Wedmony is a wedding planning platform that offers professional project management tools and a bridal community for women to connect and share their experiences during different stages of the wedding planning process.
Our client Christina had a mission to connect millennial brides and make wedding planning less stressful. She had developed planning tools to replace spreadsheets. However, to differentiate herself from the saturated wedding industry, she decided to hold off on developing tools and instead focus on what she thought was the real problem: actionable inspiration and community. She saw a need for a bridal community and wanted to connect frustrated brides to married women with more perspective.
Wedmony is currently an inspiration platform. By connecting images to vendors, brides can get valuable information about vendors. Wedmony provides actionable inspiration—brides know how to get the look they want from the vendor information provided by the site.
Brides can also connect with the original poster and ask any questions, especially if they’re related to DIY items. This helps foster a community of both former and current brides.
Christina planned to create a resale marketplace to incentivize former brides to use the site. The marketplace would exist for married women to sell wedding items like decorations to current brides who may find use for them.
Our client looked to us to identify opportunities and further develop Wedmony’s unique position in a saturated marketplace.
We knew the wedding industry is huge and that narrowing the scope was important to this project. To get an idea of what the greatest needs and frustrations are in wedding planning, we familiarized ourselves with the wedding industry by looking at studies and reports online.
A 2014 study by the Knot showed weddings are getting more expensive, but guest lists are getting smaller. Brides are willing to spend more for more meaningful and intimate weddings.
“Couples are focusing on creating an amazing guest experience and reception details, including finding unique venues to reflect their personality.”
- Rebecca Dolgin, editor-in-chief of The Knot
We also spoke with a wedding planner and a wedding vendor to bolster our domain knowledge. Both subject matter experts provided similar information—planners and vendors cater to every couple so they feel their wedding represents them.
“Not every vendor is good for every client. I typically give my clients a couple of options and they choose the vendor they connect with the most.”
- Margaret, wedding planner of Creatively Inspired Weddings and Events
We also looked outside the wedding domain to learn more about certain aspects of weddings. We explored project management, DIY sites, resale marketplaces, community sites, and Q&A forums. Exploring online reports and studying indirect competitors helped us form better questions around the role of community and resale platforms in brides’ wedding planning processes.
Because DIY is so popular in modern weddings, I looked at DIY sites to see how they might teach me about brides’ needs. DIY is community-driven, and people who care about it participate in forums. This research revealed an opportunity for community on Wedmony.
We looked at resale marketplace platforms, where we learned a marketplace doesn’t create a community. Sellers aren’t motivated to extend conversations with buyers past the sale.
We turned to user research to better understand brides’ goals and frustrations. We talked to five married women and two engaged women to find out:
Through these interviews, we found:
Everyone had different requirements for their wedding, but they all made sure it reflected who they are. Brides that incorporated DIY into their wedding felt it added a personal and meaningful touch. Brides expressed frustration when other people gave their own opinions.
“It’s important that our wedding feels authentic to the things we care about.”
Users said they don’t like to engage in online communities. Even when they search online for help, they rarely interact beyond reading posts. They rely on their friends and family to talk about ideas and issues.
“I always asked friends and family if I didn’t know how to proceed.”
Most of our users didn’t have many issues with budgeting because they had a realistic understanding of wedding prices. Brides that underestimated prices found it hard to stay excited after removing expensive options.
“Whatever budget you have, add 20%. Seeing my final budget, what I could afford was not what I thought.”
Users threw away things they didn’t need after their wedding and kept the items they felt were the most important.
“I also rented a lot so I didn’t have to worry about it.”
Our users said they were excited when they were able to visualize their wedding. However, they were not excited by the research required to find them. Because weddings are expensive, brides thoroughly research their options to make sure they’ll fit the wedding.
“It’s frustrating to talk to DJs, because I have no idea how they'll actually DJ the wedding.”
We looked at resources used the most often: The Knot, WeddingWire, and Borrowed & Blue. By studying what these sites do and don’t do well, I wanted to gain a better understanding of users’ goals and needs.
Many users said they felt overwhelmed by big competitors like The Knot and WeddingWire because they have too much content. They used these sites as starting points for discovering vendors and venues, then visited sites like Yelp and Facebook to continue their search. They weren’t satisfied with the reviews on The Knot and WeddingWire because they didn’t trust sponsored options.
The two sites also look and feel so similar that some users confused the two. Users also felt these sites featured content that wasn’t relatable to them. They wanted to see unique weddings, but these sites only offered cookie-cutter weddings that didn’t excite them.
Borrowed & Blue connects couples to vendors. Because it focuses on one aspect of the wedding, this site isn’t overwhelming. It also features all kinds of weddings and creates an inclusive experience. Borrowed & Blue doesn’t connect brides to create a bridal community, but we wanted to emulate its inclusive content and narrow focus.
From our competitive analysis, we learned Wedmony would benefit the most by focusing on one need. Because people use content-heavy sites as a starting point for venues and vendors, we realized this was a core need that needed to be addressed.
Our research revealed millennials care about creating an experience that represents their values and personality.
Christina wanted to engage former brides through a resale marketplace, but we couldn’t validate it with the research we’d done. We identified a different need for all our users: finding vendors and venues without being too stressed. By addressing this need, we believed we could bring the most value to Wedmony.
Millennial brides need a digital tool to find vendors and venues that align with their personality and values because their existing process results in an exhausting and mundane experience.
To address this problem, we came up with four design principles to guide our solution:
Every wedding has a unique set of values and limitations. Show personalized information at every opportunity so users find it helpful.
Weddings, like couples, come in all shapes and sizes. Content should represent various users so everyone feels connected and welcome.
