Tell me if this sounds like you:
You’re very friend- and/or family-oriented.
You’re not picky about the finer details of your wedding, as long as you get to spend quality time making memories with your loved ones.
You have difficulty seeing why you should spend a large amount of money on your wedding; Alternatively, you aren’t in a situation where you can spend a lot of money on your wedding.
Between you and your loved ones, your community has a wide variety of skills, talents, and resources to offer.
If these all sound accurate, then a Crowdsourced Wedding may be exactly what you’re looking for.
A Crowdsourced Wedding is exactly what it sounds like: a wedding that has been created and made possible with the efforts of you and your loved ones, as opposed to the paid services of businesses or vendors.
Let me make an analogy: When you have a party or a family gathering, it’s likely that many of the attendees will contribute in some way. Some people may bring food, some may bring drinks, some may bring board games or other entertainment, some may supply the music, some may be given de facto cleaning duty or child-minding responsibilities… In many cases, everyone contributes something. That’s precisely the philosophy behind crowdsourcing your wedding. Instead of booking vendors or renting décor, you tap into the resources, abilities, and time of your loved ones.
The beauty of these weddings is that you can crowdsource anything: Self-catering? Check. Photography? Check. Furniture, decorations, music, entertainment, set-up & tear-down? Check times five. Chances are, your wedding won’t resemble the lavish styled shoots you see in current wedding magazines, where everything is colour-coordinated to a “T” and looks like it costs roughly the same as a down-payment on a modest family home. But if that wasn’t your goal in the first place… Who cares, right? If the focus for your wedding is less about formality and more about spending time with the people you love, then who needs an expensive, polished, perfectly-styled wedding?
Before I continue, I want to make one thing clear: This is NOT a way to avoid compensating loved ones for their labour. I know, I know… Wasn’t that exactly what I was just telling you to do??? Not quite. For a Crowdsourced Wedding to work, your crowd needs to consent. And as we know, consent doesn’t count when it’s given out of guilt, pressure, or obligation. It counts when there is a shared mindset or desire- when others are just as excited as you are, and freely wish to do something with you. You cannot demand a Crowdsourced Wedding- you must ask for one.
It’s essentially the same idea as having “Friendors”: They must offer or volunteer to provide you with their time, labour, or resources first, OR they must agree to provide them to you freely. You cannot just expect it of them.
If your community or loved ones value being compensated monetarily, or aren’t in a position to help you with your wedding, that’s okay. Both of these things are perfectly valid. But if your community shares your enthusiasm for a crowdsourced wedding, and are able and willing to be a part of your vision? AMAZING. This may just be the perfect wedding template for you!
Crowdsourced weddings have some very strong advantages. Whether you’re someone who doesn’t have a lot of money or someone who’s just not here for Capitalism, crowdsourced weddings minimize the amount of money you spend. They also have extremely high potential to be Earth-friendly: Less transportation-related pollution, less purchasing of new items or materials, ecouraging the three “R’s”, less waste in general, making use of what you & your community already have… it’s an Eco-Warrior’s dream. Optionally, you can also take extra steps to ensure that everything that isn’t reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable is purchased from small, local, ethical businesses.
If you don’t want to rent a venue, you can easily opt for a backyard or home wedding. If you’re feeling a little wild, a guerilla-style wedding might be just the thing for you (just make sure you look into any relevant laws or by-laws, first!).
Maybe this all sounds great to you in principle. You love the idea of “contributing”, but get a little stuck on “everyone”. Everyone is supposed to have a task? How many jobs can you possibly dole out for a wedding? And what about people who don’t have the ability to bring some stuff or cook some food? Do you just force something upon them, or stick them with a menial task so that they don’t feel excluded?
If there are people who don’t end up with a task, that’s okay! What’s the popular saying… “Your presence is present enough”? Not everyone has the same resources, time, or abilities. There’s no reason that everyone, regardless of these things, shouldn’t feel welcome at your wedding. Just remember to have an open, productive dialogue with everyone you want to attend. Make an effort to understand how everyone is feeling, and work towards a positive solution if there are any conflicts or feelings of exclusion.
As for how many tasks you’re able to dole out, let me assure you… there are plenty to go around. Your mileage will vary, depending on how you’re doing your wedding, but here’s a list of potential tasks you may need covered:
Providing or Serving Food or Drinks
Providing Drinkware, Cutlery, & other Tableware
Music Coverage (Performing or Djing)
General Tech Support
Making or Placing Décor
Providing or Alterning Clothing
Providing Jewellery or Accessories
Providing Seating or Furniture
Fire Minder/Fire Safety
Providing or Arranging Flowers
Animal or Pet Wrangler
Lantern or Lighting Duty
Makeup or Hair Stylist
Providing or Placing Textiles/Linens
General Cleaning Duty
Minding Memorials, Altars, or other Sacred Spaces
General Wedding Coordination
Providing Non-Music Entertainment
Officiating the Ceremony