You may already have heard about Jack & Michelle. They’re making a bit of a splash with their plans for their big fat sponsored wedding in Northamptonshire this December. With a long list of wedding suppliers already signed up, the couple have already pulled off an impressive feat – but how, and why, and – are they mad?!
Bride Michelle has over twelve years’ experience in PR, sponsorship and events and working for some of the biggest clients, sports stars and A-list celebrities. She also spent four years as a reporter on one of the UK’s biggest selling newspapers and says she’s confident that she I can drive traffic and great publicity to mybigfatsponsoredwedding.com and in turn gain massive exposure for her wedding sponsors.
“Before we started the site I discussed the idea with a few of my contacts at the nationals and local newspapers and thought it would make a great feature. I then got to work on approaching the different suppliers. We’re not talking about plastering company logos over my wedding dress but driving traffic towards the site and links to the suppliers website – it is a real feel-good story that I feel would get picked up on and bridal forums will love! With regards to the suppliers, they go onto the website I have said I will use my expertise to drive traffic to the site.”
How did Jack and Michelle convince wedding suppliers to work for free?
The most impressive achievement is sourcing everything for free: and while Michelle’s website navigation shows the key suppliers, the list of suppliers in the “wow factor” category is fantastic! From boudoir photography by the absolutely fabulous Alter Ego Portraits, to fireworks and a chocolate fountain – every wedding supplier is there.
The resourceful couple have also sourced every major supplier they’ll need: a venue, invitations and stationery, a wedding photographer and film maker, rings, flowers, wedding dress and two wedding cakes: a traditional cake and a cheese wedding cake. I mean – wow. So what could convince all these suppliers to donate their time and products for nothing?
Michelle says, “After seeing [sponsored weddings] in the USA I really thought that was a great idea but it wasn’t done properly. The sponsored weddings I witnessed in America just marketed to the guests at the actual wedding – using sponsor boards, naming the companies during the speeches and even printing the company names onto the brides dress!
“Apart from being tacky, it really has no benefit to the sponsors as it is such a narrow audience. I thought it would appeal to the UK market as long as it was marketed correctly and the publicity surrounding it was strong. Working in sponsorship and PR for the past twelve years I knew that I could use my expertise to make it a success, not only for myself but to give vendors the best platform for marketing their products; PR is absolutely my passion.
“It had to be online, a simple design with each vendor clearly listed which enabled other brides-to-be to simply search the site and click through to each of the sponsors. It’s like a wedding fair all in one place that brides-to-be can visit at any time! Not only that I am also holding an actual Wedding Fair for all the sponsors listed on November 25th at Plum Park Hotel.“
Why a sponsored wedding? It seems a lot of effort to go to!
I asked Michelle why a sponsored wedding: I understand that you didn’t have the budget for your dream wedding, but as a solution this seems… extreme!
“Well, we could have got married in Vegas earlier this year for $100 bucks so it wasn’t really a money thing, and you can get married here in the UK in a registry office for a nominal fee… I would marry Jack in my gardening gear and wellies, so it wasn’t about having a huge wedding either.
“I literally woke up one morning with the idea, told Jack and we both thought it was different and brilliant for everyone involved from a PR and marketing point of view and that is of course my background! But it has been like a full-time job together with organising the Winter Wonderland Wedding Fair for all the suppliers involved – just two weeks before my wedding! Its not for the faint hearted!”
Giving something back: Keech Hospice
I still think Michelle and Jack are taking on a massive amount of work, when a simple wedding would have been just as lovely… perhaps even lovelier than all the attention – but that’s my own preference and I admire what they’ve done.
I also admire the couple’s attitude – on top of everything they’ve doing for the suppliers who are helping them, they also wanted to “give something back” in return for their sponsored wedding.
Michelle says, “To give back we are also donating money to Keech Hospice; in every town or city most people will know someone who has had to go into a hospice and know how vital the care is. I came across their charity wedding favours and just thought it was a great idea and also a way of giving back.
By promoting them on the site I am hoping it encourages other brides to use the charity wedding favours instead of sugared almonds! Its a great cause and also one of your guests could win up to £1000! ”
That’s enough for me. Sugared almonds are the devil’s own invention… and donating to the Hospice is a lovely gesture. I hope they make plenty of money from Jack and Michelle’s big fat sponsored wedding!