Articles - Wedding Sponsorships

How to get a sponsored wedding at Walmart - October 6, 2007

 

Want To Save On Wedding Costs? Try Sponsorships - Photographers, Caterers, Dressmakers Could Be Convinced To Sponsor Weddings - click here to view the full article

The average wedding these days costs about $30,000. How would you like to save some of that money? Sponsors could be the answer.  A bride in Egg Harbor Township is trying to do just that.  "I'm writing to offer you a proposal I hope you can't refuse, I'm a bride-to-be planning a dream wedding and I want you to be part of it," Stephanie Walsh wrote to prospective vendors.

For Walsh, part of planning her wedding involves how she is going to pay for it, so she is sending out solicitation letters to area vendors for donations in return for advertising.  "Basically, just proposing to them that I'm willing to advertise their services at my wedding," Walsh said.  She learned about the idea of sponsored weddings in Modern Bride magazine.  "I'm hoping that I can get the food sponsored, maybe the limos, maybe photography," Walsh said.

Judith Ann Graham, author of My Bride Guide, says that sponsored weddings can be a great way to save.  "The whole point of getting things that are economically more feasible to us is very appealing," Graham said.

Retail experts say the idea will be appealing to sponsors, too, especially smaller, newer companies.  "What a wonderful way to get your card, your logo, your brand out there to the general public," said Scott Krugman, of the National Retail Federation.

Welsh had some success with her quest. She thinks that she now has a photographer and videographer and a local eatery all interested in sponsoring her wedding.  "I wouldn't mind business cards. I want it to be tasteful. I'm pretty much open to any ideas that someone would bring me," Welsh said.

Couple Sells Ads to Pay For Wedding Costs - click here to view the full article

Talk about a marriage of love and money. Tom Anderson and his bride Sabrina Root paid for their $34,000 wedding this weekend by selling advertising space at the ceremony and reception.

Everything from the wedding rings to a week at a penthouse in Cancun, Mexico, were donated after Anderson got 24 companies to sponsor the nuptials in exchange for having their names appear six times from the invitations to the thank-you cards.

Anderson, 24, a bartender, did cough up his own money for his wife's $1,400 engagement ring, while Root, 33, a hair stylist, paid $1,600 for her dress.

The groom got the idea of corporate sponsorships while working in a small struggling animation studio that often had to barter for services.

"So I was in a sales mode, and I got to thinking," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer, which ran a photo of the couple sitting among their corporate-sponsored wedding "gifts" in its Sunday editions.

The bride drew the line at having advertising banners draped across the aisle. But her perfume came from a local distributor, and coffee was provided gratis from a neighborhood supplier.

Advertisers had their names appear on the invitations and thank-you cards, on cards at the buffet, on scrolls at the dinner table, in an ad placed in a local independent newspaper and in a verbal "thank you" that followed the first toast.

The Inquirer said the groom had bought two addresses on the Internet's World Wide Web, namely: sponsoredwedding.com and weddingsponsors.com.

Sponsored weddings and boosting customer interaction

With the average wedding costing $22,360, Tiffany Quin founder of www.WeddingSponsorships.com and author of the forthcoming book Wedding Sponsorships ™, says sponsored weddings are catching on. Quin, who rounded up nearly $35,000 in sponsorships for her own nuptials, says more couples are willing to exchange a bit of promotion along with their vows, for free or discounted goods and services. Says Quinn, "We provided a sponsor list, tasteful signage and a verbal thank you at the reception, and a newspaper ad thanking sponsors."

Virtually any business can benefit by providing goods and services partygoers need, says Quin. And the sponsorship concept works for other large events, like retirement parties. Look for hosts who aren't afraid to save a tidy sum on their event by spreading the sponsor's word to a happily captive audience.

How to be a Wedding Consultant - click here to view the full article

Once upon a time on a perfect summer day, guests in colorful wedding finery filled an old cathedral. The fragrance of dew-kissed blossoms wafted through the air as soft organ music played. A radiant bride walked up the aisle at the arm of her father to meet the handsome groom waiting at the altar . . .

Fairy tales like this do come true. Now more than ever, wedding consultants are making them happen. In the last decade, the need for professional wedding consultants has grown exponentially. Today, women are often simply too busy juggling the demands of their professional and personal lives to oversee the details necessary to create the wedding of their dreams. This has created an enormous opportunity for people like you considering going into the wedding consulting business.

Although it's difficult to put an exact number on how many wedding consultant businesses there are nationwide, the best guess is approximately 10,000, according to Gerard Monaghan, president of the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC). Monaghan says that although no one formally tracks these figures, his estimate is based on the number of people who pay for memberships to the various professional associations as well as the number of people on mailing lists available from list brokers.

