Project: Wedding Begging

by admin on June 27, 2011

Jordan and Brian want you to know that their wedding is an experiment called “Project: Priceless“.

Project: Priceless is an experiment. The goal: to get Brian and Jordan married in the next year, as free-of-charge as possible. The method: the happy couple will borrow, trade, and accept donations of elements (stuff, services, etc) for the wedding. Everyone who contributes to the occasion gets a shout-out, and any businesses or artisans who contribute get big shout-outs. Contribute, or follow along just for fun to see how things are going.

There’s just an itty bitty problem Jordan and Brian.  This “experiment” has been done before.   The first “gimme the wedding of my dreams” web site was called something like www.giveCindyawedding.com or some such thing.  I don’t have time to research the exact URL but I wrote about Cindy’s web page at least a decade ago and she’s mentioned in one of my books.  Cindy wanted the world to fund an extravagant destination wedding which included travel for all guests, a lavish reception, limo rentals.  What tipped it for me was the jet ski rentals for the bachelor party.    Cindy had to take down her web site due to the high volume of people ridiculing her greediness.

Then there were the ebay auctions trying to solicit money for weddings.   The earliest I know was in January 2003 when seller “breezycarol” posted an auction soliciting cash donations for her wedding.   That auction ended with a grand total of $4.00 being donated.

About 8 years ago or so, a Georgia wedding vendor sent me a hand out she had received from a prospective groom who wanted to parley his vast business marketing skills into accumulating donations from wedding vendors in exchange for all kinds of promotional “shout outs” which included advertising in the invitations, at the reception, on the programs, even in the Thank You notes.   Wedding guests were going to be spammed to hell by wedding advertising whether they liked it or not.  The tawdriness of it was enough to repel this Georgia wedding vendor from having anything to do with the greedy  fiasco.   It’s documented somewhere on this site in the old archives (anyone with more time find it?).

Even Usenet wasn’t immune from pathetic beggars.   I had an entry in the Gimme category way back in 2000 (the exact story ID number was Gimme1118-00) which documented the spam post to Usenet made by a young man trying to solicit funds for his wedding.  A few years ago I received an email from him demanding I remove that entry or else I would hear from his attorney.  He claimed he had been hacked all those years ago.  The original Usenet post is still in the archives so I’ll let you decide for yourselves.

So, using the Internet to beg for a wedding beyond one’s means is nothing new or unique.  It makes your little legal disclaimer at the bottom of your page, “This project concept is the property of Brian and Jordan”, pretty laughable and obviously utterly meaningless and unenforceable.

I have a few things to say, Brian and Jordan, and anyone else tempted to follow in their footsteps…

1. No one owes you a wedding.   Claiming to deserve other people’s money and services because you are such wonderful people or you are poor/in debt or you’re such a civic servant is a false appeal that manipulatively plays on people’s pity or sense of rightness.   There are millions of  people who plan a wedding and get married without a single hand held out begging from the community to reward them for being “awesome”.  I occasionally run into couples who mistakenly believe that because they have done this or that for others, that these people “owe” them a wedding.   The difference is, I set them straight in the privacy of a meeting room because their comments have only fallen on my ears alone.  You, however, have broadcast your appeal worldwide and you get a worldwide broadcasted statement.

2.  Have a wedding within your means.  If Mommy and Daddy have given you a “pre-wedding gift” trip to Miami (in a prior incarnation of the site, photos of a trip to a Caribbean island were mentioned, too),  it appears the means have been there all along to have a respectable wedding.     The wedding blog sister site of Ehell has a post detailing a wedding for 110 guests, with buffet dinner, that cost a whooping $3,000.00 total.  For my own daughter’s wedding last October we hosted 100 guests to a buffet dinner reception with a budget of $5,000.00 for the entire wedding so when I talk about having a wedding within your means, I’ve walked the talk.   It can be done and done well.   One does not need a limo or a make up artist or a string quartet or, in the case of Brian and Jordan, a leather jacket and wedding tattoos to have a fun, lively, lovely wedding day.

