Privilege Blog

I Love Weddings Almost Most Of All

As you will surely remember, I love wedding blogs. They are full of pictures of flowers, smiling young women with beautiful shoulders, and tulle. What’s not to love? Wedding bloggers were the first blogs I ever read. Sitting at my desk, on yet another conference call where tinny voices slogged their way through project status, trying to decide whose fault it all was. Solution? Wedding blogs. If you’re a woman between 18 and 35, you may know it well already.

Unfortunately for fairy tales, for a corporate type glowing brides and tuxedoed grooms sometimes pale in comparison to the vivid patterns of industries. As I see it, the wedding blog business is in its early stages, but still shows some classic industry structures. As my experience is in software, that’s the parallel I draw. As follows. You have the integrated systems houses, in the Martha Stewart/Brides/The Knot triumvirate. I think of them as IBM/Sun/Hewlett Packard. In their cases the blog was not the original offering and their primary revenue stream may still come from the ‘hardware”, the website/print vehicles. In the “started-with-blog”, or “software only” segment, we have what I see as the market leaders with broad and broadening offerings,Weddingbee and Style Me Pretty, with several challengers including Southern Weddings, Elizabeth Anne Designs, etc. Weddingbee and SMP might be, let’s say, Oracle and Microsoft, with Southern Weddings and EAD as McAfee or Symantec challenging. I assume that we will see the usual disaggregation and re-aggregation common to industries in this stage, and eventually some combination of website/blog will become the ultimate industry leader. The 800-lb gorilla as we call it here in Silicon Valley. Not very romantic, but there you go. I am damaged by so many years in business and I make my apologies in advance.

As is common in other early stage industries, you also see the single product leaders, similar to the company building only image creation software, but the absolute best image creation software, so even though they come to market narrowly they are successful. In this category I would put Snippet & Ink, where Kathryn (thanks Meg, I am old Father William I am old, and forgetful) puts out the most beautiful collages (known as inspiration boards in industry jargon) centered around various wedding modes, again and again and again.

Next you have the independent contractors, the supply chain to the wedding blog industry. Wedding vendors and brides are in fact the supply chain to the wedding blog industry. Not to take away from the romance… What I have found is that the big vendors, wedding planners, photographers and florist being the primary generators of a large inventory of images, tend to show up often enough on the market leader blogs that I don’t have to read their blogs separately. So I read the vendors who’s particular approach I enjoy. This would include, in my case, Weddings Fresh, Bride Chic, In the Now, Lyndsey Hamilton Events, and Sasha Souza Events. Oh wait, the last one I read for her cocktails. Oops. And Saipua, because I wish Sarah would let me be her mother so she could say funny things to me all the time. Except I guess she’d be more apt to roll her eyes if the current data set is any reflection of future probability.

In this vendor segment, we see some classic industry patterns, i.e. smaller companies setting up alliances to broaden their offerings, rather than acquiring, merging, or simply accelerating product development. For example, Dani at Weddings Fresh has Amy Jo from Bride Chic doing a Gown Friday on her site. Perfect example of how a squadron of partners can operate in a world of big guns. (Can you BELIEVE I can use these terms with a straight face?)

Finally, the brides. With their own blogs. Ah. My favorites. They in fact deserve their own post. Because, after all, they are people, rather than mere players in an industry, strutting and fretting their hour upon a stage.

7 Responses

  1. Thanks for the mention and love your writing style–on a different level than most out here in the blogsphere. I want to add that for us vendors, the blog is Godsent–our new virtual store window we can dress up for the world. As glam as design looks though, once all the visual eye candy is consumed it is a business with all the same stress, broken appointments,late shipments etc.

  2. I saw your blog on mojito mavens blog about lily.

    And…I came to your blog.

    But, what is a WASP?

    I enjoy reading your blog so far!

  3. Holy Moly lady, we need to talk. I think about this stuff for a living (ah, the tinny voices of conference calls) and while I’ve thought a lot about it, you’ve put it into words better then I have (though I disagree with you on some of the particulars). In the end, much of it will involve the market savvy and motivation of the players. Wedding Bee, for example, has already sold to a Christian right owned online dating service, to some hubbub among the LGBT brides and their supporters.

    I suspect the brides (we brides) ourselves have our own stealth place in the market, though my brain is a bit empty for articulating that at this point in the day. Perhaps you’ll cover that in your next post…

    (and, correction, it’s Kathryn at Snippet and Ink)

  4. Meg, I would be honored to discuss anything whatsoever with you. A Practical Wedding is at the top of one of my lists, you’ll see tomorrow. And I welcome your corrections to my picture of the industry. Right now I’m like a consultant taking the broad brush strategy approach. I don’t have the domain expertise (yeah, I know, sorry again) that you do. Not even close.

  5. Bride Chic – Amy, that’s a really good point. Behind all of these lovely photos are people, brides, wedding services providers, media companies even have people in them:). I think what blogs do is provide a thinner wall between providers and customers than the old world of Yellow Page ads and so on. More personality shines through. On a good day.

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