Family, Personal Finance 

One Clever Idea You’ve Never Thought of to Save Money on a Wedding

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Wedding PhotosOne of the most expensive financial decisions many of us make is having a wedding.

While my wedding was pretty modest (coming in at right around $3,000), the average cost of a wedding as of this writing is a little more than $28,000!

Who has $28,000 to spend on a wedding — especially if you have student debt and you are hoping to save up for a house?

One way to pay for your wedding is to obtain sponsorships to help you take care of the costs. This is the approach Donnie Gallagher and his fiancee Jennifer are taking. They hope to raise $25,000 in services and and cash to pay for their dream wedding on February 14, 2014 (yes, that’s Valentine’s Day). If they manage to raise more than $25,000, everything extra will be donated to charity.

Should You Find Sponsors for Your Wedding?

“Jennifer and I are recent college graduates paying back student debt,” Donnie says. The couple also plans to save up to buy a house, since mortgage rates are low, and so are prices.

In order to fund their wedding, the two decided that finding sponsors would be the best way to get their wedding off the ground, saving them money while still allowing them to have the wedding they want.

So far the couple has one sponsor, a photographer willing to donate $500 worth of services for the wedding. Donnie is confident, though, that the two of them will find more sponsors. “We need to continue to send our message out to as many people as we can,” he says. “Once we beat down enough doors, we will find the right sponsors.”

Of course, no business is going to sponsor a wedding without receiving some sort of recognition. Donnie says that corporate sponsors will be recognized in a number of ways. He says that sponsors will be promoted on the couple’s wedding web site, as well as through the social media accounts associated with the wedding effort.

But what about at the wedding? “We really wouldn’t mind if anything outside of the main ceremony was branded or contained promotional pieces,” Donnie says. This means that sponsors could have branded materials at the reception.

The hardest part of the whole operation so far, Donnie says, has been trying to find a charity to work with. While some of the sponsors the couple has talked with so far have been open to the idea — even if they haven’t signed on officially yet — charities have been harder to work with.

“Jennifer suffered a stroke in 2011, so we wanted to partner with a stroke-related charity because that is a cause that we have a personal connection with.” Donnie says. Unfortunately, it has been difficult, with many charities refusing to allow them to show public support as part of the wedding. “The reason I was given was that they would not be ‘the sole reason for giving,'” he says.

Even though the charities said that they would be happy to accept any donations, they don’t want their names out there in association with the sponsored wedding.

Other than that, Donnie hopes that he and Jennifer will be able to find sponsors for their wedding, and perhaps be able to donate to a good cause to boot.

What do you think? Would you ever find sponsors for a wedding? Or would you prefer to just save up?

Image: Katsunojiri via Flikr

{ 24 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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24 Responses to “One Clever Idea You’ve Never Thought of to Save Money on a Wedding”

  1. I actually think it’s a good idea. I would expect the charities to be ambivalent about it. Maybe a smaller non-profit would be interested.

  2. It’s amazing how much people spend on weddings. That’s why I see a lot of people nowadays eloping and just have a small gatherings at home afterwards. These are good idea to save money if ever you plan on having a big day.

  3. Or you could simply have a wedding within your means instead of asking other people to pay for it.

    • Betsy says:

      Agreed! My husband is a wedding officiant and has come to expect many couples to try to convince him to come down on his price. However, he’s learned not to lower his prices except in clearly extenuating circumstances since those are often the same couples that show up in an expensive limo!

    • mimipaula1 says:

      Thank you, Jenny@FrugalGuruGuide! What a novel idea–your wedding being paid for by your money! Or put in other terms: Your PASSION is to be funded by your INVESTMENT!

  4. admiral58 says:

    just cut back on flowers

  5. Sponsorships for a wedding? I’ve heard of this mini-trend, but mostly in a joking way. I think having those corporate banners hanging in the background of the wedding photos would be odd, though …

  6. Darhon says:

    I find this practice very “tacky” at best, expecting somebody ELSE to pay for your own wedding. I would suggest, as a compromise, that the couple ask that invited guests “sponsor” the ceremony INSTEAD of giving gifts. Who knows, they might get enough to pay for a good chunk of their dream wedding if they invite enough people. If only 100 people give gifts of $100, that’s $10,000 right there!.

    However, as others suggested, have a wedding within your means. I was a new college graduate and had NO money when I got married. My entire wedding cost $700 and was held in a church basement…..we are still married 39 years later! The wedding does not make a marriage. It’s all about commitment…not throwing a big party.