3.  Dear Vendors, a whole lot of us take notice of tawdry business behavior that cheapens the solemnity of a wedding and we won’t be using your services or products as a result.  Participating with greedy brides and grooms who are willing to sign their wedding souls over to the advertising devil to turn their wedding into a commercial billboard is really bad business and marketing.   As a wedding coordinator, you have just been scratched off my list of vendors I would ever work with because you cannot be trusted to have the best interests of the bridal couple or their guests in mind and your tastes, if not your ethics,  are questionable.

4.  The mother of all Stag and Does?  What, donations not up to expectations?  Gotta invite as many people as possible to rake in more cash.   After all, their cash is so much more important than their presence at your wedding.   And the poor suckers who attend the SAD and the wedding are going to get stiffed for more money if they want a dance with either the bride or groom.  The giant piggy bank you want to collect money dance cash is a blatant, in your face statement to guests that every step of this wedding is paved with grubby bridal paws wanting more money.

5.  Yes, Brian and Jordan, I am a hater.  I hate how people like you cheapen weddings with “product placements” and “shout outs” from self serving vendors so intent on making a buck that they don’t care if they turn your wedding into one big wedding vendor commercial your guests have no choice but to see.  I hate that you promote the idea that being a failure at thriftiness and restraint with your own money should be rewarded with free money and services/products from others.   You want something beyond your current means?  Then you work hard for it, save for it and don’t expect to profit from the hard labors of others to give you what you are not willing to work to have.    Begging is not a virtue.

Someday, when you are older, you’ll have an epiphany like the aforementioned bridal beggars and you will rue that your wedding memories are forever marred with tacky commercialization, beggary, pathetic appeals for things that really don’t matter how one gets married, and an internet history that will stay in archives for decades.  Because the Internet never forgets.  Ever.

{ 133 comments… read them below or add one }

Chocobo June 28, 2011 at 10:51 am

Dear Friends (Haliwell, Karma): I wasn’t directing my comment at anyone in particular here. Rather, I wanted to point out that bragging on about the success of the small wedding belittles those who did it differently just as much as expounding upon a lavish wedding belittles those who married with less.

More succinctly, it is just as annoying to hear:

“My photographer only cost $50, can you believe? And then we all had a cookout, very casual you see, after the garden ceremony, which hardly cost anything you know, I don’t know why people bother renting out when they can do it so much more cheaply. Of course Granny Num-nums was so kind as to bake us all her famous cookies in place of a cake, because really we felt it was more personal than some cake monstrosity, after all –”

As it is to hear:

“Muffy and I spent so much on those little engraved menu cards to announce the dinner, but really, we felt it was worth it for our guests. Of course we’re trying to stay within budget, so I decided to buy a dress from New York instead of traveling to Paris again so soon to have my measurements done. Flying first class just isn’t what it used to be anyway. We were so delighted Uncle Roger Stuffington said he would take time off from his duties abroad to attend. And those imported flowers from Transylvania I think really added that special touch to the crystal chandeliers, don’t you think?”

I’m not saying that all people with large or small weddings follow this formula, but in trying to prove to the world that theirs is the better choice, brides and grooms often fall into a protracted speech of either Look How Much Money I Have, or Look How Clever I Am.

In any case, there’s no argument that this couple is shockingly entitled. I am tempted to send them Miss Jeanne’s book as my “donation,” with the relevant parts highlighted.

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DaisyChain June 28, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Admin,

Thank you for so eloquently summing up all my thoughts on this little “experiment.”

IMHO, the only people who will not see this as a cheap mask for greed and entitlement are the couple themselves. Something tells me they’re too blinded by their “awesomeness.”

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AS June 28, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I like the sub-topic going on about being condescending to big vs. small weddings. I love big weddings – when I am a guest. But I had always wanted a small wedding for myself, just because I hate to be the center of attention for too long; in my custom, the ceremony is too long and I don’t have much patience to sit through it; I am not religious and hence court house weddings are my best options; and I want to pay for it myself as much as possible. But the conversation going on here has made me re-think the way I talk about small weddings. I think I’ll have to be careful not to sound condescending (even though I usually don’t mean to be condescending).

