Weddings are typically an occasion for both giving and receiving -- the happy couple welcomes their guests with elaborate (and expensive) food, drink, music and favors, and in turn are showered with all kinds of gifts and well-wishes. One trend we're loving, though, is the effort many couples are now making to mark the significance of their union with an effort to raise awareness and support for charitable causes.

For brides and grooms who have enough chip-and-dip bowls and bath towels, JustGive.org and the I Do Foundation has made it easy to create a registry for charitable donations instead of traditional wedding gifts.  You can also make a charitable donation in lieu of purchasing typical wedding favors, and the organization will, upon request, provide a printable PDF that you can print and frame for your guest tables announcing the gift you've made.

An organization called Changing the Present also has a very cool system for charitable wedding favors.  You can pick what you wish to donate -- books for children, treats for sanctuary animals, concrete for playgrounds, among many other choices -- and design your own custom favor cards.

Brides Against Breast Cancer and the Pink Envelope Project accepts donations in exchange for beautiful pink favor cards that can be distributed at the wedding.  You can also accept guests' donations  as gifts in the corresponding pink envelopes.

The American Diabetes Association will also, with a minimum donation, provide complimentary personalized scrolls, tent cards, or bookmarks for you to give to your guests at the wedding.

What a beautiful way to celebrate a new life together!