Most little girls grow up dreaming of a beautiful wedding will all the trimmings. By the time you actually meet your Prince Charming, however, you have probably started to realize that a lavish wedding comes with a substantial price tag. Lately, I have been hearing about brides considering to have fundraisers to round up enough cash to plan their dream weddings. That brings us to this question: are wedding fundraisers a good idea or a bad idea?
Think, for a moment, about what most fundraisers are raising funds to finance. Schools, animal shelters, cancer research, and that sort of thing. In other words, big issues that affect large numbers of people (or animals). Although your wedding might be in the forefront of your life right now, if you are honest about it, it is probably not all that huge a deal to most of the other people in your life, besides your fiance. So, it is okay to have a fundraiser like you might for a charitable cause to raise money for your wedding? In a word, no. Sorry, brides!
Another type of wedding fundraiser is the dollar dance or wishing well, which is done at the reception itself. This is often used as a pool of cash for either the honeymoon trip or to give the newlyweds a little nest egg to start their new life together. While everyone would like a nice honeymoon and we would all like a pile of cash to put in the bank, it is not the responsibility of your wedding guests to provide it! While the dollar dance may be a custom in certain cultures, by and large it is a really bad idea, and puts your guests in a very awkward position. If they want to give you cash for a wedding gift, they will; just don't demand it publicly.
The cash bar could actually fall under the category of being a form of wedding fundraiser, and it also is in poor taste. You cannot legitimately invite someone to be a guest at your wedding and then expect them to pay for their own refreshments. When money is tight, the host should serve what they can afford graciously, not ask their guests to take over their responsibility. Cutting the guest list is the quickest and easiest way to bring down the cost of your wedding food and drinks. Another tried and true trick is to have a wedding brunch instead of a dinner, which will dramatically slash the bill for refreshments.
Of course, couples do need to find a way to pay for their weddings, and there are respectable ways to do so. The key point is that the bride and groom should never use social blackmail to get money out of their friends and relations, but find ways to raise the money themselves. Setting up an automatic savings plan is a simple way to begin saving. You could also have a yard sale, take on a part time job, or drop your cable service. Start eating at home instead of going out to dinner every weekend, and make your own coffee instead of hitting Starbucks on the way to work each day. These small lifestyle changes can add up to a lot more cash in your wedding fund. They will also help you to prioritize; when you are paying all the bills yourself, it becomes a lot easier to separate wants from needs.
Don't overlook the many ways to lower the bills of your wedding, as well as trying to raise more money for it. Investigate beautiful but low-cost sites like state parks, shop online for things like bridal jewelry and wedding decorations, and forget about the extras like custom lighting. Also look for things that you can use again, so they will not be just one day expenses, such as jewelry that goes will many things besides your bridal gown or cloth napkins on clearance that will cost less than rentals. It may require a shift in your vision of the perfect wedding, but with a bit of ingenuity, you will find that it is possible to have a lovely wedding that is within your reach, no fundraiser required!