the budget, then use paper plates and be sure to recycle them at the end of the night.

And the decorations! We obviously don’t want to sacrifice style and aesthetic for our big day, which is why there are companies like The Materials Marketplace and Austin Resource Recovery. They provide a variety of services that haul waste and recyclable materials away; so you don’t have to be in a gown or tux worrying about where things need to go.

Give plantable favors and takeaways to your guests!

The famed wedding favor. How many candles and wine glasses do you have from weddings past? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good-smelling candle but there are ways we can be creative and sustainable with our favors.

Plants are a fun thing to give away if most of your guests are local. (No one wants to take a succulent through TSA checkpoints, let’s be honest). Instead of gifting plants to guests, seed paper is becoming more and more popular. Use seed paper as a favor for guests. They can take it home and plant it while remembering the special day they had with you and your spouse!

Donate in lieu of gifts…or have a donation dance.

This one is hard, I’ll admit that. Some new couples need the money gifted to them from the wedding to start their new life together. If you can afford to donate to a nonprofit in lieu of receiving gifts, do that!

But if you’re like most new couples; student debt and housing costs alone are enough to put the brakes on a wedding. So celebrate y’all and instead of the traditional dollar-dances that fully embarrass the newlyweds, have a donation dance. It’ll be a touching and intimate moment and you can use the money collected to give to your favorite organizations.

To make it a little more fun have a few different organizations for guests to choose and as soon as they put the money in the jar; they get a dance with the couple!

Support companies and vendors that have a mission.

Your venue and your caterer are typically the most expensive parts of your wedding, but there are a lot of other vendors involved in your big day. Give your money to companies that are supporting sustainability efforts.

Look out for B Corporations; which are businesses that balance purpose and profit. TOMS is a  good example of the B Corp. But there are a lot of local businesses that support our community and the world.

We know your wedding can change your world; so why not change the whole world too?

Written by:
Mindy Morgan Avitia


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