Recent Battles with the Wedding-Industrial Complex


(Just for fun)

Early in the wedding-planning process, I stumbled on the blog of a kindred spirit:¬†2000 Dollar Wedding. Although M.L. and I will not be throwing our nuptial shindig quite so economically, we have picked up on the author’s attempts to thwart what she terms the “wedding-industrial complex.” We have, then, tried to steer away from the advertising, tools, and general consumerism thrown our way by the likes of the American wedding industry. That means a minimal budget for usually big-ticket items (i.e., wedding gowns) and more funds invested in the things that really matter, like a thoughtful worship service to begin life together and the food, beverages, and space that we hope will make for a fabulous party for our closest friends and family following the ceremony.

We’re trying to be attentive in little ways too and this week managed to score two major (if slightly imperfect) victories over the commercialized, cookie-cutter wedding beast.

First, we’re doing a wedding blog instead of a wedding website. The latter are great for many people; the tools are handy and it’s great to have all of your information (invites, registry, rsvps, checklists) in one place. We just happened to want to avoid the websites that usually host these options. The biggest draw for setting up a site through Wedding Wire or The Knot was, originally, the online RSVP option. I don’t know which way is up when it comes to html, so initially despaired of creating an non-Knot option. However, it turned out that some of the tech tools I used as an AmeriCorps VISTA finally came into play again! Google Docs (now Drive) allows users to embed survey forms into their websites and blog pages. Visitors to the web page can then input their info into the form, all of which is then saved into an easy-to-use spreadsheet. Fantastic. Score number one for Team Bride and Groom.

The second victory is a little more messy. The fianc√© and I are including an option for charitable giving in our gifting options and we want to be able to recognize the generosity of our guests. (Not because we’re particularly righteous people, but because this is a practice we’re still learning to be intentional about.) Initially, we began setting up giving options through the I Do Foundation, connected with the Knot’s Gift Registry 360.

The process seemed simple enough and the set-up was easy. Alas, just as I prepared to click “submit,” I noticed a tiny link labeled “cost” or “fees” (something to that effect). As it turns out, I Do tacks on a twelve percent processing/transaction fee on every donation. Every donation! Just for perspective, most non-profits include a three to five percent fee for credit card donations directly through their site. This was too much. Other fundraising sites do have lower rates, but none so low as the non-profits.

Our solution, for the moment, is a PayPal fund connected to our wedding email account and linked into the registry page of our wedding blog. (WordPress mercifully provides clear step-by-step instructions in their support section.) PayPal’s transaction fee is only 2.9% + .30, which is a steal compared to other options. Unfortunately, this means that M.L. and I will be acting as the middle people between donors and the charities. Still, it will allow us to recognize the charity of our friends and family and to thank them thoroughly.

This is an imperfect solution, so suggestions are definitely welcome. Even so, I count this as score number two for M.L. and me. Huzzah for the victory, however partial it might be.

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