As DIY becomes a stronger focus in weddings, a new site wants to be the Fab.com for your wedding
Soon-to-be brides are bombarded with to-do items for their big day and often turn to the Internet to find everything from the invites and flowers to the dress and photographer.
A since there are so many moving components that go into wedding planning, many sites have popped up to be the central tool in assuring you get all the elements for the wedding in time to enjoy the experience.
And these sites are entering a big business, with 2.2 million weddings held each year in the U.S., there are a lot of amateurs, professionals and brides looking online to spend their dollars on their own unique experience.
Wedding Lovely is a platform where brides can put in their presences to receive personalized, cir rated ideas for their wedding and timely email newsletter reminders that walk them through manageable steps and goal dates.
The young startup has already partnered with more than 700 vendors that they have vetted -- from venues and caterers to dresses and event decor creators.
WeddingLovely is pitted up against one of the biggest market players called The Knot -- which is a publicly traded company (NYSE: XOXO).
I spoke with Osborn about the challenges facing a company that want to help brides create a unique wedding experience and just what has been missing in the online wedding space.
"There are definitely a lot of resources out there for brides, but it is almost like looking at a magazine where it is exciting to look at but hard to execute," Osborn told me. "What WeddingLovely is built to do is determine your taste and price range and send you easy to follow-up with ideas at in time for you to plan a successful wedding."
When a bride signs up for the free service, they answer a short survey detailing their price range, the date of their wedding and their preferences and as they go through the site, they are suggested items that fit their needs.
Personalized shopping experiences
Since curation sites have been growing in popularity -- from Beachmint to Fab.com -- WeddingLovely is capitalizing on cutting through the clutter to only show items that are quality.
This curation has also equaled big bucks in venture capital. In December, Fab.com, a daily deal e-commerce site, raised $40 million in venture financing, led by Andreessen Horowitz. Existing investors such as Menlo Ventures, First Round Capital, Baroda Ventures, SoftTech VC and Ashton Kutcher also participated. The new funding brings the company's total raise to date to $51 million. Its valuation at this round is reported to be $200 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. Fab.com has certainly now become one of the few, but increasing, Web start-ups that have big boots to fill.
And in June, the social commerce company BeachMint announced Friday that it has raised $23.5 million in new funding led by Scale Venture Partners and Lightbank, the fund created by Groupon co-founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell. Also participating are existing investors New Enterprise Associates, Trinity Ventures and Anthen Ventures.
The round is rumored to value BeachMint at $150 million.
WeddingLovely has been bootstrapped up to this point and got $5,000 from Designer fund to help get the ball rolling. At this point, the startup has also secured a $50,000 investment from 500 Startups and is continuing to rising funding for more growth.
But Osborn also explained some of the challenges entering such a vibrant market where having name recognition is key.
"It has been hard to get a new name out there since wedding bloggers are almost impossible to get ahold of because they are getting pitched so much," Osborn said. "But social media has been great since people that find us are able to share things and suggest our platform to others in that are planning their wedding."
The site runs a wedding vendor directory that we run and just months out of the gate, nearly 10% of those on the list are paying for upgraded status.
As of lately, the biggest player in the field, The Knot has been struggling as more personalized online experience have come into the market place.
WeddingLovely is also a company that finds that keeping its own blog is not only great for the customers that want additional insight, but also drives a fair amount of organic traffic to their site.
And since DIY is a big segment of online searches and brides that want a really signature look to their wedding, one of the biggest growing sections of WeddingLovely is fouled on making your own wedding favors and touches.
"Brides will go to multiple sources in order to get lots of information," Osborn said. "We just want to make WeddingLovely a great resource that heads to your inbox and keeps brides informed, on track and create the wedding of their dreams."
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WeddingLovely will walk couples through planning their wedding through their inbox, with advice, information, and vendor recommendations tailored for every couple's budget, location, style, and wedding date.
Timely emails will remind couple's of important dates (such as, at six months before your wedding date — time to find invitations!), provide articles and information about that task to help them understand, and then recommend tailored services, products, and wedding vendors.