Now that we’re halfway through July, odds are you’ve been to at least one wedding this year, and likely have more to go.
Weddings are a roughly $50 billion industry in the United States, and the average US wedding costs couples more than $31,000. In Chicago, the average wedding is more than $50,000, making the Windy City one of the priciest places in the US to get hitched, according to The Knot.
So it’s no surprise that startups are getting in on this massive industry. Here are 9 tech companies in Chicago that are trying to disrupt “I do.”
Brideside is a bridesmaid dress startup founded by Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management classmates Sonali Lamba and Nicole Staple. The company makes it easier for brides to find dresses for their bridesmaids, creating a more convenient experience than shopping at a boutique. Brideside lets users shop from over 350 styles online, and try items on at home or at one of their showrooms. The startup also offer style consultants to help wedding parties find the best dress. Brideside has raised $3.5 million since it launched.
PartySlate, a Techstars 2016 graduate, is a Pinterest-like platform that connects event planners with event professionals, such as caterers, venues and florists. Aimed at specialty events such as weddings, the site lets users search event ideas posted by event professionals, allowing brides to find inspiration for all aspects of their wedding, from the reception site to the table decorations. PartySlate has raised $2.7 million since it was founded in 2015.
WeddingMix allows you to crowdsource wedding video from your guests. Wedding attendees can take unlimited pictures and videos with their own smartphone via the WeddingMix app (or rent a GoPro or HD camera from Wedding Mix), and the company edits the footage into a video for the bride and groom. Starting at $199, WeddingMix can be a cheaper alternative to traditional wedding video, or used in addition to a professional videographer.
Based at 1871, Wedmony is a wedding planning portal and social network that connects brides and vendors. The startup, which was founded in 2016 and is “launching soon,” says it can help you plan every detail of your wedding, while keeping you on track and on budget.
BrideGuide is a wedding collaboration platform that helps brides coordinate with friends and family members through features like group forums, surveys, task assignments and checklists. BrideGuide, currently in the University of Chicago Polsky Accelerator program, says it will allow brides to collaborate with their team on events like the bridal shower, bachelorette party and wedding.
Bloomerent is an online service for searching and purchasing your wedding floral arrangements–with a twist: It encourages you to reuse your centerpieces. Brides can purchase their flower arrangements on Bloomerent, and then list them for sharing on the company’s website when they’re done and get 10% of their money back. Brides can also shop from used centerpieces, saving between 40-60% on normal pricing, the company says. Though not headquartered in Chicago, Bloomerent does offer its services in the Windy City.
For guys looking to up their fashion game and want more options than Men’s Warehouse, Chicago’s Trunk Club can have grooms and groomsmen walking down the aisle in style with custom suits and tuxes. Though no longer technically a startup (Trunk Club was acquired for $350 million by Nordstrom in 2014), the company is one of the major players in online personal styling services.
Another Chicago tech company past the “startup” faze, the Tie Bar is a site for ties and other men’s accessories. Perfect for wedding-day attire or a groomsman’s gift, the Tie bar offers affordable and unique ties, shirts, socks, pocket squares, cuff links and other accessories. The company, founded in 2004, counts celebrities Dwyane Wade and Jesse Tyler Ferguson among its endorsers.
Chicago-based DIY Uplighting lets you rent specialty lighting for your big day. The company offers seven pre-set colors, allows you to customize colors, and also lets your lights change to the beat of the music. Lights start at $17 each, and DIY Uplighting says you can save “hundreds” by setting up your own uplighting.
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