How do I get sponsors for my wedding?
- Sponsored weddings – selling out or buying in?
- How do I get sponsors for my wedding?
In our recent article on sponsored weddings, we explained how you can save heaps of cash by subtly embracing the idea of selling ad space at your wedding. So now we’ve covered the theory, it’s time to move onto the practical side. Please put on your white lab coat, clean your glasses and grab your clipboard – it’s time to meet a couple who are doing it for real. A quick note before we start: we’re going to have a link to every sponsor we mention in this article. Not because we’re being paid to do so, but to show how easy it can be to get your wedding sponsors mentioned online, instead of splashing their names all over your wedding day.
Meet Ben and Samantha
Our sponsored couple got engaged on May 3rd 2014 and set a date of September 5th of the same year, just 123 days later. They then vowed to fund the whole thing by promoting their vendors through their website www.123daywedding.co.uk. Their photographer, LJM Photography for example, is shooting the entire thing in exchange for this promotional page on Ben and Samantha’s website. Here’s the cute bit: they’re not doing it because they don’t have any money. They’re doing it so they can donate the money they would have spent to the Save the Children charity. Aww, right?
So how do I get this mythical ‘free wedding’?
“Organising a wedding is ordinarily a time-consuming thing,” says Ben. “But with a sponsored wedding it’s not just a case of picking the vendors you want – there will be hours spent sending emails and making phone calls to gain the interest of a willing contributor. “The biggest question that any sponsor will have in considering whether to sponsor your wedding or not is ‘what are you offering me in return?’ They will be looking to see if the reward is worth the expense. This is more applicable for the smaller companies. Most of the larger ones will have an annual budget which will allow them to contribute to things like this.” One thing Ben is very clear about is the amount of time it takes. Even having hired a wedding planner, 9ice Events, he is still devoting all the time he has. “It has been a full time job for me. Planning a wedding, contacting businesses, writing blogs, increasing web traffic, social marketing and SEO all take time. A lot of time. It’s been hard and emotionally draining for both me and Samantha, but where there is a will there is a way. We’ve stuck at it, in the hope that it will inspire other couples to get creative with their own weddings and it’s paying off.”
How do I get vendors involved?
It seems the key thing here is: don’t be shy. “We haven’t been afraid to ask anyone and everyone to see what kind of businesses would respond,” Ben says. “We’ve found a lot of successful companies get back to us and a lot of newly established ones as well.” He’s not kidding about the diversity of companies he has onboard. The list ranges from Creationery, a wedding stationery shop on Etsy that opened just last year, to Kooky Bakes, a London based bakery with Google, Selfridges and Ralph Lauren on its previous client list. “Some want the exposure to help them grow their business, others don’t need the exposure but just want to help. We’ve been blessed enough to have all that we’ve really wanted.” “We have taken on sponsors under the agreement that we would feature a website page on their business with backlinks to their own websites and social networking pages with the assurance of doing all we can to drive traffic to the website and create publicity for the project to give them as much exposure as possible.”
Wait. So this can be done without having any ads at my actual ceremony?
Ben says yes: “We have not allowed any brand advertising on the day of the wedding. Our agreement with sponsors is to feature their branding on our website only and give them credit when submitting our wedding to blogs and websites afterwards.” It’s worth remembering that advertising doesn’t have to mean explicit branding. Anyone who eats anything at Ben and Samantha’s wedding reception will know who to thank. The website makes it very clear that the evening snack will be provided by Pizza Wheels and that Fruity Bouquets are responsible for the chocolate-decorated strawberries that are currently making us want to lick our laptop screens. Remember how we said in our last article that you can advertise with subtlety? That’s how it’s done.
So I don’t need a big logo and slogan on my wedding cake?
Nope. Not if you’re smart in your planning. The cake is a perfect example of how subtle advertising is better for the wedding and the vendor alike. Cake makers don’t want their product covered in their own advertising either, because their art and passion is making beautiful cakes, not edible billboards. We’re guessing Ben’s cake maker, Sharon from Ice as Nice, is much happier with the deal she is getting. Thanks to the website and the web traffic it sends her way, she gets to make the cake look as lovely as possible, safe in the knowledge that everyone eating it will know who to give the credit to, without her having to smear her name on the wall in icing. Visual, tangible adverts aren’t a necessity. As Ben says: “The 21st Century is a wonderful time. The world continues to grow smaller and contacting it becomes easier.”
This is beginning to sound like a very internet-y thing
It is. At least, the way Ben and Samantha have done it is. But that’s not the only way. Like we said in the previous article: you don’t have to make it the main theme of your wedding and you don’t need to sell its soul. If you want to just use the concept of sponsorship as a negotiating tool with vendors, then you can save money without ever needing to know what domain names or click-throughs are. But remember, the internet is still the most powerful tool in advertising. In writing this article, we’ve already given advertising exposure to seven of Ben and Samantha’s eight sponsors, just by cramming in loads of web links. And they haven’t paid us a penny for it – we’re not even getting any of those yummy-looking mojitos from Coxtails Professional Cocktail Services. Whether you embrace the web or not, the most important thing, as Ben says from first-hand experience, is how dedicated you are to making it work: “Your approach, determination, attitude and perseverance will determine the outcome and success of a sponsored wedding. Sponsored weddings can attract a lot of negative opinions and are not for the faint of heart or the easily discouraged. But if you’re willing to go for it and believe in your creative ability, success will follow.”
What do you think? Does Ben and Samantha’s story make you see sponsored weddings in a different light? Would you consider a sponsored wedding yourself? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments box.
About the author