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Fundraising Schemes For The Wedding Of One’s Dreams

I was recently invited (via Facebook) to “John” and “Jane’s” Stag and Doe. In this part of the world, it’s apparently commonplace for the bride and groom to be to host a party, inviting everyone they know, to serve as a fundraiser for their wedding. The Facebook invite indicated that tickets are $5 and can be purchased from a few friends of the bride and groom.

I’m not from this part of the world, so I was unfamiliar with a Stag and Doe. I thought it was a bit tacky to charge $5, but figured it was a sort of joint bachelor/bachelorette party, and so said I would go. Upon talking with a friend, I discovered there will also be a 50/50 draw and silent auction at this party, with all proceeds to the bride and groom to be.

The kicker? I’m not actually invited to the wedding. I was, however, invited to the shower, and now have been invited to help pay for a wedding I’m not invited to. Needless to say, I let the bride and groom know I won’t be able to make it after all.    0715-10


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  • DGS July 19, 2010, 9:24 am

    I am not sure what part of the world this is, but in my opinion, a fundraiser bachelor/bachelorette party is incredibly tacky and greedy! Furthermore, a cardinal rule of etiquette is that if someone is not invited to a wedding, this person is not then invited to a wedding shower. It sounds like this couple is after as much money and gifts as they can get rather than focusing on sharing their love with friends and family and nurturing their relationship.

  • Princesssimmi July 19, 2010, 9:25 am

    Regardless of how commonplace such an event may be, there is no possible way to host said ‘party’ for yourself as a fundraiser and come out the other side smelling of roses.

    1. Do not invite people to the engagement party if they will not be invited to the wedding.
    2. Do not host your own engagement party.
    3. Do not host an event where you charge an entry fee. That’s going to make me yell “saddle that gimme pig, I’ll ride it home” and nobody wants that.
    4. Do not attend self-hosted entry-fee-charging parties for anybody you know as it’s just feeding the piggies.
    5. Stock up on etiquette books.

  • Patti Purcell July 19, 2010, 9:54 am

    I agree, i also would not go. If I am not good enough for the wedding, then why should I help pay for your wedding??? We do not do stag and doe in our area, how tacky, maybe the couple needs to a small wedding that they can afford to pay for themselves, Instead of looking at friends as fundraisers.
    You were lucky to find out early you were not Invited to the wedding, and that way you did waste your time and or money on the stag and doe party.

  • josie July 19, 2010, 10:11 am

    I wonder how much an event like this would bring in versus the number of people it would alienate. Its certainly not a practice I’ve ever heard of. Tacky beyond belief.

  • Mojo July 19, 2010, 10:26 am

    I’m so glad we don’t do that round here. Well done for not going. I hope this particular practice doesn’t ‘cross the pond’.

  • gramma dishes July 19, 2010, 10:28 am

    May I ask in what part of the world is this commonplace? I’ve never heard of it — and would not be a participant if I ever were invited to such an abomination!
    This goes waaaay beyond “tacky”! Is there a stronger word (that can be used in this forum)?

  • AS July 19, 2010, 11:06 am

    Just the other day my boyfriend and I decided that we’ll have to wait to get married because we cannot afford even a basic party yet. Geez… ‘wonder why everyone (in whichever part of the world) doesn’t hold wedding fund raisers, and invite every person the couple knows and make them pay for a wedding they are not invited to! It would have been so convenient for us to have our dream wedding ;-).

    I am surprised that people who know what is going on still attend these fund raisers, and find nothing wrong with them. Good that OP backed out as soon as he/she knew about it. Hope more people do that, and the couple gets the point. Of course there are the invitees who don’t know what is going on… a spot I always hate to be that invitee.

  • bellawitch July 19, 2010, 11:32 am

    I had never heard of them until I lived in SW Ontario. They seem fairly common, esp in the rural communities. It is nothing but a fundraiser. I’ve never been to one, or would I go. They are just tacky.

  • Annie July 19, 2010, 11:57 am

    Stag and Does used to be really common in my area, but the bride and groom did not host it. It was usually thrown by the best man or maid of honor. For $5, you got in the venue which had free food, free drinks, and live entertainment. It was basically a massive party, and it was usually open to the public.

  • NotCinderell July 19, 2010, 12:30 pm

    Princess Simmi, I beg to differ on one point: In religious Jewish culture, it’s common for the parents of one or both members of the HC to host an engagement party in their home or at their synagogue. The event is open to all friends and family who hear the announcement, including the entire congregation of whomever is hosting the event. No gifts are typically given at these events. The point is just to congratulate the HC and their family on the match, nothing more. Usually, cake, fruit, and similar refreshments are served. There is no guarantee of being invited to the wedding, but as I said before, no gifts are expected.

