Ingenuity or Irresponsibility: This Social Experiment Has Me Torn

The other day I was checking in on my Browsershot.org Shot Factory and happened to observe one site that was being visited. I sometimes check in on what sites are requesting screenshots because there is a chance I could come across some gem that is being redesigned or tweaked and as a closet web developer, that really interests me.

The website that requested screenshots was called Fund Our Wedding. Come to find out it hasn’t actually been launched yet, nevertheless it still piqued my interest.

The website is being launched on October 1st, and based on the URL I’m sure you can figure out what it’s all about.

The people behind it, named Spencer and Brittany discovered from their homepage , thought it would be an interesting social experiment to erect a website dedicated to asking for donations for their wedding.

Personally, I can’t decide what I think about the idea so I thought I’d get some input from you, my great and ever wise readers πŸ™‚

Why I think this idea is just wrong

My wife and I never had a wedding. We got married in a small town, in the courthouse which was in reality, the judges office with two strangers as witnesses. The reason for this being that we wanted to get on with our lives. I was busy with a business start-up and my then girlfriend had moved with me to a new state but we weren’t living together (call us old-fashioned). We wanted to start a family but were also impatient, young and considerably broke.

If we had waited and saved up for the wedding, we would probably still be waiting. The experiences we have had as a result of our early marriage and the huge amount of growth I personally experienced when I became a father at 20, just shy of a year after our wedding are priceless and there is no way I would be where I am today if we hadn’t gotten married at 19/18 respectively.

Just for the record, my wife does regret never having a wedding and cried about it for at least the first two years we were married whenever she got a wedding announcement in the mail. If I could do it all over again, instead of spending all of my savings on fancy dates with my then girlfriend, I would have set some aside for a modest wedding so that she wouldn’t have any regrets.

Our personal story isn’t why I think this idea is wrong though. I have no problem with someone trying to get help with a big purchase like a wedding but our story is an example that there is life beyond the wedding; the wedding or lack thereof is just the beginning. One should never sacrifice their future for their immediate wants.

What I do have a problem with is spending $20,000 on a wedding! I know the average cost of a wedding is closer to $25,000 but I am appalled by that fact.Β  As a man, I can’t see any reason to spend that much money on a wedding..

Secondly, Spencer and Brittany have been engaged for a year and a half now according to their new website, and there is no mention there if they have done any saving before their little experiment. To rely solely on the gratitude of others to fund a wedding of such magnitude is irresponsible!

Why I think this idea is really cool

I love social experiments and I love studying behavior in general. The era we live in of constant connectivity and far too much knowledge about our neighbors brings thousands of new and very interesting possibilities.

These two are putting themselves out there, telling their story and taking the initiative to fund their wedding in an out of the ordinary way, and I commend that. This kind of experiment couldn’t have been done five years ago, and I’m really curios to see how it turns out.

Will I be donating to the cause?

At this point, I don’t think so. I just happened upon their website and am observing their experiment objectively.

I will continue to look into their project during the next year, and if on the completion and official launch of their social experiment they give some examples of ways they are trying to save for the wedding in case they don’t get the funding they need or they give examples of costs they have cut to reduce the cost of their wedding for the same reason, my heart strings may feel the tugs.

What about you? How much did you spend on your wedding? Did you pull any stunts to secure funding for your satin adventure?


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15 People have left comments on this post



» financiallypoorNo Gravatar said: { Sep 28, 2010 - 10:09:58 }

I just never trust anything like that. How do you know it's being used for the wedding? There's not really anything you can do about it if they don't use it for that. I could fake that website so easily. Plus the wedding date is in exactly a year. Unless they get most of that money before then how are they going to pay for it. Usually you have a deposit and have to pay the rest before the actual wedding day. I just couldn’t trust it at all. There's not even any pictures on the site, that wouldn't convince me either but it would help. Yay pessimism.
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» Dr DeanNo Gravatar said: { Sep 28, 2010 - 11:09:32 }

I admire their entrepreneurial spirit. Don't think I will be giving, but maybe this will hit a nerve for folks like your wife who didn't have their dream wedding, and can live vicariously through this wedding.

Keep us posted!
My recent post Best Of Money Carnival- 70

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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

You make a great point, I can see women with regrets freely giving to this fund to support a young family and create the dream the giver missed out on.

Maybe I can get some more info from Brittany and Spencer as to what their own savings plan is, and shed more light on this experiment.

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» Jeff sustainlifeblogNo Gravatar said: { Sep 28, 2010 - 12:09:55 }

I think it's mostly irresponsibility. As you noted, they never mention what THEY are doing to pay for THEIR wedding, except build a website and ask for help. While I could be off base (I couldn't find anything saying how much they have saved/plan on saving), I still think it is their responsibility and shouldnt ask for help (esp 20k worth) if they didnt need it. They could sour others on donating to all things like this.
It's a cool idea, but I would have much different feelings if they were saving more of their own money and asking for less – something like, we have 10k saved for a wedding and grandma & grandpa cant come because they dont have much money and they live out of state and we need 2.5k to fly them out for a few days. I'd be alright with that.

