How Cinnamon Rolls Helped Finance My Wedding

Cinnamon rolls rising in the pan

There’s one recipe you’ll likely never see show up on this blog, even though it’s the most requested thing I bake for friends, family and clients. This is the story of how the world’s best cinnamon rolls helped finance my dream wedding.

You probably think I’m joking…or that I’m one of those crazy brides that held a bake sale to raise wedding funds. You’d be wrong on both accounts. This is actually a pretty cool story, and one I’d been waiting a little while to tell.  Then I received an email this afternoon from the team at Smarty Had a Party to tell me the post featuring Mr W’s and my wedding had been added to their site today and I saw they had linked back to A Flexible Life. Today seems like as good a day to tell the story as any.

Last summer I was deep in the midst of wedding planning. Mr W and I had gotten engaged in March, I’d moved to the area in June and our wedding date was September 17th. We were having a smallish wedding for around 100 people on our 22 acre farm. We’d originally set our wedding budget at 8K, but had let that number creep up to 10K after the reality check that it had been a decade since either of us had planned a wedding and prices have…well…let’s just go with skyrocketed.

Nonetheless, I’m pretty creative and my mom is one heck of an event planner. So we were pretty confident we could pull it off.

Enter Smarty Had a Party. I was online hunting for good quality, reusuable plastic drink ware. Our caterer had told us not to rent glasses, as they were more pain than they were worth for an outdoor wedding and assured us that good quality plastic wine glasses and cups would look every bit as good and would cost us less in the long run. During my searches, I ran across several mentions of Smarty Had a Party as a great online story for party supplies. A half an hour on the site confirmed the recommendations and I started working up an order.

Of course my budget was pretty tight, so I had to bypass several of the styles and designs I liked in favor of the ones we could afford without breaking the bank.

Then I did what I always do. I stopped by their Facebook page to see if they were offering any discount codes. That’s when my like for the company grew. I’m a social media strategist. I make my living teaching everyone from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies how to best engage with their audience via social media. I know good social media when I see it and these people had it.

They were forever playing games with and engaging with their audience. They were sharing stories, recipes, DIY tips and advice. Basically, they had taken the concept of “be a resource” and “be engaging” and shot them up with all levels of awesomeness.

One of the things I noticed was the frequent posts by brides asking for discount codes. Rather than simply issue one mass code every few weeks, they were always finding creative ways to hand them out, often personalizing them for a specific bride.

So I made a post.

“Getting ready to place an order and looking for a coupon code. Pretty please with cinnamon rolls on top?”

Not an hour later, I got a response.

“Cinnamon rolls eh? That’s tempting…”

So I figured I’d roll with it and replied telling them that these weren’t just any cinnamon rolls, they were the best cinnamon rolls on earth…and that I had dozens of witnesses who would testify as much.

They replied and suggested they’d give me a 50 cent credit at the store for every cinnamon rolls I sent them.

Well now we were getting somewhere.

But see, I’m an entrepreneur. I know how important it is to place the proper value on both your time and your products. And I know the amount of time and effort that goes into making these rolls. So I replied and explained that while I appreciated the sentiments of their offer, they were severely undervaluing my cinnamon rolls.  I told them the rolls were worth at least $3.50 or $4.00 each and besides, cinnamon rolls are heavy and shipping would cost me a ton and eat into the profits. For extra kick, I included a picture of the cinnamon rolls.

I figured that would be the end of it.

Then I got an email from them asking if I was serious and offering to put it up for a vote. For every vote they got on their Facebook page, up to 100 votes…they would “purchase” a cinnamon roll from me for $3.50 and would pay shipping.

I’m in social media. Getting 100 votes would be a snap. So I said sure!

Not long after, they posted to their Facebook page.

like my cinnamon rolls for credit!

Here’s the funny part…when that post went up, I started gathering up email addresses so I could ask everyone for some help to get that number up. But 15 minutes after it went live, it already had over 100 votes.

Ahh, the power of social media.

So the next Monday, I spent half a day making a quadruple batch of cinnamon rolls. Th/wp-admin/post-new.phpen I packaged them up, weighed the boxes and sent an email to my contact at Smarty Had a Party. They replied with prepaid shipping labels and I headed to the UPS store to drop them off.

A few days later, they posted pictures to their blog of their cinnamon roll bash. Not long after that, my store credit showed up in my account.

The truly awesome thing about this is that I’d originally planned to spend just $68 at the store. With a $350 credit, I was suddenly free to go hog wild with upgrades. Instead of ordering some plain plastic cups and mid grade plastic wine glasses, I ended up with some absolutely gorgeous products. I was able to order beautiful single piece 8oz wine glasses, some awesome square coffee cups to match our square china and even square 120z, 9oz and shot glasses. Even after all those upgrades, I still had money left, so I ordered a ton of cocktail napkins,  silver ball base table number stands and picked out several different mini dishes to add to my own personal party stash.

That obviously freed up money elsewhere, which allowed me space to upgrade some other areas of the wedding.

And the products were absolutely beautiful.

Check out those wine glasses! 100% classy without any worry of breaking one or having to rinse and return rentals.

classy plastic wine glasses

And the square “on the rocks” glasses were a hit. They looked fantastic along side the square white china plates we’d rented.

We also got a ton of use out of the silver base table number holders, using them both for table numbers and for signs on the food tables.

silver base table number holders

All in all, it was another great example of just how far a little creativity can go when it comes to planning your wedding. You can pull it off for less money, but it’s certainly going to take more work. For me, an afternoon in the kitchen baking cinnamon rolls was absolutely worth it. Not only did I end up with beautiful party supplies, it also makes for a very entertaining story!

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