Geetanjali Kapoor, a 28-year-old working professional from Mumbai, had a tough time finding and managing different wedding vendors for her big day in Delhi. She only had time during the weekends due to her busy work schedules, and it was difficult to handle all the vendors. After a few days of supreme juggling and struggle, she stumbled upon WeddingPlz, an online platform to find various wedding vendors in town. And as they say, she lived happily ever after.
Young couples have increasingly started organising their own weddings but demanding professional lives have left little time to plan, and this has led to the breeding of many niche online platforms catering to wedding-related services. Tech-savvy people have started using platforms such as MyShaadi, ShaadiMagic and SayShaadi to plan their weddings better.
“Wedding is the biggest event in a person’s life. You can never be sure if the vendor you have selected out of referral is best for the job. It was essentially to bridge this gap between vendors and families organising the wedding that we created WeddingPlz in 2014. It is a solution to convert countless vendor details and questions to a single-click process,” said Manas Wadhwa, Founder, WeddingPlz.
The idea came when Wadhwa was attending his cousin’s wedding in Ludhiana. The inconvenience of finding a wedding vendor in the vicinity of his hotel, prompted him to explore the idea of a wedding portal where one could find vendors with ease and convenience. “Seeing how easy it was to search for food joints on Zomato and how difficult it was to search for wedding products and services on the Internet, is what deepened my conviction to start working on this idea even further, thus giving rise to WeddingPlz,” he added.
“The platform has wedding planning tools to strategise and organise a wedding at every step — from keeping track of your wedding budget, guest list to managing all your to-do lists,” he said.
It helps users with discounts, offers, deals from various vendors and also updates on the latest wedding exhibitions, shows and trends. A blog provides tips, ideas and advice for the wedding. A user can also design a personal wedding website through the platform.
The business model of WeddingPlz consists of generating revenue from banner ads, on-page advertising and lead capturing. The company is bootstrapped but is looking to raise funds.
Unorganised wedding industry in India
Indian wedding industry stands at US$20 billion and is expected to grow at 25 per cent per annum. However, the wedding industry is highly unorganised with a lot of local players.
The local vendor search presents a huge opportunity. Players such as JustDial, Sulekha, Asklaila, Askme and ShaadiMagic are some of the biggest names of local search engines in India.
However, Wadhwa feels that WeddingPlz is unique because it integrates everything that’s required to plan and organise a wedding such as local vendor search, couple reviews, upcoming wedding related events and exhibitions, vendor deals and discounts for customers to wedding planning tools with options like creating your own wedding website and e-invites, into a single website.
Marketing the idea of online wedding planning is challenging
In case of a wedding, people are always more comfortable doing everything physically, from jotting down notes or haggling with 10 vendors to finalise one. The idea of online wedding planning is comparatively new in India and not many people are comfortable using it. Marketing this idea and making it more acceptable to people is a key challenge.
“There are many areas to take care of — all pertaining to different vendors. Hence, the key challenge was to bring all of this to a single point focus, where the to-be-weds and vendors can touch base with each other directly,” Wadhwa said.
“It was also challenging to offer the most authentic, reliable and exhaustive vendor information to users. Collecting, curating and updating the latest and most comprehensive data is a difficult task,” he added.
The company plans to launch in Mumbai by April and three other Indian cities namely Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Bangalore by the end of 2015.