Ever since Star Jones did it in 2004, more brides have turned to wedding sponsors to reduce the cost of their weddings. These brides are able to lower the cost of some products and services by allowing vendors to advertise prior to or on the bride’s wedding day. For example, a sponsor may offer a discount or, in the best case, no cost for his product or service in exchange for advertising in an insert accompanying the wedding invitation, a mention in the wedding program, an ad on the bride and groom’s wedding website, or making his cards or marketing materials available at the wedding and/or reception. Also, some vendors may be willing to contribute logoed items for gift bags to be distributed at the reception.
While wedding sponsorships may be a great idea for some brides, this approach has both pros and cons.
Pros of Wedding Sponsorships
Save Money. The bride and groom could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by aggressively pursuing sponsorship agreements with wedding vendors.
Afford More Wedding. By allowing sponsorships, the bride and groom may be able to afford a far nicer or larger wedding than otherwise.
Win-Win Proposition. Sponsorships can be a win-win proposition for both the engaged couple and their wedding sponsors, allowing the former to lower costs and finance their wedding and allowing sponsors to market their products and services to a wider audience.
Can Be Tasteful. Wedding sponsorships, if handled with care, do not have to be a distraction or detraction from the elegance of the wedding and the fun of the reception. Experienced vendors can help to ensure that their advertisements are unobtrusive and tasteful, while still accomplishing their goal of reaching potential customers.
Cons of Wedding Sponsorships
Tacky. Some wedding guests may find the idea of sponsorships, including ads in invitations or programs, a bit tacky.
Time Consuming. Creating a successful sponsorship program for a wedding can be very time consuming since it makes the process of negotiating with potential vendors somewhat more complex. Also, some vendors won’t participate in sponsorship programs, so brides and grooms seeking sponsors may have to contact far more vendors than they would otherwise.
Tricky Balance. When using sponsors, it can be tough to strike the right balance, so that the wedding doesn’t seem to be a commercial enterprise rather than a celebration of the couple’s nuptials.
Compromises. Not all vendors will agree to sponsorships. As a result, brides and grooms seeking wedding sponsors may not be able use their preferred vendors.
If you are a bride-to-be who wants to consider sponsors for your wedding, here are four tips to ensure a successful wedding sponsorship program.
First, discuss it with the groom and be sure that he is supportive of the idea.
Second, before contacting vendors, plan your sponsorship program. Decide which products and services you would like to have sponsored and what sorts of advertisement are acceptable to you. Have some idea of what discounts you expect from individual vendors and avoid misunderstandings by putting together a sponsorship contract so that each sponsorship agreement is clearly described in writing.
Third, if possible, find other brides in your market who have used sponsorships and get their advice about the process. Their tips about putting together a successful sponsorship program and about vendors who are willing sponsors could save you a lot of time and grief.
Fourth, don’t feel that you have to do it all yourself. Enlist the groom or family members to contact and negotiate with some vendors.
Shelly K. Schwartz, money.cnn.com, Creative ways to finance your wedding – May 7, 2001
Lisa Kasanicky, www.azcentral.com, Wedding Sponsors