Early on in our planning process, we decided to throw a fundraiser of some sort to help us with wedding expenses. I discovered that this type of thing has been going on for centuries! In Europe, they were called a Bid-Ale, and people would gather to drink ale at the house of the beneficiary. Sounds like a modern-day keg party!
Today, these types of fundraiser parties, where the goal is to help a couple with their wedding expenses, are called ‘Stag and Does’ or ‘Jack and Jill’ parties. To confuse matters, these terms are used in other geographic areas to mean a co-ed bachelor/ette party. This is not what I’m talking about.
At a Stag & Doe fundraiser, all the couple’s family, friends, wedding party, and neighbours come out to drink, dance, play games, buy raffle tickets, and basically throw money at the newly engaged couple. Most of the time, families and friends love being generous, and these events typically raise anywhere from $6K – $12K! Apparently these are quite uncommon in the USA (I’m not sure why), whereas they are the norm in many parts of Canada, particularly Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.
I however, live in British Columbia. No one here knows what a Stag & Doe is. And we don’t have much family close by. So my partner and I knew we had to just throw a good party.
Since we played on a queer women’s softball team last year, we have a lot of connections in the East Vancouver lesbian community. We decided to throw a queer dance, but open to anyone who wanted to come. We booked the hall and the DJ back in November, and all the members of our wedding party who live here in the city were totally on board with volunteering their time to help. A month ago, I designed the poster with my intermediate Photoshop skills, we got tickets printed, and we promoted heavily through our social networks.
For anyone who has ever thrown an event, you know the stress involved. Not only are there one hundred things you need to organize, there’s the added nerves of “will anyone come? if we don’t make any money will we at least break even?”
Fortunately, I had nothing to worry about. I was very happy with the turnout, and the vibe in the crowd was great! The DJ was a lot of fun, and had people dancing for hours. Like I said, since it was a queer event, primarily for lesbians, there were a lot of beautiful women at the party. And in my humble opinion, that always makes for a great party. 😉
At midnight my partner and I changed into our costumes to prepare for our Burlesque routine. Yes, we were fully invested in this fundraiser: graphic design, promotion, bar management, decoration, volunteer coordination, gear transportation and clean-up, and entertainment. Lol!
Everyone was screaming at us as we danced out our choreographed story and piece by piece of clothing was taken off. By the time I was twirling my pasties and she was dancing around with electrical tape covering her nipples, all the stress leading up to the event was gone. This party was a big hit.
We’d had over $1000 worth of prizes donated for our raffle, which was a partial fundraiser for the BC Civil Liberties group too. Raffle tickets didn’t sell as well as we’d hoped, but we still managed to make slightly more than $300. The winners were happy to take home their prizes. We are donating half back to the BCCLA.
In the end, after our expenses were all paid, we profited a little more than $1000! This now puts us ahead of our wedding expenses, meaning we have wedding savings instead of wedding debt!
Will you have a Stag & Doe, or some other type of fundraiser event to help you with wedding costs? Or what other creative methods have you come up with to raise money to put towards the expenses?