Couples plan weddings, ask guests to foot bill

With their wedding day quickly approaching, Vanessa Caldwell and Cole Parker are still hammering out key details: cupcakes or a tiered fantasy in frosting?

Calla lilies as the table centerpieces in the reception hall or the more playful candles and jelly beans?

But they know how they’ll pay for the big day. Or — more precisely — who will pay for it. Their guests.

The 75 invited are being asked to pony up cash to cover everything from the champagne toast to the candy favors to the silk fabric for the wedding dress.

So much for the rules of yesteryear. Used to be, guests gave fine china and silverware toward the couple’s new life together. Asking for cash was a big no-no.

Traditionalists say it still is. But for Parker, 36, and Caldwell, 28, asking guests to pitch in is practical and savvy.

“We don’t need pots and pans,” said Caldwell, who lives in Sandy Springs. “The idea is to allow our friends to be a part of the experience and contribute to our love.”

From cash bars to setting up “wishing wells” and money trees at the reception, some brides and grooms are turning to their guests to keep the dream alive for a picture-perfect wedding day.

In this slumping economy, almost 60 percent of brides-to-be said it’s acceptable to have a cash bar at a wedding reception to cut costs, according to a recent Brides.comsurvey of about 2,000 women.

Some of the budget-minded betrothed are linking to sites such as , all of which allow donations to be made with a mouse click.

When was first launched in 2007, about 20 percent of engaged couples included a cash donation option via 
PayPal as part of their registry. Since the recession started, about 80 percent of the 100,000 couples signed up have done so.

Caldwell and Parker, who pride themselves on being “untraditional,” created their own Web site — — that accepts donations to pay for the whole shebang. Visitors click on a photograph of a dollar bill to give money. So far, $700 has gone into the happy couple’s wedding kitty.

But not everyone is on board with brides and grooms banking on the guests to foot the bill for the wedding.

In the survey, almost 80 percent of respondents said it’s in bad form to request cash gifts to help pay for the wedding. Manners mavens agree.

“I don’t care if it’s a tough economy or not, it’s incredibly rude to ask your honored, treasured guests to pay for your party,” said Teresa Duggan, owner of The Etiquette School in Cumming. “It’s like saying, ‘I want you to come to my wedding but please pay for my Cinderella dreams.’ ”

Read the rest of the story at AJC

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