Thanks to the blossoming world of alternative financing, people and businesses have ways of funding ideas and other investments that have never been available before. Crowdfunding has been used to fund the development of the FORM1 3D computer, the construction of the Nikola Tesla Wardenclyffe Science Center, the production of the Veronica Mars movie, and countless other projects. But could crowdfunding provide the money you need for your dream wedding? The possibility might not be as far-fetched as you think.
Crowdfunding site GoFundMe has an entire category on its site dedicated to weddings. According to public relations manager Kelsea Little, the site has hosted more than 13,500 crowdfunded wedding campaigns. But are the campaigns working? Little says that about $1.3 million was raised for weddings on GoFundMe in 2014 alone.
The site The Crowded Wedding is a relatively new crowdfunding site dedicated entirely to wedding-related campaigns. The idea for the site came when founder Ashley Klebusch was talking to her fiancé about a more personal application for crowdfunding than business ventures or idealistic causes. “I think it was the experience of seeing people crowdfund random things that made us think, ‘Why aren’t they doing things that are actually practical, like weddings,’” Klebusch explains.
The Right Approach
If crowdfunding your wedding seems like the right idea for you, there are some important things to consider before launching your campaign. Below are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Maintain a frugal budget The average wedding now costs about $30,000, but don’t expect $30,000 in unjustifiable charity from family, friends and strangers. Guests will be much more likely to donate money to a small, modest wedding than they will be to donate to a lavish over-the-top affair. “Your Champagne wishes and caviar dreams should not weigh heavy on the shoulders of your loved ones,” The Daily Dot’s Jaya Saxena writes.
2. Ask only for what you need
It may sound good to have others pick up the tab for a dream wedding, but donors are more compelled to give when they feel that those asking for donations have no other choice. For example, Jeremy Stamper recently raised nearly $10,000 for a second wedding when his wife suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car crash only 19 days after their first wedding, erasing all memory of the event. Having already spent his savings on the first wedding, Stamper turned to GoFundMe to raise money for the second wedding he promised his wife when she was recovering from her injuries.
3. Think honeymoon, not wedding
While many wedding attendees might be offended or think it tacky to be sent a crowdfunding link along with a wedding invitation, a growing number of happy couples have been turning to crowdfunding to help pay for their honeymoons or serve as an alternative to traditional gifts such as toasters or coffee machines. Klebusch says that couples have had a lot of success funding honeymoons on The Crowded Wedding, and it simplifies the gift-giving process for attendees.
4. Get the most bang for your buck Regardless of the crowdfunding site you choose, if you decide to ask others to pay for your wedding, the least you can do is get the most out of their money. Crowdfunding sites are not operating charities, and each site has its own way of taking its cut. GoFundMe takes 7.9 percent plus 30 cents per donation, and The Crowded Wedding keeps 3.0 percent of the total funding raised.
As the popularity of crowdfunding continues to rise, it will likely be used for many more practical applications. With the right approach, crowdfunding can now be a useful tool to take some of the stress and financial hardship out of your special day.
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