A young couple from Orlando, Florida, have found the perfect way to organise their dream wedding without spending a penny. Courtney McKenzie and her fiancé Jamil Newell are opting for a corporate-sponsored ‘social’ wedding and honeymoon, which means their special moments will feature all sorts of product endorsements and ads.
Courtney, who works in social media and runs a marketing company, is the brains behind the idea. “I thought, why not couple my two loves: my soon to be husband Jamil and my love for marketing?” she said. Jamil isn’t complaining either – after all, who wouldn’t want an all-expense paid wedding and honeymoon?
The couple, who love traveling, will be getting married this winter at their dream wedding destination – Thailand. The wedding ceremony itself will take place on December 14, and they plan to spend the next 11 days traveling in South East Asia, doing exciting things like elephant trekking, scuba diving, and bamboo river rafting.
Once they decided on the plan, Courtney put together a press release and started sending it out to people. It caught on rather quickly, and soon their idea for a sponsored wedding went viral on sites Buzzfeed and Facebook, and the couple was featured on the Today Show. Believe it or not, reporters were actually fighting to get their interview.
They also set up a wedding website with a detailed itinerary of their travel plans, as well as packages for interested corporate sponsors. They include mentions of companies and products on several social media sites they’ll be using during their wedding and honeymoon, as well as more straightforward marketing techniques, like having company logos sewn on their wedding dress and tuxedo. As long as they are able to raise the $30,000 they need for their dream wedding, they don’t mind acting as living billboards.
“We have created several sponsorship categories that incorporate your amazing company in our one-of-a-kind social wedding,” Courtney and Jamil wrote on their website. “We will be hashtagging, tweeting and instagramming our way through Thailand to our over 30,000 combined social media followers and we want to include some of our favorite brands on our adventure.”
The top category is called the ‘title sponsor’ (price upon request), where a company can have its logo sewn on Courtney’s wedding gown and Jamil’s tuxedo. Brands with a smaller budget can opt for the $500 ‘bliss level’ package, which earns them signage display stands at the ceremony. All sponsors, irrespective of the category, will be promoted on the couple’s social media accounts.
So far, the campaign has had some success – Courtney and Jamil have been promised free wedding bands for the ceremony. Their wedding attire is being covered as well, and a hotel is willing to provide them free accommodation on their honeymoon.
“We have a few Fortune 500 companies who have reached out to us which is exactly what we wanted, as well as smaller companies like GlamHotlist, who are sponsoring my entire wedding and honeymoon wardrobe,” said Courtney. “A lot of companies have been contacting us and we’re just excited to go through them all.”
“We’ve had various media outlets wanting to follow us throughout this journey, film us when we’re in Thailand,” added Jamil.
The idea of a sponsored wedding might sound materialistic, but they aren’t letting money come in the way of their special moments. “The marriage is what we want to make it,” said Jamil. “It’s our relationship together. It’s the love we have for each other, and whether there’s a logo on a dress does not change that.”
The couple also plan to donate a part of their sponsorship money (beyond the cost of the trip) to charity.
Not everyone supports their decision to get married this way, but Courtney and Jamil appear to be okay with that. They said that their friends and family have been super supportive, which is great. They’re actually setting the trend for a new kind of wedding, and surprisingly, a lot of people might actually follow suit! Would you?