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I do™: Couple solicits corporate sponsors to fund wedding

Aug. 26, 2014 at 10:01 AM ET

Best way to pay for an expensive dream wedding? Don’t.

That’s the feeling of Courtney McKenzie and Jamil Newell, anyway. Instead of footing the bill for their $30,000 nuptials and honeymoon in Thailand later this year, the Orlando, Florida, couple is inviting companies to front the cash in exchange for prominent product plugs.

On their website, SponsorOurWedding.com, the pair offers companies six tiers of sponsorship. A "title sponsor" (price upon request) can have its logo sewn into McKenzie's gown and Newell's tuxedo (among other perks), while brands opting for the $500 "bliss level" package get signage displays at the ceremony. All sponsors can look forward to promotion on the couple's social-media accounts, which boast a combined 30,000 followers.

The bride-to-be, a digital entrepreneur, told TODAY's Janet Shamlian on Tuesday that she's fine with the idea of branding her big day. 

"I thought, why not couple my two loves: my soon-to-be-husband Jamil and my love for marketing?" McKenzie said.

Three companies have signed on so far, she noted: a hotel (which has agreed to provide lodgings), as well as a clothing company and an unspecified ring sponsor. The couple is hoping to exchange vows in December, then set off on an 11-day honeymoon that will include elephant trekking and bamboo river rafting.

McKenzie and Newell say they will donate sponsorship proceeds beyond the cost of the trip to charity. 

While some critics have called the couple's funding approach tacky, the pair see it as a means to enjoy a wedding they will never forget. 

"The marriage is what we make it,'' Newell said. "It's our relationship together. It's the love we have for each other, and whether there's a logo on a dress does not change that." 

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