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Robert London June 28, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I am in the business but I remember back in the day having to fully pay for my own wedding. Yes it does not have to cost what many pay, and forgo the gifts and ask for cash – I believe I said “Gifts of Money would be greatly appreciated” People got the idea

Good luck

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Angie June 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Sorry if this has been posted already, but did anyone else laugh at this:

“In sixty-three days, Brian and I will walk that long walk, and will meet in the middle and stumble through some promises, and take some pictures, and eat some food (hopefully) and dance some dances. ”

Seems to me they’re leaving an awful lot to chance… so far the only food I’ve seen donated are desserts, candy and “Cheecha-Puffs”. I guess that’s where the fundraising comes in. It will be anyone’s guess as to what kind of dinner they’re going to get if they’re lucky enough to be invited to this spectacle.

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Invalidcharactr June 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Robert,

You’re really not supposed to mention gifts at all. It’s kind of presumptuous.

Also, the last time someone sent me any invitation that mentioned money I gave them a shiny goen (five yen) coin. Goen is a homonym for “luck” in Japanese, and for New Year, they give kids candy shaped like five yen coins.

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Jillybean June 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Robert – I’m sure that many people are going to chime in, but it’s never ok to *ask* for cash.

As for big wedding vs small, some people talk about their weddings in such a way that you just delight in how perfect it was for them. Others talk about their weddings in a way that implies it’s the only way to do it right. Both of those types of people can be found in the big and small wedding camps.

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YWalkalone June 29, 2011 at 3:24 am

There are times I wish this site had a “like” option, a la Facebook, for comments. I wish we had that right now so I could “like” ferretrick’s comment. One thousand times.

Also, I’ve noticed no one else has posted this–am I the only one who thinks they are angling for their own reality show? That’s the feel I get.

I wish I could add more, but after going through their site pretty extensively, I’m pretty speechless. Also, everyone else here has already stated what I would have, and much more cleverly than I could have. = ) (Again, ferretrick, “I’m looking at you”!)

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Vrinda June 29, 2011 at 8:28 am

I understand you, AS. May I ask, are you Indian, and Hindu? I ask because that is what I am, and the Hindu wedding ceremonies are also very long (3 or 4 hours, or more). I wouldn’t do a courthouse wedding, but pick another non-religious venue and have a JOP conduct the ceremony. Food, beverages, and flowers can make the bill run high, but carefully crafting your guest list so you’re not inviting everyone you have ever known in your life can make all the difference (try that in a Hindu wedding!).

When my cousin got married in 2007, his wife’s family invited everyone from their hometown – a total of 2,000 people! The part of the wedding DVD where they were shaking hands with all the guests lasted more than three hours.

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Enna June 29, 2011 at 9:41 am

The couple asking for handouts are beyond rude and greedy. I do like Wink-a-Smile’s suggestion of working at a flourist or a caterars in excahnge for goods and services, that’s different but accetable as the couple would work and earn the goods and services for their wedding. If the couple were doing it 100% that way, it would be an interesting experiment!

I remember reading Pride and Prejudice and the discriptions of Lady De Bourgh’s (sorry if that is spelt wrong, was a while since I read it) house and Mr Darcy’s house. Both characters are very rich. Lady De Borugh’s house from what I remember was descriped as being over the top, gaudy, fussy etc. Whereas Mr Darcy’s house is described as being the height of luxary and fine taste. I think when it comes to big weddings, if it is like Mr Darcy’s house, e.g. done tastefully and finely and the couple can afford it without being gimmie pigs that’s fine. If the couple that is done which is over fussy, gaudy, tackey etc like Lady De Bourghs hosue that’s different. What matters I think is if a wedding is big, small, medium etc is that 1) the couple love each other and understand that their wedding is one day, marriage is (ideally) for life: 2) they can afford it, 3) they are gracious in the way they go about it, e.g. they don’t demarnd the unreasonable.

I can see where Chocobo is coming from: jsut because someone has a big wedding doesn’t mean that they are selfish or greedy or attention grabbing. My parents had a simple wedding e.g. thier reception was in my Grandmother’s back garden; we were talking about it one day and my sister snootterly said “its wasteful to spend £20,000 on a wedding”. I said to her if the couple can afford it e.g two millionaries getting married spending more than that what’s the problem? She said it was still wrong, and Mum’s response was “if they can afford it, there’s nothing wrong with it.”

