The average wedding in United States costs approximately $28,000. But one Fresno, CA, couple got a wedding valued at $80,000 for free — all through bartering.
Jessica Norgard, 29, and Isaac Aaron Piche, 28, dated for seven years before deciding to get married. Not wanting to pay an exorbitant amount for their wedding, they decided to use their talents in filmmaking and web design to swap services for flowers, catering, and other necessary supplies.
Piche is the owner of Isaac Aaron Media, which he and Norgard established together a year prior to their wedding. Not wanting to lose money from their business so quickly after starting their own company, the couple came up with an unconventional solution to paying for their dream wedding.
Norgard, who acts as a producer and salesperson for the company, began to call vendors to find out if they would provide wedding goods and services in exchange for commercials, website designs, and other photo and video productions.
The results were better than the couple expected: out of the 250 vendors the couple contacted, 25 agreed to trades.
To “pay” for their wedding, the couple agreed to produce 29 commercials, three websites, three photo shoots and a web series for their new clientele. Norgard said they made sure to do “dollar-for-dollar trades” to guarantee the best possible exchange for all parties involved.
In return, the couple received a variety of luxurious goods and services: a five-star catered meal for the reception, facials before the wedding, golf carts, the venue, tuxedo rentals and a wedding dress for Norgard. Her bridal shop even threw in the bridesmaids’ and flower girl’s dresses at no additional cost because they liked the couple’s “cool” wedding concept.
The only drawback to the bartering system was the delay in two crucial services: the florist and the decorator. They didn’t sign on until one week before the big day.
But the day wound up “like a fairy tale” and “absolutely perfect,” according to the couple.
Their only cost was their $1,500 deposit for their venue, the Paradise Springs Resort in Yosemite. Overall, the whole process took just six months before their wedding date on June 5, 2014.
The newlyweds plan to produce a full-length documentary about their wedding within the next year, after Norgard gives birth to the couple’s first child.