    Inviting anyone to a pre-wedding event at which gifts are expected and then not inviting them to the wedding is rude. If gifts are not expected, it is not rude.

  • Xtina July 19, 2010, 1:08 pm

    That’s not the kind of thing we do in my part of the world either (southern U.S.). How incredibly rude, tacky, and greedy. I have never heard of anyone I know hosting, or hosting on someone else’s behalf, a fundraising party for someone’s wedding (or anything).

    I see that the O.P.’s money is the only thing welcome at their celebration. I’d be sure to tell them to have a lovely wedding but I won’t be participating.

    I got duped into attending (and buying a nice gift for) a wedding shower of a workmate who I thought I was pretty good friends with. At the shower, a few people were talking about the wedding invitations, which were apparently lovely. I commented to the bride-to-be that I had not received mine yet, and when had she sent it? Deer-in-headlights look from her before she busied herself with another guest. I found out from the red-faced shower hostess that I, among a few others at the shower, were not invited to the wedding. The hostess said she wished she’d known and that she would have never hosted a shower for the girl if she’d known that the bride-to-be was planning on pulling that.

  • mommaknowsbest July 19, 2010, 1:08 pm

    Again, yet another couple who thinks they have to have some big, grandiose wedding to allow others to party the night away–only instead of this being on their dime, it’s on YOUR dime! 🙂 i have never even heard of a stag and doe party, and I have no friends who have ever stooped to a fundraiser for their wedding, but I think if less us else actually supported this practice, maybe they would stop? right? I mean, someone is obviously going to these and making them work, so stop going and aiding and abetting these things.

    My question to OP–how would you know you aren’t invited to the wedding?

  • Sarah July 19, 2010, 2:53 pm

    In my neck of the world, we do have Stag and Does, but they are hosted by the bridal party and it’s an opportunity for a community to celebrate – not another “hit’m in the pocketbook” scheme. Sounds like someone couldn’t get their friends to put in the time to organize a PROPER Stag and Doe, and decided to go ahead on their own. You usually fill a hall with people who WANT to come, dance, drink and have fun – it is like a pre wedding celebration. These are advertised in the local papers, not “invites” where you then charge – you pay at the door knowing you are benefitting the young couple. Some use the funds to put toward a home, pay for a honeymoon, etc. It’s organized by friends (again, usually bridal party) to celebrate and support a young couple.

  • LolaCat July 19, 2010, 3:49 pm

    It’s spreading……..
    *Invitation, posted to my Facebook, from a lady I used to work with, Briefly*

    Burger/Hotdog and Loonie Auction Wedding Fundraiser
    Since the weather is nice and there have been requests for a fundraiser in (Home town) we are going to try a BBQ and Loonie Auction in our back yard. Bring your chairs or blankets. *Groom* will be BBQ Burgers with the fixings for $5 and Hot Dogs for kids (or the young at heart) for… $2. Comes with chips. We may add to the menu!! *Brides young son* will sell pop for $1.
    Be helpful if you can order your burger now.

    BBQ Starts at 5 pm.
    Loonie Auction at same time, will draw tickets at around 7:00 pm.
    Donations accepted and appreciated!!

    We still have some $1,000 draw tickets left ($10) and Wines of the World Tickets…

    * I should add that this is probably the 3rd invitation I’ve gotten from this couple for various events held in different communities*

  • AMC July 19, 2010, 3:55 pm

    I’ve heard of these fundraising Stag and Doe parties before, but have never attended one. I understand they are commonplace in some parts of Canada and the UK.

  • Princesssimmi July 19, 2010, 7:56 pm

    Hi NotCinderell,
    I probably should have clarified what I meant better. I see no problem with attending an event under the circumstances you have described where it is a celebration held by the parents that is just food/dancing/congratulations to the happy couple. The event I had in mind was the one held by the couple purely for a money grab or gift grab. See Sarah’s post, that would be an event I would be uncomfortable attending.

  • Wilson July 19, 2010, 9:23 pm

    Yep. they are unfortunately common in southern Ontario that they just seem to be acceptable now.

    I got invited to one from a distant friend. I got invited to another from a friend who had stopped talking to me via facebook. Her event invitation features pictures of the door prizes. I did not attend either.

    To me they are soo tacky but I would go if it was a close friend, and if I ever get married I will certainly not have one!