According to Monaghan, one out of every eight retail dollars is spent on wedding-related products and services. That makes the wedding industry a $42 billion business, although some estimates put that figure as high as $70 billion. Part of the reason for the big bucks spent on a dream wedding is that there are often six wage earners funding the event: the bridal couple, the bride's parents and the groom's parents. This has driven the cost of the average wedding up over the years. Robbi G.W. Ernst III, president of June Wedding Inc., an association for event professionals, says the average cost of a wedding in the United States is now around $17,500 for 125 to150 guests. However, the average cost of a wedding can be $35,000 or more in larger metropolitan areas, where incomes are higher and services are more expensive.

This industry outlook sets the stage for success for both new and established wedding consultants. According to Ernst, a novice consultant who coordinates 10 weddings a year and charges the industry's standard fee of 10 to15 percent per event can expect to gross $17,500 to $26,250 in sales. A more experienced consultant who handles 40 weddings a year can earn $70,000 or more.

"The earnings potential for wedding consultants is awesome," says Richard Martel of the Association for Wedding Professionals International. "Those who are better-connected and better-educated will do the best in this business, as will those who network as a way to build their reputations."

The Personality of a Good Wedding Consultant
So what does it take to be a successful wedding consultant? Loreen C., who owns a wedding consultant business in Ypsilanti, Michigan, says emphatically, "A sense of humor." And she's not kidding.

In a business where you're depending on the professionalism and reliability of a dozen or more people to create a bride's dream wedding, there's always the possibility that something will go askew or bomb out completely. That's why having a sense of humor and the ability to think on your feet are key to keeping things on track or fixing the problems that will inevitably crop up.

In fact, being a people person is pretty much a requirement for this job. You'll be dealing constantly with weepy brides, demanding mothers, cranky suppliers and others who will vie for your attention. You'll be bargaining with vendors, overseeing the activities of hordes of hired helpers, and mingling with the guests at wedding receptions. So it helps if you really love working with people and have an upbeat, positive outlook to help you weather the inevitable problems that arise when you're coordinating countless details.

On the more practical side, it also helps to have a strong business background. While it's not impossible to make a go of a wedding consultant business if you've never balanced a checkbook, previous experience with handling finances (even household budgets) as well as managing day-to-day office details is certainly valuable. After all, you'll be coordinating budgets and overseeing finances for your clients. Plus you'll be taking care of the details of running your own business, which will include taxes, billing and other financial matters. You may even have to deal with personnel administration at some point in your career. So business experience (or barring that, at least a good head for numbers and details) is very important.



Professional Certification
Wedding consultants need many of the same business skills that other professionals routinely acquire at universities and colleges. These are skills they use every day for project management, personnel administration, financial planning, even logistics. That's why, over the years, the wedding consultant industry has created its own professional certification and training programs.

Here are some of the programs available:

• Founded in 1981, the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) is an international trade association with 2,400 members worldwide. It offers members three professional designations (these are not certifications): Professional Bridal Consultant, Accredited Bridal Consultant and Master Bridal Consultant. It takes at least six years to reach the senior level.

• Training begins with a five-part home study program with coursework in etiquette, sales, marketing, the wedding day, related services, planning and consulting. The cost of the five-part program is $340; it's also possible to take each course individually at a cost of $85 apiece (plus $90 for the start-up manual). Membership dues are $215 annually (with a $30 one-time application fee), although most new consultants can qualify for the $140 novice rate.

• Based in San Jose, California, the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants (ACPWC) offers a personalized five-day course and a home correspondence course. The personalized course is presented by certified instructors and is held three times a year in Los Gatos and West Hollywood, California, and in Atlanta, while the home study program is self-directed. The program covers everything from setting up a wedding consulting business to specifics like selecting vendors and proper wedding protocol. The fee is $795 for the five-day program or $650 for the home study program. You become eligible for membership in the organization after successful completion of one of the programs.

• ACPWC certification is awarded after completing the coursework, working for two years as a consultant, coordinating 12 weddings and obtaining 14 letters of recommendation. A certification project is also required.

• June Wedding Inc., an association for event professionals, is a Las Vegas-based organization that awards the "JWIC" (June Wedding Inc. Certification) to consultants who complete the two-part JWI Consultant Training & Certification Home Study Course. The home study components include "Designing and Running a Successful Wedding Consultant/Event Coordination Company," and "Continuing Education for the Advanced Wedding Consultant." The tuition for each seminar is $1,000. Annual JWI dues are $150 for small businesses/sole proprietors.

"We've done surveys that show that wedding consultants who are formally trained and certified can get higher fees from the onset of their business if they're professional and know what they're doing," says Robbi Ernst, founder of JWI.

