WeddingLovely, a small, but growing 500 Startups-backed wedding planning service, has now launched a comprehensive wedding vendor directory that combines more than 2,300 wedding vendor listings under one roof, allowing couples to easily search, filter vendors by budget and location, plus read and write vendor reviews. The new vendor guide is the culmination of several years’ worth of efforts by the company, which had previously operated a series a specialized directories including WeddingInviteLove.com, WeddingVenueLove.com and WeddingPhotoLove.com, for example, ahead of the launch of its consumer-facing planning product last summer.
That product, for those unfamiliar, is designed to walk couples through the exhausting and stressful wedding-planning process with a series of how-to’s and guides that can help you figure out all the tasks you’ll need to accomplish to properly plan a wedding. The guide includes helpful advice and tips, like “flower mistakes to avoid,” and “questions to ask caterers,” for instance, and then points couples to vendors who can help them with the various services. The site also offers its own wedding websites for couples with all the standard features like event details, registry links, an “About Us” section, and more.
Before WeddingLovely, the company had built out several wedding vendor directories in specialized verticals. Says founder Tracy Osborn, these specialized directories had initially given the company a lot of credibility with the various wedding industry vendors, but as the company grew, referring people to eight different directories had become “a little ridiculous.”
In the WeddingLovely planning product, the company would point couples to these vendors, but couldn’t actually support a full directory listing for a number of vendor categories, which was also a problem.
“We couldn’t cover people who do wedding rentals,” says Osborn, as an example. “If someone signed up for our photographer directory who does photo booth rentals, it didn’t quite fit,” she explains. “The new general directory pulls in the listings from our specialized directories so our vendors don’t have to do anything additional, but it also supports those vendor groups that haven’t been able to work with WeddingLovely up until now.”
This also includes other groups like dressmakers, honeymoon providers, wedding website makers, officiants, jewelry designers, favor designers, and more.
Going forward, all sorts of vendors can submit an application for inclusion in the WeddingLovely directory. If approved, they can choose a free basic account, or a $25/month pro account, which offers branding opportunities, more exposure in search results, and other opportunities for promotion on the company blog. WeddingLovely also charges couples $9.95/month for the service, or a one-time fee of $79, if they prefer.
The company has been profitable since July, and remains a bootstrapped team of three women. Osborn, a sole founder and self-taught coder, says the service saw thousands of signups following its launch last year, and the conversion funnel is holding at about 20% trial conversions, and then 75% of those becoming paying customers. Like all wedding companies, WeddingLovely must continually acquire users. Currently, it has a several hundred paying couples on board.
The majority of vendors added to the service today come from word-of-mouth referrals, often by other vendors. The company also relies on SEO and is considering using paid ads in early 2014.
Remaining small makes sense for this Mountain View-based startup for now. “I really love bootstrapping,” says Osborn.
“The wedding industry can be kind of crazy. I love being able to focus on my gut and where I want to go, rather than worrying so much about profit and making sure the company is exploding. I can make some good decisions,” she explains. “And I can take as much time as I want.”
The new WeddingLovely Vendor Guide is live here.