  • Emily July 19, 2010, 9:43 pm

    I was recently repeatedly invited to purchase tickets to a coworker’s stag and doe which was held on an evening I was working at our shared job. I was encouraged by the maid of honour to “buy a ticket anyway” to show my support for the couple. The tickets were $20.
    I shake my head at this practice, and have thus far managed to avoid ever attending one of these gatherings.

  • Bint July 20, 2010, 4:04 am

    uuuuuuugh! Bad taste!

    Never heard of this. Not done in the UK ever either. Yuck – and well done for not going!

  • Mojo July 20, 2010, 5:35 am

    Hi AMC, I’ve been to weddings all over the UK (England, Scotland Wales and NI), and have never heard of anyone holding a fundraising event – thank goodness!

    We have engagement parties (family, friends, nice congratulations); Stag Nights (last night of freedom – groom gets drunk with his mates, strippers optional); Hen Nights (last night of freedom – bride has a lovely time with her friends, drink optional but encouraged!) and then the Wedding itself.

    We don’t have Wedding Showers, and events called ‘Stag and Doe’. Unless this habit is gradually working it’s way across from the USA, but I’ve not seen or heard of it yet. Is it in onbe part of the UK you’ve heard of it?

  • kingshearte July 20, 2010, 6:25 am

    These things are semi-common, I guess, where I am (Eastern Ontario), as I’ve known of and even attended a few. Going forward, I’d be unlikely to go to others, I think, unless I was really close with the couple and reasonably confident of receiving an invitation to the wedding.

    They have always struck me a little odd, though, and I certainly didn’t have one for my wedding.

  • AMC July 20, 2010, 7:44 am

    Hi Mojo- I was recently told by an aquaintance that these types of events take place in the UK, but they did not specify a certain region. Perhaps they were mistaken or had them confused with the Stag and Hen Nights. I am from the US and have never heard of a wedding fundraiser taking place here. I think most people here would be appalled by such a blatant gimme ploy.
    Thank you for the clarification!

  • Enna July 20, 2010, 11:40 am

    That’s bad expecting people to fund everything.

  • Shayna July 20, 2010, 2:02 pm

    I’m always rather torn on stuff like this. While I think it’s absolutely tacky to hold a fundraiser for one’s wedding, I also have to stop and consider that those who choose to attend these sorts of things must not consider it rude and tacky. My cousin’s son and his fiancee threw a big Mardi Gras themed wedding and if you were attending, you had to purchase a ticket. I thought it was unbelievably tacky, but there was a huge turnout, and the event itself was beautiful (at least as far as I could tell from the photos I saw).

  • Chelsey July 20, 2010, 2:54 pm

    That’s actually the norm in places like Canada (I have a friend from Canada who told me about this while I was planning my own wedding). Because weddings are so expensive, the bride and groom hosts a party for the neighborhood and everyone pitches in and helps pay for the wedding, even though most of them won’t be invited. You can rest assured, though, that if you or your children get married, you can guiltlessly do the same thing. They don’t think of it as a gimme ploy–it’s just tradition.

  • Lisa Barton July 20, 2010, 3:52 pm

    Apparently, something called a wedding “social” is common in Manitoba. The purpose of it is to raise funds for the wedding (or some other cause such as a sports team), but this is done by selling beer (and perhaps snacks), and there is no entrance charge. I am perfectly ok with being invited to a get together where cheap beer is on sale, regardless of what the funds are being raised for. If the couple wishes to wash cars or put on a bake sale, I’m ok with that too. However, it should be wholly optional, and I do not think friends and family should be pressured into paying an entrance charge. If you want to sell something to raise money that’s fine, providing that the person buying it receives the benefit of getting something they want at a good price.

  • TheBardess July 20, 2010, 5:58 pm

    “those who choose to attend these sorts of things must not consider it rude and tacky. ”

    Just because someone doesn’t *consider* something rude and tacky doesn’t mean it isn’t. And asking guests to foot the bill for one’s own celebration is ALWAYS tacky. If you can’t afford it, don’t host it. Party within your means.

    • robyn February 14, 2016, 10:34 pm

      I think, as a bride, and a person that has been invited to a testimonial (the buck and doe) that knowing how much money I am spending per person on each of my guests to make them have a great time, and if they saw no issue with attending a prewedding event that cost them $5 with the potential for more free food, entertainment, and prizes and fun, I dont think it is tacky. You all make it sound like the bride and groom owe the guests something. In the old days everyone had a hand in throwing the wedding. Now a couple of 20 year olds are.supposed to pay for a 20k wedding by themselves! I’m just barely making my 14kbudget and I will be grateful to receive gifts of money on the back end.

