GoFundMe is a fundraising (crowdfunding) platform that allows users to create campaigns and accept contributions from anyone ranging from close friends and family to perfect strangers. Since GoFundMe’s inception, users have raised over $5 billion for their projects or financial goals. In some cases, couples are heading to the platform to help fund their wedding. At times, the campaigns are for couples who are trying to get married fast due to an expected event. For example, a terminal cancer diagnosis. However, others are using their campaigns to fund lavish affairs they couldn’t otherwise afford.
Using GoFundMe to Pay for a Wedding
Users can create GoFundMe campaigns for essentially any purpose. As long as it is legal and the user isn’t being deceptive about the nature of the fundraising effort. Wedding-related campaigns are allowed, and it doesn’t cost anything to set one up.
Creating a campaign is a fairly straightforward process. You set a goal by entering a dollar amount, describe yourself and why you are raising money, and add an image or video. There are no mandatory deadlines for campaigns, so yours can remain active as long as you like. Then, you can launch your campaign and share the link with others, including by email, text, or over social media.
If people choose to donate, you’ll get a notification. You can also thank your donors, write update posts, add more images, and take other steps to keep people current on your progress.
Once a donation comes in, you can request a withdrawal at any time, even if your goal isn’t fully met. When you withdraw, it also doesn’t affect the progress meter. Only your available balance for cashing out will go down.
GoFundMe makes money with transaction fees. The standard fee rate is 2.9 percent plus $0.30 for each donation, and that money is removed from the donation in real-time.
For example, if a person donated $100 toward your wedding, there would be a $3.20 fee (2.9 percent of $100 plus the additional $0.30). You would receive $96.80 of that donation ($100 – $3.20).
Dealing with Income Taxes
In most cases, you won’t owe income taxes on the amount you raise either. Usually, for funding a wedding, the donations qualify as personal gifts, making them tax exempt. However, this isn’t always the case, so it is wise to check with a tax professional to make sure. For example, if a single person donates more than $15,000, it exceeds the annual exclusion limit as set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), so there may be tax implications.
Is It a Good Idea to Use GoFundMe to Pay for a Wedding?
While GoFundMe allows campaigns for weddings, not all people feel that they are appropriate in all instances. Barring unexpected emergencies that make a wedding more urgent, using the platform to fund a high-cost wedding simply because you want one isn’t always well received.
Some people would argue that asking for funds just because you can’t afford your dream wedding is tacky. While some of your family and friends might be willing to help out, soliciting everyone to pitch in won’t always go over well, causing harm to the relationships.
Additionally, some couples who tried to get complete strangers to contribute were taken to task on social media. While this might not have hurt their core relationships, it likely came with a large dose of embarrassment.
No one is entitled to a high-cost wedding, so aiming for something you can’t pay for is usually viewed as being in bad taste. In most cases, if you can’t afford the wedding you initially envision, it is better to either scale back to cut the cost or delay your ceremony, giving you more time to save. That way, you don’t have to put your relationships at risk just to find a way to pay for the event.
Would you ever consider using GoFundMe to pay for a wedding? What about another event or situation? Share your thoughts in the comments below.