Plan a Wedding that Gives Back

The love of our Central Oregon lifestyle and beauty of our natural surroundings is contagious. As is the love you feel for your fiancée and those who celebrate with you. If you’re interested in creating lasting memories and a positive impact on our community at your wedding, consider planning one that gives back.

Methods of incorporating this theme into your special day are truly limitless, but we’ve compiled some accessible and modifiable ideas for Central Oregon weddings to get you started.

Give Back to Local Nonprofits


  • For your bachelor/bachelorette party, consider organizing your group to volunteer together. Try these Central Oregon nonprofits that can put groups to work:
  • Habitat for Humanity provides low cost homes for low income families. Teams help build houses, no experience necessary.
  • Central Oregon Trail Alliance is dedicated to trail stewardship. Teams participate by helping maintain and restore mountain bike trails.
  • The Giving Plate offers boxes of food to an average of 2,000 individuals every month in Bend. Groups participate in their Clean and Stock Wednesdays in preparation for food box distribution.
  • Neighbor Impact provides a diversity of services that meet basic human needs for food and shelter and also enrich people’s lives through increased education, skills, and hope for the future. Volunteers register online for projects ranging from event help to sorting food donations.
  • In lieu of gifts, you can give guests a choice of your favorite nonprofits to donate cash, goods or services. Or, consider having your rehearsal dinner at Cascade Culinary Institute’s student-run restaurant, Elevation.
  • Donate bridesmaid’s dresses to Becca’s Closet, a national organization—including a chapter in Bend—that provides prom dresses for those unable to purchase them.

Tread Lightly on the Earth

According to Phil Torchio of The Broomsmen, a Bend-based event services company, weddings typically produce between 600 and 800 pounds of waste. Multiply that by the roughly 5,000 Central Oregon marriage licenses issued each year and you can see a huge opportunity to model our love for the natural surroundings by minimizing the waste and maximizing the awesomeness.


  • Hire The Broomsmen to help your event adhere to the highest level of “leave no trace” principles. They handle all set-up and clean-up, including recycling management on site. Coming soon: a solar option for lighting and band/DJ power needs.
  • Ask that gifts be minimally packaged and wrapped.
  • Recommend carpooling if your ceremony and/or reception will be some distance from where most guests are staying. Better yet, hire a clean energy option, such as The Bend Tour Company!
  • Keep the guest list on the shorter side.
  • Have table décor double as wedding favors.
  • Locally source your food and drink.
  • Use natural elements for place cards and wedding favors.
  • Check in with the team at the Environmental Center for ideas!
  • If nothing else, please be sure to avoid single-use plastics like water bottles and disposable cups.
  • Get Creative!
  • Take your photo session up several notches. Instead of carrying flower bouquets, the bridal party carries or walks adoptable animals from the local shelter, giving them visibility to a potential forever home match.
  • For wedding invitations or party favors, choose paper that incorporates wildflower seeds, so that they can be planted and grow into something beautiful.
  • Look for vendors whose values match yours. Hire a photographer with a soft spot for families who can’t afford photo sessions. Choosing that photographer for a paid gig helps them afford to spend time on those families. Book a caterer that regularly donates meals to cancer patients, or a DJ who provides music at retirement homes. The ideas are limitless.
  • Once you have chosen to “give back” at your wedding, share your ideas through photos and comments on local social media sites.