Even if they’ve requested no gifts, showing up to a wedding without something for the couple can feel awkward. Newlyweds may direct guests to donate to a favorite cause or charity on their behalf, but when they don’t, it can be hard to find an alternative to arriving empty-handed.
In the same way a couple would appreciate a donation in their name, they may appreciate knowing you’ve chosen to buy them something that supports a small business. They may also enjoy knowing you’ve selected a gift that helps them live more sustainably.
The eight ideas that follow come recommended by environmental activists and social-justice advocates who have dedicated their time to making the planet more equitable and inhabitable. They include gifts both practical and charitable, all of which do a bit more good than your traditional toaster oven.
Elizabeth Teo works in communications for the Toronto Environmental Alliance. She uses social media to draw attention to climate- and waste-related issues.
Hive Brands grocery box, from $10
“Customize a zero-waste kit from Hive Brands for the couple. You can pick and choose items to stay within a budget. It saves them the hassle and helps them get started in their new home.”
“This worm composter is a useful gift and a hands-on learning experience. It turns food scraps into nutrient-rich compost for a garden. You can place it in a kitchen without having to worry about the smell or pests.”
Pattie Gonia, a drag queen and an environmentalist, raises money and awareness for L.G.B.T.Q. and environmental groups.
“A membership to a co-op in the couple’s area supports local farmers, ranchers, and producers. It helps our planet and supports a local economy. My favorite: Central Oregon Locavore in Bend, Ore.”
Nori carbon removal, from $15
“Carbon offsets reduce the emissions produced by things like driving or flying. You can purchase them through renewable-energy projects or carbon-sequestering projects like Nori. The gift sparks thoughtful conversations about our environment.”
Francesca Willow is the blogger behind the Ethical Unicorn, which covers sustainability and social justice.
“A subscription to Who Gives A Crap sends bulk toilet paper or paper towels made from recycled paper. For people who are creating new homes together, it’s an easy, sustainable, and convenient lifestyle alternative.”
Choose Love donation, from $1
Choose Love does invaluable work across the world to provide refugees and displaced people everything from search-and-rescue boats to food and legal advice. If a couple prefers charity donations, it’s my top choice.
Gina Danza left a corporate job in television in 2017 to become an outdoor photographer who encourages people of color to explore nature.
“Reusable Stasher bags are great for cooking, traveling, and more. If the couple opens them before the wedding, they can even freeze a slice of wedding cake in one.”
Indigenous Women Hike donation, from $1
“Everywhere you stand is Native land. People get married on Native land. A donation to Indigenous Women Hike will help fund work to raise awareness of Indigenous history on public lands.”