Do you love technology and having a digital presence, but don't want to fork over $3,000 for a social media wedding concierge? You're in luck; starting today, a new online platform will allow currently-engaged couples to host their weddings completely online. That's right: online, virtual weddings.
“From increasing our mobile presence to launching SocialWeddingSpeek, we always look to our consumers' needs and meet them where they are,” said WeddingWire CEO Timothy Chi, in a statement. “Data shows an increase in long-distance couples in recent years, so we wanted to take that opportunity to better serve that segment of our market.”
Called SocialWeddingSpeek, the platform was developed by three leading DC startups (WeddingWire, Speek and SocialRadar) and combines the features for which each is renowned into one online tool for couples seeking to tie the knot. Utilizing Speek's visual conference-calling technology, couples no longer need to be in the same room as each other or as their guests in order to fulfill the rite of marriage – they simply need their computers or smartphones.
“As a company that helps organizations collaborate productively in remote work environments, it is only natural that we transition to extend this ability to other use cases. By partnering with the wedding and social industry leaders, we are able to combine our expertise to completely revolutionize a multi-billion dollar industry,” said John Bracken, CEO of Speek.
To use SocialWeddingSpeek, simply create your personalized virtual wedding conference line (e.g. socialwedding.speek.com/RonaldAndSandwich) to begin the virtual wedding process. Through WeddingWire's comprehensive database, couples can hire wedding professionals to help simulate the real-world wedding experience – from florists to caterers. Whether solely for brides or grooms, or including invited guests, WeddingWire hopes to offer services to allow any and all participants to go through the real-world wedding experience, independent of a central physical location. And, with the help of SocialRadar, which provides real-time information about the people around you, couples can also reach out to nearby strangers who are willing to serve as witnesses or even celebrants in the virtual wedding.
“We are honored to be a part of a venture that celebrates the sanctity of this institution, and while it's too soon to be able to say that [SocialRadar] has led to marriage, we can already say that our app is making the wedding process easier in ways that would not have been possible even a couple of years ago,” said SocialRadar CEO Michael Chasen.
According to a recent study released by top wedding website, TheKnot, the average cost of a wedding in 2013 was nearly $30,000, with the average wedding spend in Manhattan reaching almost $87,000. From the the wedding dress to the venue and reception, it's easy to see how such costs can add up. What's most interesting about the study is that most of that budget is aimed toward creating an experience for the guests. Now, while experience certainly doesn't have to suffer, SocialWeddingSpeek definitely has the potential to create new trends in the wedding industry – whether that's reducing overall costs for weddings or creating a wholly new set of experiences for virtual wedding guests.
SocialWeddingSpeek is currently developing partnerships with civil and religious institutions to ensure that all marriages that take place on the platform are legally recognized. District Capital Partners acted as sole financial advisor in the transaction of this joint initiative.