Thursday, June 11, 2015

Why You Shouldn't Kickstart Your Wedding

When we first got engaged, one of my friends sent me a text. "Do you know where you're registering?"

Very tongue in cheek, I wrote her back, "Probably Wells Fargo."

I was joking, completely joking. But I read an article not too long after about people who were actually registered at their bank instead of a store. They weren't asking for silverware and a mixer; they were asking for your cold, hard cash.

I put it out of my mind for the last two years until someone posted an article on A Bride On A Budget's Facebook page about crowdfunding a wedding. And, without even reading that article, I was filled with a ton of opinions about this. Thus, is post was born.

Kickstart Your Wedding

Crowdsourcing or crowdfunding, if you don't know, is basically asking everyone to pitch in a couple bucks to help you (with your idea, project, medical bills, etc.). Kickstarter is the most popular site to ask everyday people to give you money towards your project. Zack Braff used it to raise over three million dollars to fund his movie, Wish I Was Here (his campaign is over, but you can see it here). My favorite campaign on Kickstarter was for Bunch O Balloons (here), which gives you a way to make 100 water balloons in a minute. The campaign ended up raising almost a million dollars and the balloons are now available on Amazon, at Walmart, and more.

Then there's Go Fund Me, which is used more to just help someone in need rather than someone who wants to create something. It's where a stranger raised nearly $350,000 to buy a car for James Robertson, a Detroit man who was in the paper because he walked 23 miles a day to work (you can see his campaign here).

These backers -- the crowd -- collectively funded Zack Braff's movie, bought James Robertson a car, and can pay for your wedding. Tempting, right?

Let's be realistic. Weddings are expensive. Really expensive. After them, people joke and say, "I wish I would have saved the money we spent on our wedding and just put a down payment on a house." But that's not really too much of a joke. Weddings can be equivalent to a down payment on a house (or, in the affordable town where I lived in Pennsylvania, almost half a house). Or a brand new car. Or the rent in my apartment for three years. So to think about someone helping you pay for it, it's a fleeting thought doesn't flee too quickly.

But it should.

Every bride should have a budget. Some have a budget of $1,000; some can spend $30,000; and others assign a $100,000 price tag to their wedding. Your budget is determined by what you can save and spend. You. Just you (and your fiance and parents, if you're lucky). Not you plus anyone with an Internet connection.

You shouldn't crowdsource because you should stay in your means blah blah blah boring. That's where this could be going. And it's true. Don't overspend. Don't try to keep up with the Jones. Don't try to top the royal wedding. If you can't afford champagne, don't have it etc. etc. etc.

But, even more than that, think of the problems it could cause. What if you so casually share the link on your Facebook page (because this is what you have to do. You need to advertise your campaign or no one will be able to find you). And you write something simple in your status update that's like, "Only 12 months until my wedding day. Wanna help me pay?" And drop the link. And then Mona, some girl who was in your English class freshman year who you only accepted on Facebook because you're nice like that not because you actually ever spoke to her, donates $20 with a "Congrats."

And here is the problem.

You had no intention of inviting Mona to your wedding. You pretty much had no intention of ever talking to Mona outside of social media unless you happened to pass her at an alumni event, and even then she might only get a passing wave. But here she is, donating to your wedding. If you don't invite her, you look rude. And if you do invite her (and a guest), you are paying more for them than her donation. So now your Kickstarter campaign is actually costing you money.

Plus, it makes people feel entitled to force their opinions on you. What if Aunt Sally calls you, telling you she found the perfect wedding invitations? "You have to get them," she stressed. "They're really lovely. I'll even pay." And you see a photo and hate them. Absolutely hate them. But before you can say no, you check your Kickstarter campaign and oh look, Aunt Sally donated $100 with the message, "Now you can get those invitations we talked about." And you're stuck. Keep her money and get the invitations you really want and you hurt her feelings. Get the invitations she wants you to get and this wedding is no longer yours.

A wedding reception is a party after you and your groom commit your lives to each other. As long as you are happy and spending time with the people you love, it doesn't matter if you leave the next day for some far off island location. If you can't afford to go, don't go. Don't try to get your friends to pay for your trip.

BRIDAL BABBLE: Would you kickstart your wedding? What about yoor honeymoon?


  1. Honestly, I think it's just tacky to ask others to help pay for your wedding. Someone I went to college with posted one, specifically saying they wanted their "dream wedding" and it really left a bad taste in my mouth. You can have a wedding at any price point, and as you mentioned, the cash can realistically be put to better use anyway. Couples often fight about money, so consider funding your marriage with fiscal responsibility instead of funding a one day party.

    1. That is tacky of your college friend! You can still have a dream wedding on a budget that you and your fiance can afford. You just have to have a realistic dream (haha).

      I love the point you make about fiscal responsibility. Often, couples forget that there will be a life to pay for AFTER the wedding.

  2. I agree with your post in that it is distasteful to ask people to help pay for a wedding you can't afford. However, I'm Assyrian, and in our tradition people bring money instead of registry gifts to help cover the cost of the wedding. Guests generally give somewhere between $50-100 per person in attendance. It usually doesn't cover the total wedding cost, but it is a huge help--especially with the enormous size of our weddings. A "small" wedding for us is typically 300 people and can go up to almost 1000 guests. Crazy, I know, but the monetary gifts help. It is common practice in our tradition, but I wouldn't dare ask for it.

    1. The way I was raised, you do give monetary gifts at a wedding. That's what we do, personally. I know how expensive a wedding can be, and I know that monetary gifts can offset the cost. But, I agree with you saying you wouldn't dare ask for it. And no one should expect it either ... or ask for it before even inviting guests!