We live in a world where people have different passions, and associate their priorities by causes that is personally meaningful to them. Often people who get involved in breast cancer walks are survivors, or family members who have lost their close relatives to the disease. Parents take catalogs to work to raise money for activities that their children are involved in pushing Turtles (chocolate covered peanuts and caramel), or pizza. And, let’s not get started on Girl Scouts who are my personal favorite. They have fundraising on lock! I cannot walk past a girl scout without the taste of a Thin Mint, or a Tag-a-Long. If word of mouth selling didn’t work so well, I would open a Girl Scout physical location, though I would quickly run myself out of business and gain an unprecedented amount of weight.
Is it bad taste to ask for money to have the wedding of your dreams? According to many Yahoo Answers, and Google Searches where I located blogs and websites on the subject, it seems that fundraising for your wedding is a great faux pau. This here blog will not give the same point of view. In fact, because of the sheer number of people asking the question, it is clear to me that many people really do need this as an option.
An American Wedding
American Tradition says that the Father of the Bride walks down the aisle. There is traditionally a Matron and a Maid of Honor. The Matron is married and the maid is not but they represent your closest friends who will be responsible for making sure that your bridal and bachelorette parties are paid for, and that you don’t lose your mind with all of the wedding details.
So, what happens if you have no father, none of your closest friends are married, and your daughter is your best friend? Weddings must reflect what is in the heart of the bride and groom. They must be a celebration of their very own traditions and not be deemed a dictatorship.
Here is one other thing to think about. American Tradition has about eight different events that are required including the wedding and reception. There are rehearsal dinners, engagement parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties for example. What happens when you do not want to or cannot afford to have all of these events?
For the people who want to keep us with the Jones’, it will be increasingly difficult to deviate into a world where you think for yourself and create your own memorable occasion. There are indeed American traditions to which many wealthy people live by. Weddings are ridiculously expensive, and will be stressful unless you stick to what is important, the parts of the wedding that makes the start of your life together feel like you have been born again giving birth to the rest of your life.
How many Gifts do you need?
Many complaints that I saw were judging the bride and groom for how they split up the bridal parties or the fact that they had more than one. Many brides and grooms want to keep their family events separate from friends and from co-workers. This is not necessarily our story but I don’t really see why separating certain groups would be a problem. Perhaps the bride and/or groom have a dysfunctional family. Maybe they have dysfunctional friends. Maybe the bride and groom are great people that get along with people from different backgrounds who may not necessarily get along with each other. The other maybe is that they could want to keep business and personal relationships different though they want the ability to share this special time in their life with both sides. I personally do not feel that I would want to be doing peer mediation at my wedding. But the point is, my wedding is my choice and people are able to participate in whatever way that they want to express their love to us- as long as it is something that we have requested.
The Wedding of Your Dreams
Many negative Commenters have said, about giving money, “Why should we help give you the wedding of your dreams?” I guess my question is, “Why not?” We give to dog pounds, and send 40 cents a day to commercials but there is a group of people who believe that giving in this way would be more cause worthy than supporting someone getting married. My only caution is that people should not get married for the event of the wedding or for the wedding of your dreams.
You get married to celebrate the fact that you have found the one for you. I also caution talking about how much you and your mate-to-be intend to spend on your wedding because it is none of anyone’s business really. People will always try to tell you how to spend a $1 whether they give you one or not. This is your day, your moment that you are sharing with them.
In reality, you don’t have to have a wedding to include everyone but like my husband-to-be, he simply will not get married without being able to share the joy with his family. It is a family affair. I used to think that way, but I really don’t have many people to invite to the wedding, or that many people that I think will want to come because I am not in a large family – my friends are my family. So, I could have a destination wedding, but I want him to have his moment. We are one.
In many families, the in-kind gifts lead the way. People who can cook or offer specific goods and services offer it, which lessen the cost of the wedding. This can be the great stress reducer, and still help you to have a great wedding. Most people have at least one relative who can cook, sew, lift something heavy, and/or works at a place that can get you a discount on something you need for the wedding. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a family member that worked at a hotel or banquet hall?
Fundraising for your Wedding
You are probably wondering, if you choose to fundraise, what would be appropriate. In my own wedding planning, we are choosing fundraising that will include family members so that we are allowing our families and friends to bond while we engage in the festivities. We are planning to do a wedding themed carwash, a bar-b-que and a family-style full court basketball game. Each event will cost a few dollars, and all proceeds will go toward the wedding. I say, do some things that reflect you and your partner’s beliefs. Marriage is about two becoming one. If you do not have a budget at all- and you have no way of saving money for a wedding, marriage should not be a deterrent to starting your life together. Additionally, while well meaning family members and blog responders may want to send you to the justice of the peace down at the county courthouse, which is their vision and their opinion, you are not living for them.
You can raise as much money as you can, or even find sponsors. Maybe people have their opinions about the Kim Kardashian wedding, as do I but I have to give it to her, she found sponsors. If I had the ability to find sponsors in order to have the wedding of my dreams, I would. Maybe that is the business woman in me, but it beats going into unnecessary debt.
Once you have finished fundraising, you take your total and work with what you have. There are many websites that offer gently used wedding dresses, tuxedos, and other wedding essentials for very little money at all. I found a beautiful wedding dress the other day on www.recycledbride.com for $300. I have never used their service before but I am considering it. I could care less if it has been used before to be honest. And, I’m not big on flowers but there are some other important elements in my wedding that we will not want to be skimpy on. Some people use synthetic flower arrangements to save money.
