Menagerie Joins Matter VC

Today’s couples are planning their own weddings. But in a world without the wedding planner and the success of their wedding contingent upon hiring the right vendors, they are spending more than 150 hours searching and emailing vendors for quotes, organizing their research in spreadsheets, and managing their wedding costs and emotions.

Content platforms, such as Pinterest, may have brought wedding inspiration to the masses but have failed to assist couples with execution — photos often redirect users to blogs and e-commerce sites that have reposted the vendors’ works for content on their own sites. Couples are victims to their wedding vision without a way to easily find the vendors they need and understand the cost of their wedding aspirations.

Current wedding tools, such as spreadsheets, complicate rather than simplify the planning process. The Knot and Weddingwire provide checklists as a primary tool for managing wedding details and tracking progress; however, checklists fall short of functionality. These tools lack the beautiful, stress-free wedding experience that they ultimately intend to deliver.

Today’s engaged couple is online. They want to be actionable and efficient with wedding planning, not just inspirational. These are the modern challenges of wedding planning.

In a perfect world, we’d be able to resolve these problems and plan our weddings seamlessly online. Well, my co-founder, Harlan, and I believe we create the world we want to live in, and so we started Menagerie.

Menagerie makes it easy for modern couples to collaborate, organize and confidently choose the right wedding professionals, all in one place.

Menagerie Co-founders: Harlan Mikove (left) and Tiffany Stone (right)

Harlan and I are veterans of the startup community, and specifically startups that combined platform-enabled solutions with new industry business models to democratize desired products and services traditionally unaccessible and expensive to individuals. We are strong believers that many traditional industries have yet to evolve to deliver more convenience, resolve sustained pain points, and empower their workforces. Our own experiences with weddings and startups made us believe the wedding industry was finally due for this change.

From working with David’s Bridal in 2012, I knew that many of the existing wedding players were once again reaching an inflection point. Their ad-reliant business models hinder their capability and pace of delivering solutions to address the above-mentioned challenges of wedding planning; because while they search for a disruptive play, they are still being held to the existing metrics of their business. The absence of such solutions was evident in the behaviors of my engaged friends and also for Harlan when he was planning his wedding not too long ago. Additionally, from Harlan’s experiences with Work Market, Lot18 and co-founding Reonomy, it was clear to him that this was another opportunity to combine technology, data and talent to deliver a desired experience and better solution for individuals.

Our team meeting Bridezillas at the NY Bridal Expo

However, it wasn’t until we began meeting brides, grooms and vendors at wedding expos that it occurred to us that there has never been a better time than now to build Menagerie.

Most couples we met were navigating the wedding planning on their own, which reflected the recent growing popularity of wedding coordinators and partial-service or month-of wedding planners in the past five years. Couples also expressed frustration with the overwhelming amount of online content that did not ease the learning curve or decision-making process. While talking with vendors, they spewed their frustration with the high costs of visibility with more custom service vendors entering the market (i.e. $500/month to list on The Knot with no guaranteed bookings). Vendors also confessed to their high spending on branding, development and business tools.

We found ourselves at the intersection of these major business, technology and wedding trends. We discovered the vision we shared was no longer a luxury but a necessity. So we got to work.

An engaged couple interacting with Menagerie during NY Bridal Fashion Week!

Today, Menagerie is helping couples in New York by matching them with vendors that fit their vision, budget and preferences. At the same time, we have also helped many wedding professionals remove the high costs and barriers to gaining customers.

While we’re excited about what we’ve built today, we’re even more excited about tomorrow and those that will be joining us along the way! This summer, we are joining Matter to help us accelerate our future and achieve our wedding vision.

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