Yo, fiancés – I have some great money saving advice for you, so listen up!
You know that $40,000 wedding you are planning? Yep, the one that you want to comfortably be above the $30,000 average wedding cost, so as to not appear to be cheap.
That’s a good chunk of change. So… why pay for it? I mean, sure, you could put it on a credit card and pay for it later, of course. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about why pay for it at all? Got your attention? Good.
So here’s the deal. You know those crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, IndieGogo, and GoFundMe? Why not just toss your wedding up on one of them – blast your email list (er… friends and family) and have them all pay for it?! That’s right, crowdfund your wedding!
If you get lucky or simply guilt spam everyone enough times, you might even be able to upgrade from t-bone steaks to filet mignon and hire a videographer to perfectly complement your two photographers. And that guest list of 200? Why not push it to 300? Sure, your five “besty” drinking buddies from the dorms went missing right about the same time your dearest fiancé came around, but this would be the perfect time to get the old gang back together!
I’ll even give you a script for your first email to send out to everyone:
As you are probably aware, <fill in blank> and I are getting married! We would really like to invite you to share in this most special of moments. But, there’s a problem. We’ve been buying lots of stuff to fill in the two empty rooms in our new condo and have racked up some serious credit card debt. Daddy is chipping in $20K, but sadly, we can no longer get approved for new credit cards to finance the rest of our fairy tale day.
Here is where you come in. We’re offering you the once in a lifetime opportunity to help us pay for our very special day. We are crowdfunding our wedding! We are asking everyone we know for a donation and we remembered you! We’re starting contributions off at a $100 minimum level. However, for a limited time, those who contribute $250 will get a picture taken with the bride and groom. At the $500+ level, we will screenprint that photo on the front of a commemorative “I helped fund this” porcelain plate (limited run of 200 planned). Also, keep in mind that GoFundMe charges a 7.9% + $0.30/transaction fee + $0.30, so we won’t get all of what you donate (in other words, bump it up a little to compensate – don’t be stingy!). Please hurry and contribute! (seriously, we’ve got a few minimum credit card payments we need to cover ASAP, so don’t delay).
Trust me, this is the ONLY way. What’s the alternative? Cutting the first class seats out of your 5-star, 3-week, all-inclusive, margaritas on the beach honeymoon in the Caribbean?!
Finally… and this is important… as every hard earned donation from your family, friends, acquaintances, middle school teachers, and hair stylists comes in, if you ever encounter any doubts around your mission, just look in the mirror and repeat to yourself, “You. Deserve. This.” It works like a Jedi mind trick, trust me.
Hopefully, your sarcasm radar is not broken and have already figured out that you should probably do the exact opposite of everything I’ve outlined above.
Unfortunately, crowdfunding weddings has become a real thing. And GoFundMe has seen at least “1,500 wedding-related campaigns since 2010”.
As you can imagine, there is a spectrum of tackiness that goes in to a crowfunded wedding campaigns.
On the far right end of the spectrum, you have stories like “Detroit resident Elizabeth Rodriquez, 22, and her fiancé Otoniel Cabrera, 26, turned to crowdfunding site GoFundMe in January – soon after Cabrera lost his job, leaving him out of work for months. So far, the couple has raised around $4,200 from seven donors, which will go towards their $28,000 wedding in April 2015.”
Did you catch the bolded part there?
On the other end of the spectrum, you have a “broke couple”, also highlighted in the story, who “Ask that any money you would spend on a gift goes towards our wedding expenses… hoping to stick to a $3,000 budget”. A donation to make a frugal wedding happen, in place of a material gift? OK, now that is something I could convince myself to get behind.
The latter scenario highlights the three essential ingredients to successfully pulling off a crowdfunded wedding campaign without having all of your invitees hate your guts:
- It has to be a bare-bones, cheap as possible wedding. Extravagant or high costs defeat good will.
- You should have zero ability to finance it yourself.
- Notify and reinforce that any contributions are in place of (not in addition to) a traditional wedding gift. No registry, and no double dipping. You can’t dip the chip, take a bite, and then dip again. Sorry, Costanza.
My wife and I were very fortunate to receive unsolicited support for our inexpensive wedding (which we kept under $2,500). And I don’t mean to diminish the tough financial situations that many young couples are in, but I think it’s important to remember the following before launching a crowdfunded wedding:
- This is your wedding. Nobody owes you anything. And you don’t owe them anything.
- American weddings are mostly a series of very costly and shallow corporate marketing manufactured traditions – be creative and create your own (much more inexpensive and meaningful) special day – it will mean more to you in the long run.
- If you can’t afford to cover your wedding yourself, you’re spending too much.
- It is quite admirable to push ego and other people’s expectations aside and simply down to the courthouse.
Whatever you decide, you are only setting the standard for your marriage. No pressure.