Prevent monotony by clearly communicating information. Reduce users' effort by remembering their interests and preferences.
Convey the experience of a joyful occasion in form and language to provide motivation when users feel overwhelmed.
Our goal was to keep brides excited in their wedding planning by helping them visualize their wedding.
We used the following questions to guide our ideation:
For most concepts to work, we needed to incorporate an onboarding process. This was so Wedmony could understand brides’ values and suggest matches based that understanding. I looked at dating sites to study how they learn about new users while maintaining a low barrier of entry.
I tested how many sections/questions it took for users to feel comfortable that the system understands their preferences. I also wanted to gauge how many questions is too many for our users. Similar to what I saw on dating sites’ onboarding, I tested whether it made sense for users to add information to the system after onboarding
Users preferred a visual layout because they knew descriptors like “vintage” and “rustic” meant different things to people. They felt images were more effective for communicating preferences and keeping them engaged. Users responded positively to this concept, but they wanted to see more personally relevant content.
I tested our client’s assumption that brides need a bridal community. This concept matched users to former brides with similar preferences and displays the vendors used for the wedding. I also wanted to identify the ideal interaction between brides on this platform by asking questions around a chat feature.
Our users found this feature helpful, but they also wanted to see why these brides were recommended to them. This indicated they needed a reason to trust the system’s recommendations. Some users also mentioned privacy issues, as not everyone was comfortable sharing their photos online.
We wanted to test the impact of looking at details of multiple options at once. If validated, we also wanted to figure out which details were important to compare.
Users loved this concept, especially its visual layout. They imagined using this feature to compare prices and choose a final vendor.
We wanted to learn what users needed to see on this page. We also tested the impact of an Instagram feed that included other users’ photos. We also added a suggested venues section, populated from users’ onboarding profile.
Users liked all the features on this page. They liked being able to see new options pop up and exploring possibilities they may not have known existed. They also appreciated the real photos of real events instead of photos of empty venue spaces. They believed it would help them visualize their wedding and confidently make decisions.
Our concept testing sprint showed brides need to visualize their wedding and be confident about their venue and vendors. Talking to former brides and comparing several options helped them feel more confident about their choices.
We converged the following concepts: onboarding, bride match, comparison tool, and venue profile. We considered content more carefully, making sure to include budget information.
As we converged, we realized we needed a dashboard to keep all our features in one place. There are many factors to a wedding, so we felt a dashboard helped keep the planning organized. For brides to keep track of the vendors they liked and booked, we used a timeline structure to organize information. Our users liked that information was centralized, but they didn’t know what to do on this page.
The progress bar was unclear, but users felt the platform understood their preferences enough to suggest good recommendations. To learn about users’ wedding preferences, we incorporated a drag and drop feature, which our users found inconvenient to use. Users didn’t recognize they could skip parts of onboarding, so we needed to make it more visible.
Based on user feedback, I used tags and colors to show why these brides were recommended.
Users immediately understood this page and appreciated the option to communicate with former brides.
Users said they wanted to see contact information and book appointments on this page. This aligned with our client’s goal to add such features to Wedmony.
Our users were confused by this screen because it had options to both remove and save venues. They were hesitant to remove venues on this page in case they change their mind.
Users’ feedback gave us a deeper understanding of their mental model. I learned users had different goals at different stages of wedding planning. In the earlier stages of wedding planning, users want to discover as many options as possible. They compare options more thoroughly when they decide on a final choice. I realized we’d addressed the decision aspect, but not the discovery aspect of wedding planning. We made a separate screen in our final prototype to differentiate discovery and decision.
With this new understanding, I also created a site map that reflects users' mental model.
After several rounds of iteration, I was confident we’d created a platform to make wedding planning easier.
Christina was happy with the design we presented. She was excited we created an opportunity for brides to engage in community and make their wedding planning easier. She plans to develop the algorithm that will drive the success of the vendor match and bridal match features.
The wedding industry is so large that we couldn’t address everything we wanted in three weeks. We gave Christina a list of recommendations we felt would help her achieve her business goals.
Our testing didn’t point to a need for a marketplace. Christina wanted to develop her marketplace idea, so we recommended interviews with brides who need to sell their wedding decorations to better identify their needs.
The desktop site addresses discovery, but it also addresses more complex processes like comparison. Mobile apps are helpful for discovery, so we recommended a mobile app to help brides while they’re on the go.
Our users had mixed feelings about the content they saw—they point out images and tags they felt were irrelevant or missing. We recommended image-based card sorting to identify how the platform can be both relevant and inclusive.
We identified two possible landing pages—explore and dashboard. We also identified two directions for Wedmony. By setting the explore page as the landing page, Wedmony will grow as a discovery platform. By setting the dashboard as the landing page, Wedmony will grow as a planning platform.
If Wedmony becomes a planning platform, we recommended further developing the timeline and adding a budgeting feature within it. The timeline helps brides visualize their wedding, and a budgeting feature will keep them organized.
By addressing these considerations, Wedmony will streamline the wedding process. Without too much content in articles and blog posts, Wedmony will specialize as a vendor discovery and planning tool. The biggest challenge is engaging former brides, but by conducting more interviews and tests with them, Wedmony can create opportunities for them to leave an impact for future brides.
Our team had tackled a large domain, but I learned how to scope down to a narrow problem by collaborating with our client. We had many directions we could go, and it was helpful to get client feedback so we could design a product that fit her goals the best. I learned to use client meetings to identify how we could provide the most value.
I also learned to look at other competitors to look for design opportunities and learn design patterns. There is a lot to learn from indirect competitors, and I used them to create better designs that addressed our users’ needs, making me a more resourceful designer.