The first thing you need to know about Wed-Tech is that it’s totally different from Wedtech – a scandal in the late ’80s involving baby carriages and military contracts. The non-scandal topic is a massive emerging space that’s growing by the day and tugging at my cash-loving heartstrings to get married. One of the most interesting new entrants is Wedding Republic. (Sounds communist, right? It’s Canadian). Wedding Republic is a cash registry for couples planning their weddings.
CEO and co-founder, Hana Abaza, tells me from Ottawa that she and her co-founder Jason Kinkaid came up with the idea while at a Super Bowl party. Kinkaid’s sister had recently gotten married and she wanted camping gear. “His sister had just recently gotten married and was facing the same issues that a lot of our friends had. They just didn’t want or need the items available on a traditional registry,” says Hana. The problem was, there was no way to collaborate with other guests to make hefty purchases, and no way to order the gear online from shops that aren’t set up to accept bridal registries, or even have the gear delivered.
Abaza and Kinkaid decided to do something about it. So they built Wedding Republic. Not only does it not make you sound rude asking wedding guests for cash, says Hana, but it also “allows couples to get what they want, and the guests to give what they want.”
It’s quite a cool concept. Each user’s registry shows up as cards on a page – yes, it’s Pinterest-y, but leagues ahead of that. Each card represents something that the couple are looking to spend the cash registry on, and overlayed on each image is a puzzle piece. When guests put in their dollars, they essentially buy a puzzle piece to the end gift.
“Wedding planning is archaic,” says Abaza, usually it requires an Excel sheet just to figure out what’s going on, and what to give as a present. Wedding Republic pulls in 4.5% on the guests contributions, holds the funds in trust, and then transfers the final amount to the couple in the form of a money order, by way of Paypal, or a bank transfer.
They now have over $6.5 million in gifts registered, and are aiming to amp up marketing. As well, they’re hoping to offer up some more incentives for the ball-and-chained-to-be in the form of incentives and discounts on items they’re looking to snag from their guests.
As lucrative as the market may be, it’s not easy. “You’re not just dealing with a user, but an important dynamic around an event,” says Hana, and you have to be ready to satisfy the bridge, mother, groom, and guests (I’m guessing in that order, too). “People get crazy around weddings, right?”