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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Absolutely. If I were running something like this, I would feel too guilty to NOT put that information showing what I had and am doing to make the end result for myself.

I they should be more specific about what they are actually spending the money on, too. It's the least they could do considering how much they are asking for.

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» FredNo Gravatar said: { Sep 28, 2010 - 01:09:07 }

I agree Dr Dean: I love the entrepreneurial spirit. I also think that an interesting twist would be for people to donate to the wedding in lieu of a gift. A lot of people would like to have a wedding or just a slightly bigger wedding. It would be a cool way to help people to get the wedding they want.

Having said that, I am too cheap to help strangers with their weddings πŸ™‚ I have a seven year old princess at home who I need to be saving for.
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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Excellent suggestion Fred. It's one thing to ask for money, but if this experiment is geared towards family, friends and their friends as the website suggested, most of those people would probably be invited to the wedding and expected to bring a gift on top of donating.

I am trying not to think about weddings for my girls just yet…

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» KevinNo Gravatar said: { Sep 28, 2010 - 02:09:51 }

"What I do have a problem with is spending $20,000 on a wedding"

I hear you. If we wait to have the kind of money to blow like that, we're going to be waiting a VERY long time. I'm going to find the ring to put on it which should cost me far less than that, and then we'll see what happens. πŸ™‚
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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Right on Kevin, that should be exciting. And if everyone waited to have the cash for a wedding, no one would ever get married πŸ™‚ I foresee this 20k going right on a credit card.

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» KNS_FinancialNo Gravatar said: { Sep 29, 2010 - 05:09:07 }

I think if this was a site so that their close friends and family members could help them out, then I wouldn't mind. If they've had a rough time because of circumstances outside of their control and people want to help them out, then I'm fine with that.

However, I think this may be another couple who feels entitled to a big wedding just because they are "in love"! I was disappointed that our wedding was $5,500 – I was shooting for under 5k (with a live band and 139 guests).

Honestly, I would like to see the motives for the people who will give to them – I think it may be as Dr. Dean said.
My recent post What’s the Most That You’ve Ever Paid For a Meal – A financial lesson from Dez Bryants dinner bill!

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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

I think that sums up the the general feel towards this project; complete entitlement. Entitlement is the disease that is killing future generations, and I think it's caused by all the political correctness and federal involvement in parenting.

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» The Saved QuarterNo Gravatar said: { Oct 1, 2010 - 05:10:24 }

It's totally possible to have an amazing wedding and not spend $20k. We got married in 2004 and the "average" wedding was $20k at that point; I'm a frugal gal at heart, though, and we had a perfectly lovely wedding for about $10k total, which is a lot of money for us, but not a dime of it went on credit cards. My parents, mother in law, husband and I saved up and paid cash.

Fifty guests came for the whole weekend – a family reunion and wedding in one! – and they helped to make the day. My mother in law and aunts arranged flowers, a friend of the family acted as a DJ, and my uncle's partner did my hair. My dress was bought on E-bay for 1/10th its original price, new with tags, and we made our invitations on our home computer. His wedding ring was bought at a pawn shop and mine on E-bay. Frugal and lovely are not mutually exclusive!

I wouldn't trade the wedding and reception memories for anything. It was truly the happiest day of my life, and I still have a full heart when I think of the room full of friends and family who traveled from around the country to spend that day celebrating with us. But I can't imagine asking strangers to pay for it. It wasn't THEIR special day, now was it?

It reminds me of the Saving Karyn site a few years ago, where a woman with a lot of debt asked for 20,000 people to donate $1 each to pay off her debt. I'll give her credit, the idea was creative, but I had the same reaction of "it's yours, pay for it yourself!"

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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Ya those, "bail me out of my problem" sites have cropped up here and there over the years. Some of them, especially one like Saving Karyn, really rub me the wrong way. Is she going do donate all the things she bought on credit? I doubt it. I don't appreciate being taken advantage of and that's what I feel those sites are like…I see another post coming out of this discussion πŸ™‚

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» Enneagram CoachingNo Gravatar said: { Nov 25, 2010 - 07:11:47 }

I’ve also come across with some of the people who ask for different reasons online…some are so much fake with really stupid ideas that you will be tempted to hit them with everything you are having…I’ve got many messages on FB or MySpace where people think we don’t know anything at all…I think now a days spam on the net is much more than we can handle easily…:(

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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Enneagram, you got that right. We aren’t stupid, spammers! But then again, some people really are stupid and take the bait and make it all worthwhile for some crook.

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