A team of Coeur d’Alene-area entrepreneurs led by Erik Hayton has launched Wedding Nook Inc., an online clearinghouse for planning weddings.
Wedding Nook’s website enables anyone planning a wedding to enter a budget, select desired services, and mark a date for the big event, and the site brings up a lineup of vendors that fit within the budget, Hayton says.
Vendor categories include, venues, officiants, cake makers, florists, music providers, photographers, hair and makeup consultants, and other wedding suppliers and planners.
“You can find all the vendors you need, book them, pay, and do everything online in about five to 10 minutes,” Hayton claims.
The site went live in early July.
Wedding Nook has nine employees and occupies the 7,500-square-foot second floor of the former Coeur d’Alene Mines building, at 505 Front, Hayton says. “It’s fun to be working for ourselves.”
Hayton says it took about two years to develop Wedding Nook, although he started thinking about virtual wedding planning in 2005, when he worked as a wedding deejay in Coeur d’Alene.
“I was thinking about ways that could make it easier,” he says. “Several years later, it’s an actual business.”
Wedding Nook mainly serves the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area, but already is looking to expand into the Seattle and Portland markets through a freshly inked deal with a Marriott Hotel affiliate, Hayton says.
The company might begin a hiring spree in coming months, Hayton says. “We plan to expand to 10 major cities by the end of the year,” he says.
Wedding Nook doesn’t charge its wedding clients, but derives its revenue from a 5 percent fee from vendors, Hayton says.
Vendors post their profiles with Wedding Nook at no charge, and only pay fees when Wedding Nook books their services, he says. Wedding Nook also absorbs credit card fees as the middle agent in the transactions between the wedding clients and the vendors.
Hayton says the concept was well-received at the Spokane Bridal Festival last January, when 108 brides tested the platform in a late development stage.
“We’ve been marketing it around here,” he says. “We’ve been pretty involved in the startup community.”
Since the site went live, 70 people have signed up to plan their weddings, and 140 vendors have submitted online profiles.
Hayton says the average wedding budget in the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area is $23,400.
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