I like the varitey of weddings, big, small, formal, informal, traditional, modern, religious, non-religious, I haven’t been to loads but it would be BORING if all weddings were idenical.

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Wink-n-Smile June 29, 2011 at 11:15 am

Enna, your mother is a classy lady.

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AS June 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Vrinda, yes, I am an Indian and Hindu. And you said it right – inviting everyone you have ever known in your life can send wedding costs goes sky rocketing. When I get married, I think I am going to avail the JOP way, with close family and friends only. That way, we’ll not have to stress about money, and my parents will not have to get all stressed out with the preparations.

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AS June 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm

BTW, I am still getting over this couple’s story and total tackiness…

They should be given a very special position at the etiquette Hall of fame.

Admin, as someone else said too, can you send them an etiquette book (also to Ottawa times, who applauded the couple!).

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anonymous June 29, 2011 at 7:28 pm

I’m with Chocobo. I haven’t seen the usual “my wedding was smaller than yours” one-lowsmanship I often see in various forums (even ones not related to weddings or etiquette!) and it’s just as annoying as “my wedding was so fancypants”.

I’m one of those big-wedding people – well, by big I mean 100 and for a lot of people, that’s considered tiny. We had a venue, music, photographer, alcohol and dinner and no, it was not remotely cheap (as I said before, most of the cost was for the food and venue). I am totally a “big party” person and my husband is cool with whatever – and it was important to prioritize having people we love there over keeping the guest list small.

I don’t regret it one bit. Did we get parental help? Yes, about 50%, because they offered, not because we asked. Did it cost a lot? Yes, but not enough to put a downpayment on a house or anything. Was it totally worth it? YES. 100%. I will never apologize or be ashamed of my big wedding. I do estimate that it cost about what a family reunion with catering in a rented venue would cost.

But big wedding doesn’t have to = foofy wedding, or fussy wedding. You can have a big wedding that doesn’t involve limos, formal attire, a florist, a baker, anything engraved, toasting flutes, a band, an arch, all-day photography, cake cutters, aisle runners and all this other stuff one has the option of buying for one’s wedding. We didn’t have any of that – and I don’t mean that to say “we’re so clever” but rather that “you can have a great wedding for 100 people without all that stuff”.

So I do recommend that people (generally – not meaning anyone specific on here) separate their ideas of “big wedding” and “over-the-top wedding”. A big wedding need not be over the top, and some tiny weddings are very much over the top.

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Marion the Librarian June 30, 2011 at 11:29 am

Since the story of this lovely couple was posted earlier this week, I’ve been delighting in all of the comments here, and I’ve also been slightly obsessed with reading Brian and Jordan’s blog. It seems to be the perfect summation of where weddings have gone wrong in our society.

Their idea of “community” is laughable. They like the idea of a community helping them out and lending a hand, but that help ends with them and their wedding day. It doesn’t seem to be a “pay it forward” type of situation – especially considering they have “copyrighted” their little social experiment. It is rather a “we’ve helped some people in the past, so now it’s our turn” type of situation. It’s about entitlement, and the notion that people deserve their dream wedding simply because they *want* it.

Contrast that with my grandparents’ wedding – they grew up in a very close-knit community in Pittsburgh, where everyone knew everyone, people looked out for each others’ kids, weddings were big by default (because families were big, and everyone knew everyone), but still modest. Weddings were about starting a young couple off in the world together, and celebrating their love. The community came together and gave what they could because they knew the couple needed a little help getting started, not because the couple dictated what they would need. And the notion of family and community was so strong for my grandparents that they left their own reception early, so they could visit my grandfather’s older sister in the hospital and bring her and her husband a plate of food and a piece of cake.

I was lucky to have a wedding similar to my grandparents’, nearly 60 years later. The whole day overwhelmed me, because so many people came together just for us – to this day, it makes me tear up. Lots of friends and family volunteered their help with invitations, photography, music, decorations (we are lucky to have lots of talented friends!), and the community that formed from this help was a beautiful thing. I’d like to think that Jordan and Brian had this type of community in mind at first, but maybe just got a little greedy. Because just the IDEA of saying something like “we’re looking at you, so and so!” on our wedding’s website in order to solicit help with the invitations, photos, etc. makes me a little queasy.

