How far would you go to save money: Would you have a “sponsored wedding”?

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Original photo by Andrew Malone, remixed by Creative Commons License.
Original photo by Andrew Malone, remixed by Creative Commons License.
So, in my crawls across the internet I came across the idea of “sponsored weddings” e.g. services that you either get discounted or free in exchange for promotions/advertisements at the wedding.

On one hand, I think it's tacky… on the other, I think it's fabulous.

What are your thoughts on all of this?

-emiko

Ok, so first thing's first: watch out with the word “tacky.” We're of the opinion here that when it comes to weddings, it's ALL kind of tacky. The bigger question is what factors would make this particular budget-saving measure feel comfortable — or if it just doesn't feel comfortable no matter what you do.

We'd like to open this question up to readers: is there any way you'd feel comfortable having portions of your wedding sponsored? Or is the idea just not for you? Remember, the question is NOT “is this idea tacky?” It's ALL tacky.

Comments on How far would you go to save money: Would you have a “sponsored wedding”?

  1. I think in some ways, this is something that’s already general practice.

    I know the caterers I used had their van set up behind the buffet area (a black van with giant bull horns coming off the front and their logo on the side), and the bartenders had their company name embroidered on their outfit. I didn’t see the valet, but I’ve seen them elsewhere, and their sign had their name all over it. I know those are not examples of sponsoring, per sey, but we had several vendors names easily seen at our wedding.

    I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch to put a vendor’s name on other things as well, though I’m not sure how much of a discount or deal you would get from it. There’s also the idea of just paying a lower rate for the branded item, and then paying slightly more to have no brand (think Vista Print). I guess the main difference between sponsoring and branding would be having the name of a company or person that wasn’t actually used in your wedding.

  2. I think leaving out a flyer from your vendors or displaying a logo or two is totally cool. I think it’s nice to pass along the name of a vendor who provided you with good service, and it’s no skin off my back for a few logos to be left out.

  3. Hmmmm. Honestly it would depend on what promoting and such looked like. Huge banners over the serving line advertising the caterer/restaurant would be no go. However, stacks of business cards on a table of all the vendors would not go amiss. Having the vendors name on every. single. thing. Not so much , but having a website discretely on some things would be fine. I guess so long as the bride and groom don’t look like sponsored Nascar drivers/cars then it’s not too much. Certainly I’d never look down on someone who used the advertising break to afford something they wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise. I guess the thing that springs to mind is much like y’all have said in so many posts about who pays for what. Be careful who you ask to pay for things because they then get a say in how things are done/how their money is spent.

  4. We’re sort of doing this. We have a lot of wonderful friends and family gifting us services for the wedding. We thought it’d be nice to include them in the program so people could go to their business if they liked it

  5. If you can save some money, and still get your dream wedding I say go for it! I have looked into it and found it is not easy to find a company to sponsor a wedding, so if you find someone go for it! Have fun with it!

  6. I say no.

    1. There are enough outsiders already trying to influence how your wedding looks. You don’t need another one, especially with a monetary amount attached to it.

    2. Do the sponsors really think they’re going to get anything out of it? If I’m a wedding guest looking for a service I’m going to be paying much more attention to the service that the company is providing, not whether that company is sponsoring it. In addition how many of the guests are local and in a position to patronize that business?

    • Interesting, I disagree with almost everything you said. Maybe you don’t need “a monetary amount attached to it”, but I bet there are plenty of couples who are getting married on a budget and could really use that discount.

      Of course level of service is important. No amount of branding is going to get you to buy something if it’s bad. But if (as a guest) you don’t know that company X provided those awesome cupcakes/centerpieces/signature cocktails/whatever, it will be hard to patronize them later. A little sponsoring just to get your name out

      We talked about this a little when we talked our wedding over with the manager of our location. He was very accommodating to all our wishes and actually mentioned that weddings are a big source of business for him, because wedding guests are often also in the same age bracket as the couple and might be getting married in the near future. And then they could think ‘hey, I went to a wedding at place Y once, it was totally awesome, we could go there too’. I imagine sponsoring can work the same way.

    • I agree with everything you said, Josh. If anyone wants to know the names of the vendors we’re using, they can ask me or the man I’m marrying. Wedding vendors make money off of referrals all the freakin time.