    I would also think that if this woman is a “stroke survivor,” she should have higher priorities than throwing a gala wedding.

    • jim says:

      You have the right mindset and are very sensible. Maybe that is why you have been married for 39 years.

  7. celia milton says:

    Tacky, creepy, insulting and downright ridiculous. As a professional, why would I want to donate MY services? Would the couple work for free? No. Then why would they even consider that any quality vendor would? The answer is that they won’t.

    The real clever idea is to cut your guest list and plan the wedding you can afford. It may not be the wedding you “want”, but hey, life it like that. I want a Jaguar too. I drive a Scion. You get what you want when you work and plan and save.

    Most of your advice is spot on and you know I love your site, but please don’t post any more ridiculous “advice” like this. It just damages your credibility.

    • celia milton says:

      Just as a PS, I”m a wedding officiant in NJ, with close to 800 weddings in my history.

    • jim says:

      You hit the nail on the head. This idea reaches a new low when it comes to etiquette. It sounds like something that people who have lived on welfare their whole lives would think up. It is no different than wanting sponsors to help you buy that dream house or help furnish your new McMansion because you spent so much on the house you can’t afford to furnish it. I should stop right here as I am only giving them ideas.

      By the way, I want to buy a Cadillac. Does anyone want to help sponsor my oil changes?

  8. celia milton says:

    Oh, and just for the record? If you’re looking for a bargain, planning your wedding on Valentine’s day is the first bad decision.

  9. SLCCOM says:

    Tacky, tacky, tacky. If you want to support a stroke charity, ask for no gifts and indicate that donations should be sent to whatever charity.

    Anything over $25,000? Really?

  10. admiral58 says:

    save a lot on flowers and venue

  11. Steph says:

    Wedding sponsorship is so tacky! If you can’t afford the lavish wedding of your dreams, you need to either downgrade your dreams or old off on getting married until you can afford it.

    I’m a broke, recent grad who is paying off her student loans AND saving up for a wedding with a modest budget of $5,000. My BF is still in grad school, so all of the saving is on my shoulders. Based on this article, I think I can assume that both partners are working professionals, so I don’t see why they wouldn’t be able to save for the wedding AND pay their bills.

    As it has already been stated, don’t get married on Feb 14. BAM! There’s half your budget. Shrink your guest list to 75 or less, have 3 or fewer attendants each and get married on a Friday or Sunday. There are so many ways to slash a wedding budget without feeling like you’re missing out, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT!

  12. I think it is a unique way to get something you want and allow companies to pay if they choose. Maybe an up and coming cake decorator would like to donate a cake so that others may come to them in the furture. Maybe a photographer is looking to be able to share examples of their work and this gives them a entire portfolio they could share, if agreed upon anyway. New DJ trying to get some practice and maybe get a free dinner in the process. This seems like it could be a huge win-win for all those involved. Now I can’t see Coke, Bud, Coors, etc sponsoring something like this but it is certainly a way to look outside the box. I imagine my wedding is going to involve a lot of services and time donated by family and friends to reduce cost. We don’t need a five course meal or a fancy cake but each person desires different things. My guests will be invited to come and have a good time without any expectation of gift or donation from them. If they are close enough for us to invite them then they are close enough for us to have them as GUESTS.

  13. Shirley says:

    I would definitely not do this sort of thing.

  14. Scott says:

    Hi Celia, What’s a good officiant (such as yourself) charging for a wedding nowdays? In general? Thanks.

  15. Shafi says:

    If they have insurance for funerals, morgue, limo, and other costs, pretty soon they’ll have insurance for weddings as well. If you have ever watched “The Odd Couple” TV show (it’s ON weekdays on MeTV at 10:00 PM on our side of the aisle), Oscar Madison bet on his own wedding with his bookie in his own favor that he’d go through it. He didn’t and many of his friends lost money. He did too.

    In that kinda case, you should have insurance that you’d go through it. If not or if somebody objects, the insurance will pick up the tab.

  16. admiral58 says:

    any posts for how to save money on memorial day weekend events? seems timely

  17. Scott says:

    As the president of a small charity myself, we’ll take the money! I understand that charities my have a brand or image to protect just like any other business, but come on, you’ve got charities that will accept a check from a major gambling event but not a wedding? Maybe our economy is doing better than I thought…

  18. Wow. I wish I had thought of this when my wife and I got married a few years ago. We had a New Orleans-themed wedding in Baltimore, could have gotten the tourism board to sponsor us!

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