The National Bridal Association is an organization of more than 1,200 independently owned businesses, including wedding consultants. It offers the Weddings Beautiful Worldwide home-study training program for consultants who are interested in starting a business or who wish to augment their knowledge. The program consists of 18 specialized assignments. Upon completion of the coursework, students receive a certified wedding specialist certificate. The course costs $495 and includes review and grading of assignments by a Weddings Beautiful specialist.

Special Report: Weddings For Sale - click here to view the full article

Some couples who want to save thousands of dollars on their weddings are turning to sponsorships, NBC5's Amy Jacobson said in a special report.

Experts told Jacobson that couples wanting a sponsored wedding should target smaller companies who want to get their names and products out to a large crowd.

"Angelique and Richard Burnsman had a $10,000 wedding for free after winning a contest on a local radio station," Jacobson said. "The flowers, tuxedoes, cake and her signature dress were all paid for."

Without a contest winning, Jacobson said, the average couple has to endure much more to get a company to pay for their wedding.

Tony and Brandy Bizzieri, of Oak Lawn, Ill., told Jacobson they tried unsuccessfully to get sponsored but learned that it takes almost one year -- and plenty of legwork -- to line up the sponsors.

Another couple, Tom and Sabrina Anderson, told Jacobson they were more successful. They had a "dream wedding -- top of the line," they told Jacobson, even though most of it was paid for.

"Probably 80 percent of our wedding was sponsored," Tom Anderson said.

The food, the veil, and even the wedding bands were donated by local businesses, in return for advertising at the reception. Their invitations had a vendor's logo on the back of the card.

"We had a scroll at each place setting, with all the different sponsors," Sabrina Anderson said. "We actually had T-shirts printed up with each vendor's logo on the back."

Tom Anderson published a book about sponsored weddings and now helps other couples, including Todd Weiss and Debbie Lay, who plan to marry in June.

Weiss told Jacobson that the search for sponsors is not an easy road.

"I actually got some negative comments from people, just saying that 'I can't believe you're doing this. If you can't afford a wedding, maybe you shouldn't get married,'" Weiss said. "I didn't realize that money was one of the big precursors of love."

But Weiss and Lay "have made finding sponsors an art form," Jacobson said. "Their main tool is the Internet."

Jacobson reviewed the results of their search for sponsors before explaining how they did it.

The reception hall -- normally $4,000 -- will cost them half that amount.
Four microbrewery kegs -- normally $200 each -- will be free.
The cake -- normally $500 -- will be free. The baker told Jacobson she saw it as an opportunity to get her name out in the community without gambling on expensive advertising.
His titanium ring -- normally $1,000 -- will be free.
The disc jockey, photographer and videographer -- a package worth $4,500 -- will be free.

"It kind of brings together a group of 100, 200 guests, and sponsors present the best that they have to offer," Weiss said.

Weiss and Lay told Jacobson the steps they took to acquire the sponsorships.

The couple solicited from all over the county.
The couple sent out information packets.
The couple set up a Web site and posted sponsors' names on it.

By using the Internet, the couple told Jacobson, they avoided large banners at their wedding.

"We're not going to have big banners or anything like that. It's a little placard here, a little placard there," Weiss said. "We're having a little slide presentation of pictures of us. As the credits roll, it will be credits for the sponsors."

Weiss and Lay have already saved $15,000 for their upcoming wedding and are now looking for a sponsored honeymoon package.

And Now A Word From Our Sponsor - click here to view the full article

As Erica Rovner's wedding day approached, the hotel where guests were being recommended to stay filled up with convention reservations for an event that had been moved to the same weekend.

Fortunately, Rovner and fiance Michael Rabhan had created a Web site about their Greenville, S.C., wedding, including useful information about the area. When the first hotel sold out, they added information about another hotel across the street where they also had a reservation block.

"I could have set up the site the day after we got engaged for all the questions I got," said Rovner, an account coordinator at Shira Miller Communications in Atlanta, who was married July 17 in her hometown.

Rovner and Rabhan, who's finishing up a master's degree in psychology at Georgia State University, live in Sandy Springs.

Rovner used a free service from TheKnot.com to set up her site, which she said was easy to do, although she hasn't gotten around to using the "newlywed" page to upload wedding photos.

Friends mostly used the site to learn how the couple met, how he proposed and where they were registered, Rovner said. "It was especially great for the bridal party," she said. "They want to know everything."

Christina Vincelli-Gantner also used a Web site to publicize her May 14 wedding to Jevon Gantner. The difference in Vincelli-Gantner's case is that the couple saved an estimated $27,000 on the event by finding sponsors to donate certain items or provide them at deeply discounted prices. The couple spent an estimated $8,000 to $10,000 on the event, which included the honeymoon.