    • I disagree. I work in the non-profit sector so sponsorship is nothing new to me. Companies wouldn’t agree to discount/sponsor something if they didn’t think it was worth it. Convincing them that it is worth it is solely the responsibility of the person asking for the sponsorship. It all comes down to how much name/logo recognition and is it directed toward an audience that will act upon it?
      For example, the event staging company I’m 99.9999% sure I’m going to use for DJ and rock-concert lighting for my decrepit warehouse reception is someone I’ve worked with in the past at my npo, so I already have a good report with them. I can probably already get the bro discount on that alone, but since lots of my friends and future wedding guests are young, live in the area and tend to throw epic parties where such services are required, producing my wedding is essentially an advertisement in itself.
      Sponsorship is really just an exchange of goods or services where money is reduced or waived dependent on the specified arrangement. If brides are looking to go this route, the best thing they can do to enhance their chances the vendor will say yes is to let the vendor know what they’ll get in return. You have a website/blog/facebook event page for your wedding? The cover photo should include the names/logos of all the wedding sponsors and they should get a shout out post as well as a special thank you announcement at the reception. That should be worth at least a 10% off deal. You want all the food for free? Be prepared to put their name and logo on your invite, the program, favors, the website/facebook, shout out at the reception and probably promise to do a special promotional mailing following the wedding to remind the guests that if they liked the food to go with “Gus’ Gastric Gourmet” (< not a real business so far as I know, but maybe it should be…)
      Another tip for sponsorship is to ask someone that you already do business with. With weddings it is hard but in the large scope of things everybody knows somebody in town who knows somebody else who operates a catering business. Use your connections.

    • Josh, out of the 100 people in attendance only maybe 20 from well out of state. And of that 20. Maybe 8 at close state borders. Also several of those have used the floristbecause the flowers were so spectacular. And a few unique arrangements. They didn’t tell us how or what to have we told them what was in our head or rather my head. And they made it happen. So having their card attach to a little babies breath and attached to their take home gift was no problem. All done for 10%of the original cost. Plus some freebies. My total cost came to $100.

  7. No for me as well. I feel like our world is turning into a giant advert and sponsoring would only make it worse. The reason why TiVo is so successful is because people don’t want to see ads.

    However I suppose if you are REALLY cramped for cash and it’s the only way to have what you want then… maybe. I just wonder how much you actually save by going this route. I find it hard to believe a caterer is going to say “Oooh your going to let me put a business card on every place setting? Free service for you!” So, what would be an appropriate discount for such a thing? And how much are you wanting to save in order to allow this?

    Personally, this is not something that I would do though, no matter what. I’m filing this in the “what are they going to think of next?” drawer. Can you picture it: the bride is walking down the aisle, tears sparkle in her joyful eyes. You watch from the pew as she passes you and, what have we here? Is that a David’s Bridal ad stamped on the bride’s ass??

  8. On a regular basis I’m a walking billboard for Maurices clothing store. Almost everything I wear to work comes from that store. What I mean is in many ways a wedding is already a way for vendors to get the word of mouth out about their products. Adding an actual advertisement wouldn’t be that much of a step up and I’m ALL for saving money and helping people out at the same time. It would be a question of how much of the wedding would need to advertise. If I can just put cards on the tables or a note in the program that would be ok with me. Anything else (such as announcements or wall advertisement) would be taking it way too far.

  9. I’m of two minds… On the one hand, we live in a world where advertising seems to take up more and more of the space around us, and I have to work pretty hard to carve out a few advertising free spaces in my life (covering up my computer logo so I’m not advertising to my students, removing logos from jeans). So I wouldn’t be psyched to be advertising. On the other hand, why not find a way to support local ventures, or vendors I really believe in?

    So, I guess as a bride, I would consider: is this a company I want to support to that extent? Is the requested advertising unobtrusive? Crediting the person designing programs on the program, sending a link to the photographer after the wedding, a small sign saying “catered by…” – I’d be fine with any of that. Wall banner – not so much.

    But as a guest, I would try to respect your decision as well – I would never pick your wedding as the occasion on which I argue my politics about corporate advertising.

  10. Not for me, thanks. I mean, the only thing we HAD to buy or our wedding was the marriage certificate. That cost $75. Everything else is optional, and there are a zillion ways to do it cheaply. I think getting your wedding sponsored cheapens the sentiment. I would rather have my wedding be bare-bones and meaningful than everything I ever dreamed of and sponsored.

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