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C.J. June 30, 2011 at 5:56 pm

When I first read the OP, then ventured over to their open hand of a website, I was kinda furious. They are so much more fortunate than many others, but instead of giving back, they expect more. And they think they are so special and more exceptionally deserving than others! And what an original idea! Not. Greed has been around since the beginning of time. I had every intention of writing the awesome bride and groom-to-be a piece of my mind, especially when they announced that it’s their RIGHT to have the wedding of their dreams without having to lift a finger. BLECH.

However, scrolling through the comments made me feel much better about the world, and therefore less inclined to send them a piece of my mind. It’s fortifying to know there are people out there who aren’t gimme pigs.

In a related story, a girl I know is getting married to her boyfriend in the coming months. I’ve talked to both of them maybe 5 times, but I still was invited… via Facebook… to an even titled “A Wedding for ———– and ————-”. First of all, I get that things can be tight at our age. I’m not saying go out and get super fancy invites, but even Tuesday Morning/Target have very affordable, blank cards and invites, and you could ask a friend with neat handwriting to fill them out in exchange for lunch. Second of all: “Please bring a side dish “. I didn’t get asked personally, but we are all expected to come and give food? “please do not bring gifts… (money would be best if you would like). ” Seriously.

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Jamesy July 2, 2011 at 1:58 pm

@C.J.
I’m not even sure it’s a money-saving matter these days. I feel as thought it is a sign of the further decline of our society. As one who has received a similarly bizarre invite, I feel your confusion and pain.

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Judyann July 3, 2011 at 2:18 am

I’ve always believed that it was the marriage that was important, not the wedding. The only things you need to get married is a license and an officiant, a place to have the wedding. the bride and the groom. Period, end of sentence. I got married at the courthouse, with 2 witnesses, Lunch the following weekend at my MIL’s house (I cooked). And I’m just as married as someone who had a fancy expensive destination wedding.

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anonymous July 3, 2011 at 10:23 am

Judyann, but that does not make you any “better” than someone who had a big party. It’s great that you did that – I think it’s awesome in fact – but it isn’t necessarily better. Just different. I know you didn’t say you thought your way was best, but one does see many people online and in real life who *do* think that they’re better for having a very simple marriage, and you can tell by the tone of what they say…or they just come out and say it. Small weddings are great, but they are not a free pass to judge those who had big weddings. Just because you don’t need all the extra stuff doesn’t mean that nobody should want it, or that if someone can afford it that they shouldn’t be able to have it.

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Enna July 4, 2011 at 5:34 am

Thanks for the compliment Wink-n-Smile.

It’s about getting a balence right, weddings are very personal to an individual couple’s taste. However weddings can be tacky and bad whether they are small or big depending on the expectations of the couple and those involved planning it as well as the behaviour of the hosts.

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anonymous July 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm

I agree, Enna. Totally with you on that. Tacky can be subjective…I agree completely that any true etiquette violations are inherently tacky – the couple in the OP, for example, is just plain tacky, no redemption. Asking for money, blatantly soliciting gifts, making your guests pay for anything, making crazy demands, ridiculing others whose taste is different or making others uncomfortable = tacky.

So basically, yes. “Stuff” is not inherently tacky because everyone has different tastes. My classy might be your tacky and vice versa. Just because I think a pink tulle covered arch is tacky doesn’t mean it actually is.

It’s behavior that is tacky or not, and that’s where the focus of such discussions really should be.

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RP July 4, 2011 at 10:25 pm

The saddest part of all this is that people continue to fall for it. This ‘experiment’ should be failing hard.

As a wedding coordinator, you have just been scratched off my list of vendors I would ever work with…

I’d like to see people go into those businesses with the expectation that they’ll also get free stuff. They open themselves up for that when they publicly announce that they gave a couple free stuff/services for absolutely no reason other than that they asked for it.

