Every bride and groom planning a wedding has to sit down and budget out every part of their big day — the wedding dress, the wedding cake, the rentals, the catering, the list goes on. According to the Brides American Wedding Study, the average cost of a wedding comes out to about $28,202.
So how did Fresno-based couple Jessica Norgard and Isaac Aaron Piche manage to get most of their $80,000 wedding on June 5, 2014, for free? Simple: They bartered their services to wedding vendors.
It all started when Norgard and Piche, who own a filmmaking company, Isaac Aaron Media, were making their wedding budget that they realized that the total cost would drain the resources they could put toward their still-new business.
"We started realizing that there were so many people who thought that what we were doing was really special," Norgard told The Huffington Post in an exclusive interview. "So we thought: Why should we even pay a dime? Let's just try to do the whole thing on trade."
That means that the couple of seven years came up with a plan to offer their videography services to every potential vendor. Norgard, who does the sales aspect of the business, called the owners of local florists, caterers, dress boutiques and tuxedo shops to tell them how Isaac Aaron Media could help them — in exchange for contributing to their wedding.
Their strategy entailed a "dollar-for-dollar trade" to best account for everyone getting the most of their time and money. Having said that, they admitted to The Huffington Post that their return rate was expectedly low. Out of the 250 vendors they approached, 25 agreed. Those that did likely benefited from the video services.
In total, according to The Huffington Post, they agreed to produce 29 commercials, three web sites, three photo shoots and one web series in exchange for a wedding that cost about $80,000. That grand total included a five-star catered meal, facials before the wedding, golf carts, a venue, rented tuxes and a wedding dress that was Norgard's to keep — in fact, Black Tie & Bridal Lace gave them bridesmaids and flower girl dresses for free in addition because they thought the wedding concept was "cool."
Overall, the most stressful thing was getting a florist and a decorator, who didn't sign on until a week before the wedding. "By the time we got the florists and the decorators on board, I was literally telling her, 'Here's what I like, but I don't even care what you do. If you don't come on board, I don't have flowers or decorations, so you run with it,'" Norgard told The Huffington Post. "I was at their mercy, but I was just amazed. It was like a fairytale."
In the end, the only thing they paid for out of pocket were their wedding rings and a $1,500 deposit for the venue, Paradise Springs Resort in Yosemite. Even with that, the couple simultaneously agreed that the whole event was "absolutely perfect."
Piche admits that seeing his bride walk down the aisle made it all really come together. "It kind of hit me wow, it's such a miracle that this all came together when I was standing there waiting for the love of my life," he said. "Getting to experience the wedding itself as a wedding and not as a job or a party, but as a ceremony before our family and god and coming together as a man and a wife — that was really the special part for me."
With their wedding in the books, Norgard and Piche are preparing for the arrival of their first child. Adorably, they told The Huffington Post that they're bartering for the nursery decorations, too!