In return for that consideration, Vincelli-Gantner included cards listing sponsors with the invitations, with thank-you notes, on the Web site and at the wedding. Lists of sponsors were at every table and displays were festooned with promotional material from sponsors.

But did those sponsor considerations cheapen the big day?

"Not at all," Vincelli-Gantner replied. "It just made our day better. Guests knew what was going on and were very supportive."

When Vincelli-Gantner learned about the sponsored wedding concept while watching "Oprah," she wasn't even planning to get married. But after Gantner popped the question, the idea crept back into her mind.

The road to sponsorship was an 18-month trek, starting with an engraved cake server and knife and ending with more than 20 sponsorships. Sponsors signed a three-page contract, outlining what they were to provide and how Vincelli-Gantner would promote them in return.

Now a receptionist, Vincelli-Gantner is taking courses to become a certified wedding planner and has written a how-to book about her experience: "The Sponsored Wedding: How to Achieve the Wedding of Your Dreams Without the Cost."

She advises those considering sponsorships to expect to pay some costs.

Figure out what you want, set a budget, and then try to get some of your wish-list items for free. She solicited many potential sponsors by e-mail, which worked well for her.

"It's not for everyone," Vincelli-Gantner said. "It takes dedication and get-up-and-go. You approach people, talk to them and sell yourselves as a couple."

Tamela Scarborough, owner of Southern Bouquets in Winder, provided the flowers for the ceremony and the bridal party, which would have retailed for $1,200.

"I did not get as much [additional business] as I was hoping to but, overall, she did a good job," Scarborough said.

The florist said she'd definitely sponsor another wedding, given the right circumstances. "For the right person with the right press package, then, yeah, we'd do it again," Scarborough said. "It can be a really good thing."

Top 10 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding - click here to view the full article

Do you have champagne taste and caviar dreams, on a white bread and soda pop budget? Don't worry, you can still have a beautiful wedding. Check out these great ways to cut costs and save money.

1) Invitations

Don’t go for engraved invitations- regular printed invites work just as well. There are a variety of cheaper invitations available on the internet. For a casual wedding, consider printing your own invitations from your home computer. Stationery stores now sell printed paper meant to use in a home printer as invitations.

2) Save postage

Forgo the inner envelope and blotter paper, which are leftover relics from times when ink needed time to dry, and people wanted a pristine envelope. Rather than having a reply card, ask guests to reply online or by the telephone. Not only will you save money from the printer bill, it should also reduce your postage expense.

3) Sample Sales
If you wear a 6, 8, or 10, check out sample sales, which happen generally once a year. It’s a great opportunity to get a designer dress at dirt bottom prices. Remember that cleaning the delicate fabric of a wedding dress may cost up to $250, so avoid the cheap dress with the filthy hem.

4) Day of the week

Have your wedding on a weeknight or a Sunday. There is less demand for these dates, so vendors will often be willing to give you a better rate.

5) Church decorations

For church weddings, consider having your wedding near a major holiday. The church will already be decorated, saving you lots of money on flowers.
6) Ask for help

Pool your friends’ and family’s resources- think of musicians you know, well-spoken friends who could be your officiant, and crafty people who can help you assemble things. They will generally be honored to be a special part of your big day. Also ask around for money-saving tips- on websites such as wedfrugal.com and frugalbride.com, as well as from friends and families for what they did to save money on their big day.

7) Get crafty

Throw a “pitch-in party” where the invite asks your friends to be a special part of your big day by helping you assemble favors, make invitations, centerpieces, and other homemade inexpensive touches. Be sure to put out delicious snacks and have great tunes on the stereo, so that your friends feel like they’re at a party, not just part of an assembly line.

8) Food and Drink

Be honest with your caterer about your need to save money. Ask them which are the least expensive entrees and whether a buffet is cheaper than a seated dinner. See if they’ll let you provide your own liquor, or if serving only wine and beer will be cheaper than a full bar. Also consider only having the bar open during your cocktail hour, then serving an inexpensive wine with dinner. Especially if you and your fiance don't drink, consider having a dry wedding.

9) Ebay

Ebay, Ebay, Ebay- a great source for everything from second-hand dresses to wedding favors, cake toppers, ring pillows and more. Be sure to allow ample time for the auction to end, and for shipping.

10) Trim the invitation list

Don't invite anyone you haven't talked to in five years. Don't feel obligated to invite non-live-in boyfriends or girlfriends. Avoid feeling pressure to invite all your work colleagues. Remember, every time you're writing down a name on your invitation list, you're increasing your budget by a significant chunk. It's not just the catering cost, but also the extra centerpieces, favors, linen and chair rentals, etc.

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