Weddings are without doubt joyous occasions for families, friends, and of course the couple exchanging lifelong vows in front of those they hold dear. However, in many cases weddings can be both stressful to plan and stressful on budgets. However, this does not have to be the case. With proper planning you can even find innovative ways to write your wedding off on your taxes.
1. Put that extra food to good use.
Whether due to a couple of last minute no shows or a caterer that got a little carried away, having a lot of food after a wedding does not have to be a burden or a bad thing. You can arrange with a food bank to donate those extra edible favors or reception menu items. You will be helping people in need have a great meal (that was no doubt meticulously planned) and you can also get a receipt or letter from the food bank so that you can write off a portion of the food costs off on your taxes. It is a win-win all around, and some caterers will go ahead and package all left over food into nice containers to deliver to the food banks if you let them know before hand.
Feeding America provides a list of food banks by state. You can also search by zip code.
2. Stop and smell the roses.
Then give them away. No seriously, unless you’re interested in getting a bouquet preserved for a memento. You can donate your flowers to a hospital, nursing home, women’s shelter or even school instead of them inevitably ending up in the trash. Get a receipt from the charity for about 25%-50% of the original cost because you used the flowers and decor at the wedding first. Additionally, there are a few nonprofits that utilize volunteer efforts to help with delivery of the flowers. Two examples of this are Petal Share and Repeat Roses.
3. Ditch the Dress.
While some keep their wedding dresses for decades to admire, others choose to trash their dresses immediately after a wedding. Another option is to donate your dress to someone in need. This can go for bridesmaids as well, they can donate their dresses to an organization like Becca’s Closet which supplies underprivileged girls with prom dresses. Wonderful causes and wonderful uses for your dress that just so happen to be a tax write off for you. Simply get a receipt from the organization you donated to.
4. In lieu of Wedding Favors Donate to Charity.
This one is pretty self explanatory. If you and your fiancé have a favorite cause, let your guests know that you have donated to charity in lieu of doing wedding favors. You can give your guests a more personalized feel by having pictures and/or stories of people that the donation has helped. Another spin on this is to make your wedding into a charitable event, sponsoring a particular organization. Choose your favorite charitable cause and speak with them about turning your wedding into a fundraiser for their cause. Then instead of guests providing wedding presents they would make a donation to the nonprofit on your behalf.
5.) Choose a Charitable Venue.
Many places of worship are tax exempt and if you give them a donation then the amount of the donation can be written off on your taxes. It is not allowed to write off expenses for venue usage fees or service fees. However, if you choose to pay any amount to the place of worship in excess of the amount charged for using the venue, then you can write off that amount on your taxes. Additionally, if you choose to hold your ceremony or reception in a nonprofit venue this rule will apply as well. Many museums, botanical gardens, and historical sites are nonprofit organizations.
A QUICK NOTE: The IRS requires that you provide receipts in order to receive these tax write offs. These receipts should include the name of the nonprofit or charity, the amount you donated, and the date of your contribution. Large donations have additional criteria needed by the IRS. Always check with your accounting professional to get the more detailed ins and outs of what you need to do. Or you can read IRS Form 526 for more specific guidelines.
Featured photo credit: © micromonkey via us.fotolia.com