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With the costs of weddings skyrocketing, some couples are taking their cues from the Donald Trump way of having weddings by looking to corporate sponsors. Some couples feel it’s the only way to have a dream wedding they couldn’t otherwise afford.

Couples can sign contracts with vendors to include the companies’ names on cards next to the items they provide, a listing of sponsors in the wedding program, a link on the bride and groom’s website, or even a mention during a speech at the reception.

Although Kathleen Murrah, weddings editor for The Knot magazine, says big companies aren’t interested in sponsoring small-time weddings, some couples, as evidenced in the news, are making it work.

Todd Weiss and Debbie Lay of Philadelphia received cake, wedding ring, tuxes, gifts, mints, wedding programs, decorations and a website for free in exchange for advertising the sponsors’ names. “I don't think it was a blatant in-your-face advertising,” Weiss said. “There were no huge banners, the DJ was not giving 30-second spots for the different vendors. It was very subtle.”

One bride said she emailed about 4,500 companies and received 20 positive replies.3 She said the key is convincing sponsors that it’s worth their time and money to invest in your wedding.

Another couple got nearly everything for free. Sponsors names were on the back of the wedding invitations, on reception tables and in other discreet locations at the wedding.

“It may work for celebrities but I think everyone else would regard it as somewhat tacky,” Carole Hamilton, a U.K. magazine's editor for You and Your Wedding magazine, says. “Most couples think that a wedding day should be a private affair not a corporate event, and would run a mile at the thought of having to thank sponsors during the speeches.”

Whatever your personal style, the trend is definitely rising. Here are some things to keep in mind if you try to gain some corporate sponsors for your wedding:

  • Choose an area that you most want to spend more than your budget allows.
  • Be prepared to make many phone calls.
  • Don’t beg sponsors, but aim to convince them why they should lend their services for free. How much service can they expect to get from your wedding? How many engaged couples will be attending?
  • Read your contracts carefully and make sure you’re not agreeing to project a company’s logo on the walls of the church or wear a sticker on your forehead.
  • Make sure you make arrangements to return any items (like a dress) that have been donated for the wedding according to the timelines indicated in the contract. That’s the last thing you want to think about on your honeymoon.

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