We've recently shared stories of newlyweds who criticized wedding guests that didn't give a big enough cash gift to cover the cost of the wedding. But here's a couple who, instead of asking for cash after the wedding, is urging friends and supporters to donate before they've said "I do."
Californians Cesar Hernandez-Topete and Miguel Munoz created an account on GoFundMe.com, a website that allows users to solicit donations, last week to raise $2,500 for their upcoming nuptials, NBC Los Angeles reported Tuesday. On their GoFundMe page, the couple explained that they met four years ago and became domestic partners in July 2012. After Proposition 8 was overturned earlier this month, they got a marriage license and now have 90 days to get married.
"Miguel and I are currently in the process of adopting a child and it is definitely something we have been wanting for a very long time. Now we have two things on our plates: a wedding and an adoption," Hernandez-Topete said in a video posted to their GoFundMe account. "We're using technology to make you a part of our special day."
Although they will accept any amount, the couple will send free treats from Cake Pops and Company in exchange for donations of $25 or more. They have raised $415 so far, and a photographer and officiant both commented on the GoFundMe page that they would like to participate in their Big Day.
We asked international event planner and HuffPost blogger Sharon Sacks if it was poor etiquette for Munoz and Hernandez-Topete to solicit donations for their wedding. She said that for both gay and straight couples, "crowdfunding" a wedding turns what really is a private affair into something that may be "inappropriate."
"There are many ways to have a wonderful celebration; cost should not be the factor. Love and shared values are most important. If your budget doesn’t allow for an elaborate celebration, the important thing is to surround yourself with loved ones and friends," Sacks wrote in an email to HuffPost. "A low-key cocktail or buffet luncheon or even a dessert buffet could be the way to cut back on costs and create a beautiful backdrop for the perfect celebration."
What do you think, readers? Is it in poor taste to ask others to help pay for your wedding, or do Munoz and Hernandez-Topete have the right idea? Sound off in the comments below.
Check out money-saving tips from wedding experts in the slideshow below.
Create A Budget And Stick To It
The most important tip cited by many wedding experts is to create a budget plan before you purchase anything -- and stick to it. Wedding experts <a href="http://susansoutherland.com/" target="_blank">Susan Southerland</a> and <a href="http://www.samanthagoldberg.com/" target="_blank">Samantha Goldberg</a> agreed that couples need to sit down and figure out exactly what their wedding "must-haves" are and how much they want to spend. "If they don't have a level head and they haven't started thinking, 'Here's what I can spend without getting into trouble,' they wind up going with their heart and not sticking to it," Southerland said. And, if you follow your budget, you shouldn't have any problems with overspending. "If they have a blueprint, there won't be a reason to feel like they're going to go over, because they've been on this plan the entire time," Goldberg said (download her wedding budget tracker <a href="http://www1.hilton.com/ts/en_US/landing/gtstqut_inside.html#header">here</a>).
Cut The Guest List
By cutting the guest list, you can save exponentially on things like flowers, tables, and square footage, said wedding planner <a href="http://marcyblum.com/">Marcy Blum</a>. You'll have a better event if you invite fewer guests, rather than eliminating services like an open bar and proper facilities. "It would be much better to cut the guest list than cut the wait staff. There's no point in doing something halfway," Blum said.
Buy Discounted Gift Cards
Money-saving expert <a href="http://www.hasslefreesavings.com/">Kendal Perez</a> offered this little-known tip: buy used gift cards from stores you'd like to purchase wedding items from at <a href="http://www.giftcardgranny.com/">GiftCardGranny.com</a>. When shoppers receive a gift card to a store they don't like, they can sell the card on GiftCardGranny.com for less than face value -- meaning you can buy the card and save up to 30 percent. For example, there are cards available from 1-800 Flowers, Tiffany, and wedding dress retailers like J. Crew. "It’s a different way to save money without having to shop sales, but if you can couple that with something on sale then you’re getting even more savings," Perez said.
Don't Go Crazy With Rental Items
<a href="matthewrobbinsdesign.com/">Matthew Robbins</a>, author of "Matthew Robinns' Inspired Weddings," cautioned couples against renting too many fancy items, and instead recommended mixing in just a few special pieces with items already included in your venue. For example, rent a unique water or champagne glass to add something special to the table, or use a simple cloth from the venue for the tables and rent a beautiful overlay or runner to dress things up. "Choose wisely and consider rental items as a special accent to embellish what your venue provides," Robbins said.
Holidays are more expensive, plain and simple, said wedding planner <a href="http://www.yifatoren.com/">Yifat Oren</a>. "You might think it's easier for people to get time off work, but they'll be spending more money all around on travel and accommodations, not to mention the challenges with availability during high season times," she said.
Get On Your Vendors' Mailing And Social Media Lists
Sign up for all your potential vendors' email lists and follow them on social media in order to get the first scoop on deals, contests, and freebies, said <a href="http://www.sharonnaylor.net/">Sharon Naylor</a>, wedding expert and author of "The Bride's Guide To Freebies." You'll hear about clearance sales, "Pin It To Win It" contests on Pinterest, trunk shows and more deals you wouldn't have known about otherwise. "If you’re following them and keeping a good eye on them, you can cash in on some great stuff," Naylor said.
Do What YOU Want, Not What People Expect
Don't feel like you need to spend money on things you don't really need but feel like you have to have, said money-saving expert <a href="http://www.hasslefreesavings.com/" target="_blank">Kendal Perez</a>. Skip wedding traditions that seem necessary, like programs and favors. "I don’t think I've ever kept a wedding favor. Those things are unnecessary expenses," Perez said. "Make sure you're planning the party you want and you're not including things just because everyone includes them."
Maintain A Good Relationship With Your Vendors
Vendors will sometimes give discounts to clients they enjoyed working with and, if you ask, may agree to give you freebies or substitutions, said wedding expert <a href="http://www.sharonnaylor.net/" target="_blank">Sharon Naylor</a>. But don't forget to be nice! "You cannot be a steamroller and you can't demand it and you can't say, 'Well, I heard you gave my friend a free [food] station so what am I going to get?'" Naylor said. "When vendors don't like you you're not going to get as many freebies."
Don't Be Afraid To Explore Alternative Party Formats
There's no rule that you must have a pricey dinner or cocktail hour for all of your guests, said wedding planner <a href="http://www.alwaysabridesmaid.us/">Xochtil Gonzalez</a>. As long as you give guests something to eat and drink, that constitutes a party. Hire a food truck or consider holding a brunch on a Sunday afternoon. "If you know you have a fun crowd that’s going to dance no matter what if the music’s good and they’ve had a couple drinks, there’s no reason to force yourself to just have a nighttime party," Gonzalez said.
Register With Your Vendors
Instead of registering for kitchen supplies you don't really need, wedding planner <a href="http://www.samanthagoldberg.com/">Samantha Goldberg</a> said you can actually register for wedding items such as a videographer or upgraded room on your honeymoon. Many vendors will make cards you can put in your invitations explaining your request to your guests. "You'd be surprised -- everyone pitches in here and there and suddenly you now have this money to have something you thought you wanted but weren't able to afford," Goldberg said.