Wedding Fundraising for People with Illnesses
Permissible fundraising seems to be appropriate for brides who have been born with an unfortunate birth defect or terminal disease. Wish Upon a Wedding is a non-profit organization that was birthed to fulfill this very need. And, I ask you – why is terminal illness an appropriate excuse to answer anyone’s prayer? Why would a wedding be seen as a cause? I am not sure why people believe that you should only help those who are so far down that their story appears to be unable to affect you.
We don’t typically help people whose situation we feel could happen to us, instead we (as in not me), often only help people who we deem to be so impoverished or so incapacitated that helping them is a consellation prize, or alms giving. If the person appears to have the slightest hope of helping themselves, we (as in not me), will often keep watching them fall or beg for help until they make it. We then reward them with affirmation that we knew that they could do it, and offer it as an excuse for not giving them a hand up – as if that will reclaim the relationship you once had or establish a new one.
I will say this about how people judge, not only weddings but in every situation it seems. They judge the person by what they would do if they were handed their set of circumstances when we are all different, and often the person judging the person in need would not know how to handle what the person is going through, because we all process things in life that we go through in different ways.
When Jesus healed people, he never qualified them. He never said that he would only heal someone if they looked a certain way, or did something for him, or acted a certain way. He healed people that were considered sinners, and people that were of different ethnicity. He only required faith. In other words, when a person is getting married, stop qualifying them. Either be a part of their healing and celebration or separate yourself. Unfortunately, to walk away from someone when they are starting a brand new part of their life like marriage is often telling of how your relationships may grow or disconnect in the future.
The exception to this rule is if you do not approve of the person that your loved one, friend, co-worker is marrying because you know that they have a history of some kind of abuse or instability in the relationship. I agree that you may not want to show your support if you know the person is not in a healthy relationship but I do not believe that you should judge someone’s choice in how they wed.
Are You Financially Ready to Marry?
Do people really wait for years to get married because of their finances? I do not agree that you should not get married if you have no money. I do believe that you should talk about your views about money, and your expectations of your current and future earnings together as a part of pre-marital counseling talk. However, if you are like me who has a supernatural love story where you and your mate-to-be may have met when you had absolutely nothing, lost everything, had to start over, you should not wait for years just to try to afford your wedding when you are late on rent.
The truth is, even if you are not in the most financially stable position, if you are working to move forward, and are able to agree on certain goals within your relationship, then your decision to get married at this time is not anyone else’s business. They can support it, but they do not have a right to push their beliefs about love and marriage on you.
For many poor Americans, you may find love, and never find your dream job or entrepreneurial endeavor that makes you a ton of money. You should not punish yourself or allow anyone else to punish you by saying that you have not earned the right to be married because you cannot afford it. Like children, I believe that finding the one who will love you in this life with every fiber of their being is the greatest gift of all.
Most people who meet the man or woman of their dreams are not financially able to marry without going into debt. Most Americans have $100 or less in their bank account. I think if you take the wealthy people out of that average, you’ll find that most people have about $5 in their accounts between paychecks but that is my warm opinion.
With that said, there are many wealthy people who get married spending money that they do have, but marrying to wrong person. The answer is no, if you are reading this, you are likely not financially “ready” to get married by society’s standards. I have another answer for you. The answer is YES. You are financially able to get married if you and your partner have talked about your finances in detail, are completely honest about where you are and on the same page with where you are going. You must come up with solutions for getting married and for me that will mean fundraising. If you are reading this because you’ve googled a question about fundraising, it may mean the same for you as well.
Etiquette Hell is a website dedicated to people who are scared of saying what they feel to people when they are offended so they have archived this website for us all to refer to in case we do not know how to treat our neighbors. I spent hours of my life that I will never get back reading all of the stories. Out of ten, only two were actually an issue, the rest were opinions of how someone else’s wedding should have gone. It says it right on the website that these are the thoughts that people think but won’t say to the person that they have an issue with, and after what I read in some of the blogs, it is because they are not necessarily right in their assertions of the events.
I am in etiquette hell right now, to think that all of this time, people have this opinion that they would rather give to causes about saving dogs lives, animal skins, or some other causes but love, the very thing that we are manufactured by, is not an acceptable cause to celebrate via donation through fundraising.
To brides-to-be, do not be afraid to create a ceremony, and accompanying celebrations including fundraisers that will support you and your partner beginning your life together as one. Let’s put it this way, if there is no one that will support your efforts, then are they really worth having a ceremony for?
The wedding, the vows, and moment are for you but feeding attendees and making it beautiful is an option. If family members and friends are that appalled that you need help with your wedding, then perhaps you should consider a destination wedding and let them miss it altogether. If your family loves you, they will want to be involved, and there are all kinds of family oriented strategies that can save you time, money and tears.
Best of Blessings,
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- Five Fab and Affordable Hotels To Say I Will or I Do! From Rhode Island to the Virgin Islands, WatkinsPR Highlights Top Spots for Destination Weddings (prweb.com)
- Down With Tradition (prosewithabbitude.wordpress.com)
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- A Catholic Wedding in India (stylehiclub.com)