In Lieu of “in lieu of”

| January 25, 2011

For the sake of honesty, let me admit that this has not only been a hard post for me to write (it’s been saved as a draft for over a month), but also a difficult topic for me to tackle. Everything in this post pertains to my fiance and I as a couple…they’re our thoughts, our feelings, our opinions. I don’t want to disrespect the decisions of any other couple who has opted to donate in lieu of favors. To Each Their Own.

We both feel strongly about charitable giving and want to include it in our wedding as much as possible. In 2009 and 2010, charity favors were everywhere, so we thought about continuing the trend and donating to our choice charity.

Never, in a million years, would I have ever thought doing such a thing would be offensive or controversial! I mean, if I’m not offended, no one else should be offended? Everyone thinks the same as I do, right? ;-)

A few months back, a family member expressed how she felt about her boss’ annual “gift” to the employees–a donation to a charity. Basically, she found it offensive because (at least with this particular boss) it was  just a way for that person to get a tax write-off. When I mentioned “but the idea is good” and “well we’re thinking of donating to a charity in lieu of favors at our wedding”, things really got interesting. This family member and that family member explained their feelings as wedding guests when a couple did this. {See, what you have to realize is I’ve only been to two weddings in my whole life, so I know little to nothing about being a guest}.

In a nutshell, they felt that (with these particular couples) making a donation and then publicizing it to all the guests was just a way to say “look at how perfect of people we are.”

In the moment, I was defensive. After I did more thinking, though, part of the rationale made sense. The last thing we want to do is offend our guests by donating to charity…though, just writing that sentence feels contradictory. Donations should make people feel good, not bad! 

We have already booked a photobooth. Really, we did it for entertainment purposes, but it is essentially a “favor,” or a gift to our guests. Plus, we have plans to make puppy chow edible favors for each of our guests. Wouldn’t adding a piece of paper to tell our guests we donated to charity be both environmentally wasteful and overkill??? We think so.

So, we will still be making a donation to charity, but we’re doing it in honor of our marriage…in honor of the things that are important to us as a couple. We’re doing it for us. If our guests find out about it, so be it. If they don’t, they don’t.

1 John 3:18

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