  • Shayna July 20, 2010, 11:39 pm

    @TheBardess Rude and tacky is subjective, obviously. If one considers something rude and tacky, why participate in it? Cultural considerations also have to be taken into account.

  • Monica July 21, 2010, 11:30 am

    Rude and tacky is subjective, yes (especially to the rude and tacky people!), but sometimes you have no choice but to participate in events you find disgusting. While I have never heard of a wedding fundraiser here in the south-middle-lower-midwest USA, I have had bosses and close family friends that have had weddings or other social events that I felt were out of this world tacky that I HAD to attend or would otherwise severe important ties forever. People lose their heads in wedding excitement sometimes and just don’t realize what their close friends or family is doing is actually quite tasteless.

  • KimiErin July 21, 2010, 5:57 pm

    I live in Western Canada and I have never heard of fundraising for someone’s wedding. It is not standard practice at all. So maybe a group of people in Ontario may have done it but I don’t think it’s okay nor is it socially acceptable either.

  • LolaCat July 22, 2010, 3:24 pm

    Sadly KimiErin my post (#14) was from Western Canada.

    But this is the first Fundraiser that I’ve ever heard of.

    I hope it’s not catching, so, SO tacky.

  • jen July 23, 2010, 9:41 am

    I lived in Ontario for a year, and where I was they call them “Jack and Jills.” Anyways, I think it might be unique to that part of Canada, because I’m from eastern Canada and I’ve never come across anything like that.

  • Terri July 23, 2010, 12:34 pm

    Buck and does or stag and does are common in Ontario. They were originally held by the bridal party for the couple. Traditionally, buck and does were held in rural communties (especially in SW Ontario) for couples who were just starting out in life, still living at home with parents- not living together, and literally would be setting up house after marriage. Recently, having buck and does has become a trend among people living in the city, and has simply become a blatent money grab. Friends of ours recently got engaged and booked the venue for their own buck and doe!! Another friend mentioned her cousin used the proceeds to renovate her kitchen!!! This was not the original intent of buck and does. In rural communities they were organized as a “gift” to the couple from the bridal party, and were not considered money grabs as traditionally rural communities are more helpful and more reliant on each other than in urban communities. And the money was not used to fund a 50K wedding, but more likely a ceremony at the church, followed by a modest reception at the local hall or on your family farm.

  • 'Toberific July 23, 2010, 4:38 pm

    I’m from Manitoba and yes, we have socials, and yes, there is an entry fee – usually $10. Drinks are cheap and family provides a free “late lunch.” There is usually a “silent auction” which is actually just a raffle prize draw (you buy a ticket, stick it in the bag, and they draw the winner). Oh, and the prizes are donated by family, friends, and local businesses…yes, there is begging involved.

    I’ve always hated them, but I’ve been to a few. If you’re in the wedding party or closely related to the couple, you’re pretty much obligated to go (assuming you care about whether your friends and family will ever let you live it down).

    All traditional etiquette concerns aside, in the smaller towns it makes more sense – people living in a town that doesn’t have a bar or any other events on a Saturday night get a party to go to. However, in a larger town/city, it’s a little stupid. The worst part is, if you get married in Manitoba and dare to say that you’re not going to have a social, people look at you like you’ve grown a second head and will spend a huge amount of time pushing you to have one. Heck, the people who would normally buy tickets to your social (most of whom you wouldn’t invite to your wedding) get insulted if you opt not to have one, as though it’s your way of saying you don’t want to hang out with them…which you don’t.

    The only defendable thing I can say about them is that technically they aren’t thrown by the bride and the groom – they are thrown by the wedding party. You would never expect to buy tickets directly from the couple.

  • Penguintummy July 24, 2010, 2:42 am

    Wow! I live in Australia, and have never heard of a Stag and Does party before. I can’t really see this catching on here, it would be considered very rude and money grabbing. Generally people just have their Buck’s party, Hen’s party and then the wedding. No showers or anything else! If you can’t afford to pay for the wedding, perhaps you should consider waiting until you have saved some money? Or else, just get married in the registry office. I can see how this might be an old tradition from a small rural community, but it just sounds cheap.

  • jen July 25, 2010, 6:50 pm

    They are pretty big. A friend of mine went to one where the couple made about 10K. They do a 50/50, but my friend told me that if you won it was kind of understood that you would “donate” the 50/50 to the couple. It’s all just a little bit much. The worst part is that this money probably isn’t even going to the young couple so that they can start their new lives together. It’s going towards their overpriced weddings.

