Sponsored weddings – selling out or buying in?
- Sponsored weddings – selling out or buying in?
- How do I get sponsors for my wedding?
Sponsored weddings don’t get particularly good press. The only ones you ever read about in the ‘real life’ columns are the crass, shameless ones where the invitations read “this wedding is brought to you by Cracklin’ Jack’s Pork Stratchings.” Or something similar.
But the ostentatious way isn’t the only way.
Not every sponsored wedding has a ‘Bridgestone’ banner draped over the bride’s shoulders. But if that’s something you’re willing to do, then feel free. Some couples have managed to get companies to sponsor their entire wedding.
The other option though is to embrace the concept of wedding sponsorship on a smaller scale by finding smart, subtle ways to make it work – without having your wedding photos marred by loads of garish adverts in the background.
Here are a few things to think about if you’re looking for an interesting way to save money:
Identify the things you’d be willing to brand
If subtle is the key word for you, then it’s best to keep the ceremony itself sacrosanct and look to your reception instead. Since receptions mostly have more guests than ceremonies do, it’s a more attractive prospect for the advertiser anyway.
Think about the small things: napkins, balloons, name cards or menus. Think about how you’ll present this as a marketing opportunity. Items that appear on every table are a good bet because, although it may seem a little unscrupulous, you’re offering up your guests as potential customers for companies to advertise to.
Unless you’re a celebrity, a member of the royal family or wealthier than the country you were born in, then a mail shot offering sponsorship to Coca Cola, Google and Qatar is unlikely to get a response.
Go local though, sending out carefully worded letters to local businesses, and you could be surprised by the results.
If you’re (what we will reluctantly call) ‘average’ wedding age, and many local soon-to-be-wed couples are going to come along to your wedding, then this is valuable marketing currency to anyone in the wedding biz. So base your pitch around it.
You could be writing to small companies who don’t really have an advertising budget. So saying this is a one-time, low-cost precision strike of a marketing opportunity is what will get results.
If you’ve already selected your vendors, ask if they will do a discount for branding
If you’re paying good money for a local catering company to do the food for your wedding reception, they might well be interested in knocking down their prices if you use their own branded napkins.
It’s a good offer for them. If you have guests who are getting married soon, sitting there, remarking at how yummy the food is and then boom, there’s the name and number of the caterer, right there on their napkins – that’s much better than an ad in the paper.
It can work for pretty much any kind of vendor and you don’t need to be all formal about it, like if you were doing a mail shot. Just politely ask, whenever the chance arises, if they’d be interested in giving a discount for a bit of advertising.
Try to ask the highest manager you can speak to though, as most customer service employees are likely to just reply: “erm, no, we don’t do that.”
You’ll have to find your own way with pricing
As wedding sponsorship is fairly unusual and every wedding differs in size, location and guests, there really is no ‘going rate’ as such.
If you’re writing to businesses directly, it’s best to refrain from quoting specific prices. With some diligent googling, you can sometimes get a rough idea what kind of rate is realistic from people who have done it before. But if you get your numbers wrong at the start then the whole thing falls flat.
It’s far better to just let them know precisely what kind of wedding you’re having, how many guests you have and what you’re willing to sell as ad space. You can discuss prices later, once you know they’re interested.
If you really have no idea what kind of discount or sponsorship fee to ask for and you have to completely freestyle your negotiations, it’s obviously best to start high and come down.
Tie it all together
If you can introduce another form of communication into the deal, then your sales pitch will become more tempting. If you have beautifully customised wedding website from, say, Popup Weddings (cough), then you can offer to subtly mention your sponsor in a blog post or two.
And if there’s anything unique or newsworthy about your wedding that’s likely to get the local press involved, you can mention to them that another ‘quirky’ aspect of your wedding is that it was sponsored by… boom again. And that’s another zero, right there.
You have nothing to lose
Plonking a few logos about your wedding isn’t going to offend anyone, it won’t take up a huge amount of your time and if it doesn’t work out then it does you no harm at all.
This is just one of those wedding practices you only ever hear about when it’s taken to extremes. Any wedding that takes place under the shadow of a Goodyear blimp is always destined to become magazine fodder.
Conversely, any wedding that cuts a huge chunk out of its costs by getting someone to sponsor them in a smart, calculated and classy way isn’t going to be deemed newsworthy. And that’s exactly what you want.
It’s subtle. It’s ‘under the radar’. And you don’t have to sell your wedding’s soul to make it work.
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