In case you hadn't heard, there's a new inspiration-sharing tool on the Web—one completed devoted to white dresses, cakes, and flowers. Think Pinterest, but focused on the niche market of weddings for the tech-savvy, wedding blog-obsessed bride. Since its inception last year, The Bridal Style has attracted more than 15,000 followers nationwide, and continues to grow. "Here at The Bridal Style, we all have a huge passion for this industry, and our main goal is to make every bride feel like her vision is possible. That's what I love about this site. It shares endless options," says Alexis Harsh, the site's creator (although you may know her as the owner of Watermark Stationery in Wayzata). Mpls.St.Paul Weddings spoke with Harsh about the site, as well as trends in the industry, and how technology is changing the way we think about and plan our weddings.
Mpls.St.Paul Weddings: What is The Bridal Style and how does it differ from Pinterest?
Alexis Harsh: It’s a search engine where brides can go in, see all the different trends and styles from the blogs they’re following, and use The Bridal Style as a wedding Pinterest board. It functions like Pinterest, but instead of one big wedding category, we have more than 30 categories related to weddings. If, for example, they want to look at cakes, they can go to the cake board. If they want to look at dresses, they go to the dress board. It also has location services. You can search based on your location and see where the styles and trends are. Let’s say you have a destination wedding. You can type in "Mexico," and it will actually pull up images from vendors and blogs and brides that are in your destination market.
MSP: Why do you believe there is a market for a Pinterest-esque site devoted completely to weddings?
AH: I’ve owned Watermark for 10 years, and I started to see more and more brides coming in with their collages, be it from their magazines or a collection of their Pinterest images. So many times when I was working with my brides, they would comment that they wished there was a search engine where it was all things brides. I wanted the site to be really specific so brides could search by category, making their search quick, efficient, and effective.
MSP: Obviously this site is beneficial to brides. Can wedding professionals and vendors use this to their advantage as well?
AH: It’s kind of like a two-way functioning tool. As a small business, we have to know what brides are falling in love with. That’s how we’re going to keep the clients. With so many businesses tending to be a little fearful of this new tech-savvy bride, I wanted to create something that was super easy that would be an added tool to their business. The site gives control to the vendor or the wedding professional to post their images and give credit the way they want their images to be represented.
MSP: You’ve worked with brides for more than 10 years. How have you seen wedding planning evolve?
AH: The industry has changed in that brides are now taking true control of every detail. It’s not just about the flowers and the paper and the table linens. It’s how everything is going to coordinate and flow together. When I’m sitting with a bride, I can’t just think about her invitation. I have to think about what her linens are going to look like, how can I coordinate a cute menu, table numbers, her programs, and wedding favors. It’s all encompassing now.
MSP: Are there too many ideas out there?
AH: Brides are coming in with inspiration, not just saying, “I want this,” because she sees an ad in a magazine. She’s coming in with an entire concept of her day and saying, “How can we pull this together on paper?” It’s more of a bride coming in with inspiration, wanting to create something completely custom.
MSP: Do you have a favorite idea that you’ve seen on The Bridal Style?
AH: Well, I’m partial to paper. I have two of my favorite pins on there. One of them is a pop-up save the date, which is darling, where you actually open it and the picture of the couple pops up. My other one is a ceiling décor, where the entire ceiling is covered in tiny white lights that all form together in the center with this gorgeous flower square centerpiece.