Row of vintage bride and groom figurines Photo by Picture Partners / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Can’t Touch This: Wedding Industry Seems Immune to ‘Disruption’

While other industries have fallen prey to "disruption," the high-touch wedding industry seems harder to crack.

Brick-and-mortar retailers, newspaper publishers, taxi drivers—the list of businesses “disrupted” by high tech is long. But one business that seems to be immune: wedding planning. Vox has some ideas why:

Lover.ly, the wedding planning site and app launched in 2011 with $7 million of venture capital, debuted a failed e-commerce project in 2015, then pulled its app from the App Store and laid off its entire staff but two people in 2017 (four months after a New York Times profile!). Today, it’s a blog. The bridal party coordination and dress manufacturing startup Weddington Way was acquired by the Gap in December 2016, and shuttered less than 18 months later. The Santa Monica-based bridesmaid dress rental startup Vow to be Chic raised $2.5 million in January 2018 and went out of business four months later. The nearly identical New York-based Union Station is still kicking, but it just sells the dresses now, in a range of colors and cuts, made to order based on measurements. You know, the way bridesmaids dresses have typically been sold.

There’s a lot of money in weddings; there’s been a lot of money lost in wedding startups. Why is it so hard to disrupt the wedding industrial complex?

“Some investors believe maybe there’s something inherent to the industry that means a big company can’t be created,” Ma tells me when I ask why her company is really the only one. “There have been some VCs that have invested in wedding startups that then closed, so they swore off weddings as a category” … Vox

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