Why Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Told Their Wedding Guests Not To Bring Gifts

It feels like ages ago that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry tied the knot. In reality, though, only a handful of years have passed since the couple got hitched in May 2018. The American actor and British royal wed at St. George's Chapel in front of 600 guests. Though the date (a weekend) and the location (not Westminster Abbey) were unusual, their ceremony itself was quite traditional.

Afterward, invitees joined the happy couple for the customary luncheon at St. George's Hall hosted by the late Queen Elizabeth II. The event was followed by a quick outfit change — particularly from Meghan's chic initial wedding day look — and a paring down of the guest list to friends and family, before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex held a private evening affair at Frogmore House.

Throughout it all, they acknowledged certain customs that happen at every royal wedding while breaking with tradition for others, such as their wedding cake, which was a lemon sponge infused with elderflower syrup instead of the standard royal fruitcake. Likewise, the wedding registry was also altered by the couple. The lovebirds did an about-face, asking that their guests forego boxes and bows on their big day.

Why the Sussexes asked their guests not to come bearing gifts

Instead of showering them with gifts that they likely didn't even need, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex requested that their guests make donations to some of their favorite charities instead. Together the lovebirds hand-selected seven worthy causes that they felt most strongly about. In an official statement from Kensington Palace, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry confirmed that the donations would go towards causes "including sport for social change, women's empowerment, conservation, the environment, homelessness, HIV and the Armed Forces," (via Twitter). 

The couple championed many of these causes as part of their royal duties, and indeed after they defected from The Firm too. For example, Harry has long been known to continue his mother's efforts with HIV and AIDS awareness resulting in their choosing of CHIVA (Children's HIV Association). 

Similarly, Meghan has made her passion for women's empowerment clear, thus their inclusion of the Myna Mahila Foundation, which is devoted to uplifting and supporting women living in the urban slums of Mumbai. Several of the charities released statements saying they were honored to be a part of the Sussexes' charity wedding registry, a rising trend that isn't exclusive to royals.

What do you get the couple who has it all?

A charity wedding registry is exactly what it sounds like; instead of filling your list with gifts, you select personal causes and ask your guests to donate what they would spend on a present to a charity of their choosing. It's perfect for couples who don't really want gifts or already own many of the newlywed items that typically make up a registry — or those amazingly altruistic individuals who want to start their marriage off on a positive note.

Guests often still want to give something at a wedding to show their appreciation and love. Creating a charity wedding registry is taking advantage of their gift-giving spirit to make a much bigger difference than any one person could likely achieve on their own through a single donation. Of course, you could always include both a charitable option and a traditional, tangible gift in your invites, letting your guests decide for themselves. 

Many may feel inclined to pursue both avenues, still acquiring the requisite bath mats while also making a modest gift to charity in the process. This type of wedding registry has increased in popularity exponentially since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle brought it to the public's attention with their royal wedding, and we're all for it. Giving back on your big day sends nothing but good vibes into the universe!