This year has not been a bouquet of roses for the wedding industry, but one start-up with great hopes for future engagements is doing things a little differently. For our final company spotlight of 2020, we thought we’d look at our newest member – The Wedding Wizard.
Founded by Kayleigh and Mike Breen, the Wedding Wizard is a service that connects couples with wedding-services providers to plan the perfect nuptials. Inspired by the experience of planning their own wedding, Kayleigh and Mike became convinced there was a better approach. They had enjoyed successful careers in Dubai — Kayleigh in human resources and Mike in accounting — before deciding to come home to Ireland and start their own business.
“We always wanted to do something for ourselves,” Kayleigh explains. “We had already achieved a lot of goals, so leaving Dubai seemed like the right time to take the plunge into entrepreneurship.”
They were pleasantly surprised by the range and level of supports available to them starting out. They participated in the LEO New Frontiers programme and then won Best Business Idea 2019 in the Kerry stage of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Not content to stop there, they applied for Competitive Start Funding from Enterprise Ireland and were successful — the week before Kayleigh gave birth to the couple’s second baby!
Like every good idea, the concept for The Wedding Wizard arose from a desire to do something differently — and better. Kayleigh and Mike were organised in the way they planned their own wedding (Mike is an accountant, after all!), but they still knew the process could be improved. They were aware from the experiences of friends and family that arranging a wedding can be intimidating, so they set about exploring why, and whether they could do something about it.
They discovered that the reason why wedding planning can be so stressful is that the industry is dominated by small and medium enterprises that are all managing their businesses in different ways. Advertising in different places, using different payment methods, and other inconsistent approaches make the whole process very frustrating for couples.
Couples launch into their wedding preparations expecting to get everything sorted out quickly and smoothly, so it is disheartening to find out just how confusing it can be. With all the tools that exist, Kayleigh and Mike knew they could use technology to link all the appropriate wedding services together and bring wedding planning into the modern tech age.
Tech & Weddings: A Marriage Made in Heaven
The Wedding Wizard is a platform and suite of online tools that make it easy to design the perfect wedding. Couples connect with wedding-service providers and enjoy streamlined communications, visibility, and control to ensure that their big day is a huge success.
Couples get access to a full marketplace of suppliers, which they can then shortlist, hire, and pay all in one place. This is a unique service. Other platforms do not show the full range of suppliers because not all businesses can afford to advertise, whereas The Wedding Wizard uses a commission model to make the service more attainable for suppliers. Another unique feature of the platform is that it offers a full project management service that covers just about everything:
- Document sharing
- Online invites
- Guest manager
- Budget manager
- Seating plan
Neither Kayleigh nor Mike has a technical background, but they never considered this a barrier to launching an online platform. They have relied on the expertise of advisors and mentors to guide them in their strategy, working with an outsourced agency based in Galway. They are also building their own internal tech team in Kerry.
COVID was obviously a huge challenge for the wedding Industry and made 2020 a tough year for couples planning weddings and suppliers who were out of work. “We have become an advisor for couples, guiding them through the ever-changing regulations and have also pivoted our business to help suppliers showcase their services virtually to couples,” explains Kayleigh. “We are also partnering with Radio Kerry to deliver The Kerry Wedding Show in a virtual format Jan 2021.”
Looking to the Future
It’s looking like 2021 will be a big year for The Wedding Wizard. “We have ambitious plans for the business and would love to be in a position to make some key hires next year. We will continue to grow our internal team as we grow the business in 2021.”
Apart from expanding the business, The Wedding Wizard founders would also like to continue to work on building relationships between couples and suppliers as the outlook for weddings remains uncertain. In the longer term, that will involve transforming the wedding-planning process and using technology to remove the word “stress” from the equation.
The Breens are excited about The Wedding Wizard’s prospects. “We will continue to develop and roll out new, innovative features to help our couples and suppliers — and we have a long product roadmap to help with that!” The Wedding Wizard also has international ambitions, with plans to move into other markets, including the UK and further afield.
We wish them all the best for a long and happy future!