With the average cost of a wedding these days in the U.S. coming in around $26,720 (with couples on average spending between $20,040 and $33,400), that’s a whole lot of money that could be used for other really important investments—think first house or a car. Even though many people’s families do pitch in with weddings as well—a recent survey from WeddingWire found that parents of the bride and groom collectively contribute about $19,000 to the wedding—sometimes people just can’t afford the wedding they want. Instead of just planning a less expensive wedding, some couples are taking it to a whole new level, turning to the public to help them pay for their wedding. That’s right. Many couples are launching online fund-raising campaigns to pay for their weddings.
According to a recent report by the BBC, brides and grooms are asking for money on platforms like GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and IndieGoGo to help raise funds for their big day and the events surrounding it. GoFundMe even has a special section for raising money for weddings and honeymoons, with the caption boasting that it has helped raise over $4 billion in this space and that it is the top fund-raising destination.
Though this does sound like the ultimate social faux pas, especially when you think about how much guests spend on weddings these days, for couples who care about having a wedding or an amazing honeymoon over anything else like gifts, then this doesn’t seem that questionable. One GoFundMe user wrote, “Our friends and family were so much more understanding than we ever imagined helping us cover cost of the wedding instead of the 'traditional' wedding gifts. We are humbled and grateful for the donations as well as the emotional support. The outpouring of love we've seen through this time is amazing.”
It has also become an extremely important resource for brides or grooms who are battling illness and need to get married on an accelerated timeline.
If you can’t afford a big wedding, using a fund-raising platform is probably not your best bet, but it can be a viable option if it is your only one. So if you do decide to launch a fundraiser to collect cash for your wedding, keep these tips in mind.
1. No one owes you anything
People are already spending money to attend your wedding, so do keep in mind that you would now be asking for an extra monetary donation.
2. Be specific
If you do start a fund-raiser, be specific about what the money would be used for, and keep in mind this is not to have the most over-the-top expensive wedding ever. Tell potential donors what the money would be used for, and describe why it is so important and why a fund-raiser was one of the only options.
3. Do not expect gifts
The money you are asking for should be in place of a gift, so do not then expect gifts on top of that. You may win the lottery and have a few very generous people who do both, but do not expect it.
4. You can still get married
Weddings are wonderful, but keep in mind you can still get married at a courthouse; a courthouse wedding begins at an average of $25 to $75 depending on your state—and have a wedding or reception later when you can afford it.