Discount 'I Do'
Retailers donate wedding items to publicity event of the
What started as a seemingly tacky publicity stunt ended up
being, well, a romantic and discreet publicity stunt, according
to those who attended Tom Anderson and Sabrina Root's sponsored
wedding this summer in Glenside, PA. The couple, who wanted a
fairy-tale wedding for a comic-book price, secured $30,000 in
donations from local businesses by promising to display each
contributor's name six times before and during the event.
Anderson and Root bought the engagement ring and wedding dress,
then asked 24 businesses to donate everything else flowers,
music, invitations, bridesmaid gifts, makeovers, hairstyling,
sushi, the cake and more. Sponsors had their names inserted into
invitations, printed on cards at the buffet and scrolls at the
dinner tables, included in newspaper ads, read during the toast
and distributed in post-event thank-you cards.
The August wedding attracted the attention of media locally
and nationally. CNN, Forbes, People, The National Enquirer and
metropolitan TV news programs all reported on the event. Everybody,
it seemed, expected the event to be distasteful.
"A reporter and photographer came in with [Anderson and
Root] when they came to pick out the bands," says Lee Pavorsky
of L.L. Pavorsky, a jeweler in Philadelphia who donated 18k engraved
bands for the wedding. "The reporter grilled me like it
was Watergate. She asked 'Were you going to let her pick anything
in the store? What if she wanted diamonds?' She was looking for
In fact, the couple were sweet, low-key and very modest in their
choice of wedding rings, Pavorsky says, and guests agreed the
wedding itself was lovely.
"It was a nice experience, and I was happy to be part
of it," says Pavorsky. His donation generated some publicity
for his store, mostly reaching current customers who recognized
his distinctive store logo in the newspaper photo or saw his
name in the thank-you ads.
The episode also created and opportunity to spend some time
with new customers and let them get to know his store, perhaps
enticing them them to return as customers in the future. "They
also had a lot of friends and family members who were interested
in our jewelry," he says.
by Stacey King
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