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Michele July 5, 2011 at 8:42 am

“Someday, when you are older, you’ll have an epiphany like the aforementioned bridal beggars and you will rue that your wedding memories are forever marred with tacky commercialization, beggary, pathetic appeals for things that really don’t matter how one gets married, and an internet history that will stay in archives for decades. Because the Internet never forgets. Ever.”
Unfortunately people who act like this are clueless usually for life. I don’t ever see an epiphany in their future. They go thru life obnoxious and the only recourse knowing people have is to steer clear of them. Their hands will always be out, furnish their house, pay for their kids, they will always be begging and trying to convince you it’s your duty to help or your lucky they asked you.

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TheBardess July 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Dear. Lord. This website is just…I can’t even come up with a word to describe it. I don’t think such a word even exists.

My favorite bits:

“Why contribute: Aside from the fact that we are an adorable couple who needs your support to have their special day?…Aside from the fact that you will, if you haven’t already, fall in love with us?”

Well, SOMEBODY has a high opinion of themselves. And I’m sorry, but being “adorable” does not entitle you to other people’s goods and services at no charge so you can have your dream wedding on someone else’s dime.

“We think that gathering and celebrating your spiritual and cultural traditions is actually, really, a right. I’m pretty sure what you’re really asking is, how dare you feel righteous enough to expect a wedding beyond your pocketbook’s means. There’s no way to argue this reasonably. ***Suffice it to say, that’s highly elitist and ridiculous.***” (emphasis mine)

What???? Just…WHAT?? It’s “elitist and ridiculous” to suggest that people live within their means??? Since when?? Exactly WHAT is “elitist and ridiculous” about having a wedding that is within your budget? That’s just…I just…I have absolutely no words for this.

“I question whether all the haters truly understand what giving is all about; I feel confident in saying that Brian and I are *intimate* with the concept. ” (emphasis theirs)

Oh

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TheBardess July 5, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Sorry, my last comment got cut off by accident. Anyway…

““I question whether all the haters truly understand what giving is all about; I feel confident in saying that Brian and I are *intimate* with the concept. ” (emphasis theirs)

Oh please. Am I the only one gagging on the sanctimoniousness here? This has got to be one of the most self-righteous, holier-than-thou statements I’ve ever read. So you’ve done some community service- bully for you. I don’t care how “intimate” you are with the “concept of giving,” that STILL doesn’t entitle you to a wedding provided free of charge by other people.

*sigh*

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Xyz10 July 5, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I eagerly await Project: Help Us Pay for a Divorce Lawyer when this “awesome” couple finds out how hard self-absorption and self-entitlement are on a marriage.

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lkb July 6, 2011 at 5:31 am

There are repeated references to the couple’s self-proclaimed “awesomeness”. Well, they got that right. There were many jaws that dropped in awe at the couple’s unmitigated gall. ;D

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Michelle P July 30, 2011 at 11:15 am

Jaw on the floor. Admin, love the response as usual!

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lkb August 22, 2011 at 11:54 am

Well, today’s the day. And looking at the couple’s website, more people are willing to condone this behavior than I gave humankind credit for.

Blessings to the happy couple and their families, but….

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Nicole August 26, 2011 at 5:35 am

I had a wedding in my parents backyard, but it was still expensive though we tried to keep it simple. What was very pricey were the table/china/cutlery rentals and the tents in case of rain. The food was also pricey, that we could have cut back on. We did homemade cake and decorations, had a DJ not a band, but still; things added up…. actually renting a hall might have been cheaper due to combo deals. So the backyard garden thing should be done for sentimental reasons not because you hope it will be cheaper.

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Dannysgirl August 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Well, well, well. Look what just popped up on this couples’ Twitter feed today, which is posted on their website:
“P:P home edition is underway…no joke. We’ve started redoing our place! Can’t wait to transition to the new project!” (about an hour ago)
Now they’re looking for help to fix up/furnish their home. Nice. Where will it end?

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Chocobo August 29, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Dannysgirl –

Are you freaking KIDDING ME? So many people in real need who can’t bring themselves to beg on the street, and starve instead, and these people are happily taking their place with their palms open. RRRR!!

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Gracie C. August 29, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Wow! Just wow to that update Dannysgirl.

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