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Many couples are turning to charitable giving as an alternative to receiving gifts. (Metro Creative Services)

Have your cake and share it, too

During a time when bridezillas are glamorized and over-the-top celebrity weddings are broadcast for the world, some couples are opting to do something more altruistic on their special day.

With more than $125 billion spent annually on weddings, engaged couples are welcoming the opportunity to give back as part of their wedding day. Charitable weddings are in vogue, and, thanks to the Internet, it has never been easier to use your wedding as a vehicle to raise money for charity.

The trend of charitable weddings -- celebrations where couples incorporate their socially conscious values into their wedding planning -- has exploded over the past few years. The I Do Foundation is a leading voice for charitable weddings, and more than 10 percent of engaged couples visit each year to learn how they can personalize their weddings by giving back to a charity of their choice. And now that the I Do Foundation has teamed up with, the premier source for online charitable giving, there are even more opportunities for engaged couples to make a difference with charitable giving.

"The I Do Foundation has always envisioned a world where charitable giving was a more integral part of many life events," stated Executive Director Grant La Rouche. "With our new home at JustGive, we are well positioned to build on our success with weddings for other areas of charitable giving."

The I Do Foundation has helped couples raise more than $20 million in charitable donations. The foundation's highest earning wedding raised more than $50,000 alone. Here's how it works.

* In place of traditional favors, couples can make charitable donations to honor their guests.

* Couples can create gift registries with major retail partners that donate up to eight percent of all revenue from gifts.

* Wedding guests can choose to make donations in lieu of giving gifts.

* Participating vendors, including those that sell stationery, honeymoons, jewelry, and more, help generate donations with every purchase.

Couples can choose to support one of the foundation's popular charities or a charity that is near and dear to them. The I Do Foundation has developed a list of more than 40 innovative nonprofits and grouped them into six giving areas. You can choose to support one or more of these groups, or you can direct your donations to a general focus area, like social justice or the environment.

Charitable weddings offer another reason to celebrate a happy couple's nuptials. More information can be found at

- Metro Creative Services