  • Jillybean July 26, 2010, 12:20 pm

    Wow, Jen! Seriously? If you win the 50/50 raffle you are expected to hand over your share to the couple? That’s … wow – I can’t even come up with a word for it.

  • jen July 28, 2010, 1:12 pm

    I know! I should specify that it wasn’t said outright, but it was quietly expected of people, and apparently everyone always did it. That’s not a 50/50 – it’s just a donation.

  • Sharky July 30, 2010, 3:50 am

    that;s one of the TACKIEST things I’ve ever heard of!

  • Michelle August 5, 2010, 4:11 pm

    I’m from a rural area where Jack & Jills/Stag and Does are common. They are fundraising events, but they are also parties and for a small community, they’re a fun social experience.

    Generally this is how they work:
    * There is an admission–$10 a person/$15 a couple is standard around here
    * The admission gets you a chance to win a door prize (for ours the door prize was a bottle of wine, some wine glasses and gourmet chocolate), plus food (usually finger food and cake) and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as getting to attend a party complete with DJ or band.
    * Drinks are sold for cheap, usually about $3 each for beer and $4 for hard liquor (still much cheaper than a bar).
    * There are games, raffles, 50/50 contests and the like. These are optional, but usually inexpensive (most games cost $2) and fun, plus there are lots of prizes (we had a hockey jersey, a BBQ set, a poker set, and several other prizes).
    * Anyone who wants to buy a ticket is welcome. Jack and Jills are usually advertised locally and anyone who wants to go can, even if they don’t know the bride and groom. Ours was held in my hometown as they are not the norm when my DH grew up and we had about 70 guests other than the wedding party, about half of whom were not invited to the wedding. These were friends of my parents or people I knew casually who wanted to celebrate my upcoming wedding and pass on their good cheer. I, myself, have been to countless Jack and Jills where I have not been invited to the wedding, but still wanted to celebrate the happy couple and have a good time myself.

    It’s very much a cultural thing, though, and I can understand why people from areas where it is not the norm might find the idea offensive. After all, it is a fundraiser, but it is also a social event and where I’m from most people look at it as a relatively inexpensive night out.

  • Michelle August 5, 2010, 4:17 pm

    Ammeding my previous post–I’m from Southern Ontario (a very rural community). Also, these parties are always thrown by the wedding party, not the bride and groom, and close enough to the wedding that most people know they aren’t invited. As Chelsey said, no one here considers it tacky, it’s just tradition and yes, there’s a “what comes around, goes around” attitude as well.

  • Jen September 11, 2010, 12:32 pm

    Tickets being sold, party solicited in the local paper, strangers to the bride showing up, money-making games… This story and subsequent thread has helped make sense of the stagette party I had been invited to a couple years back! And yes, this was in Ontario and I had to travel an hour out of the big city to our small-town destination (someone’s home).

  • Anon November 3, 2010, 1:54 pm

    I’m from Ontario as well and this is just commonplace. Basically all it is, is an adult party where people go to get completely smashed and dance around, with all the proceeds going to the wedding. Only people who generally know the people getting married would go to these, as it’s not only a way to help out the bride and groom and catch up with people you may not have seen in a while, but you can get drunk to boot.

    Also, my family call it a “Buck and Doe”, not Stag, but that’s just semantics.

  • beta January 17, 2011, 12:55 pm

    I am also from an area this is common and it’s actually quite common to invite people to the jack and jill/stag and doe/buck and doe who many not be invited to the wedding for a lot of reasons (space etc.) and it’s a way that those people can share in the union of the happy couple. Think of it as an open party to anyone who wishes to help a couple start their lives together and wish them well.

    While you are not expected to buy raffle tickets or partake in any auction, there are usually great prizes donated or purchased for the event as a ‘thank you’ for participating. Even if you buy a ticket and a few drinks it helps out the couple and you get a night out. I’m not sure how this is improper.

  • Kelly Pagillo March 22, 2016, 11:56 am

    I’m torn between the comments here verse the ideas. It is not traditional to fundraise for a wedding, however, if you could take a moment and be open and consider a different perspective that may help others rather than judge. Hey, I am an aged Barbie, been divorced, raised children and see things based on wisdom and experience. I think if the young bride to be is prudent with the item and the cost, talented, resourceful, and has a good safe product, lawful, and I know her (or the couple), I would definitely be apt to support it based on the way it is presented. It is called free enterprise and talent. Oh, and I would not expect these young brides to invite me to their wedding because of an exchange. I hope everyone can “wish them well”, and “pay it forward”, without wanting to be at their wedding that is meant for family and close friends. It is a choice to contribute or not. I wish them well for all sake.