By Melanie Hicken, As weddings get more and more expensive, some couples are turning to friends, relatives and even strangers to help pay for their big day. Unable to afford a wedding on their own or with the help of their parents, couples are mounting campaigns on crowdfunding websites asking for financial help.
Detroit resident Elizabeth Rodriquez, 22, and her fiancé Otoniel Cabrera, 26, turned to crowdfunding site GoFundMe in January — soon after Cabrera lost his job, leaving him out of work for months. So far, the couple has raised around $4,200 from seven donors, which will go towards their $28,000 wedding in April 2015.
“We’re trying to save as much as possible,” said Rodriguez, who said they cut their guest list from 200 to 135 in order to trim costs. “The rest is pretty much depending on our family and friends.”
Their “Dream Wedding” campaign is one of more than 1,500 wedding-related campaigns that have been launched on GoFundMe.com since 2010.
GoFundMe would not provide fundraising totals, but said more than 16,000 donors have contributed to these wedding and honeymoon fundraising campaigns. But while some campaigns attract thousands of dollars, many receive only a few hundred, if any money at all.
Many campaigns are framed like a reverse registry, with couples asking friends and family to rethink the traditional wedding gift.
“We ask that any money you would spend on a gift goes towards our wedding expenses. Any little bit helps!” 21-year-old Ashlyn Walker wrote in May on her campaign on GoFundMe.
Walker and her fiancé, John Schneider, have received $500 from half a dozen people since starting their fundraising page in early May. With their parents unable to contribute much, the couple is hoping to stick to a $3,000 budget.
Beyond the online donations, Walker said many friends and family members are helping in other ways. Her wedding dress is a hand-me-down from Schneider’s aunt, while a family friend will provide catering services for just the cost of the food.
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