We found a gap and filled it
After planning our own wedding and having nowhere to turn to help us make the big decisions, my wife and I set out to build the wedding vendor resource we wish we had. This personal project has grown to become the most comprehensive wedding directory in NZ and the only place to find ratings and reviews from real kiwi brides and grooms. The recently launched new version also includes NZ's premier wedding style and photography showcase.
Wedding style & photo inspiration
While the original version of the site was focused on the directory, we realised that wedding planning was becoming more and more of a visual process. So we set out to build a completely custom system that would become New Zealand's ultimate wedding photo inspiration platform - the WeddingWise Lookbook.
The Lookbook has been conceived, designed, and developed from scratch to create the ideal experience for both vendors who upload photos as well and brides & grooms who search them. The power of the Lookbook is that it's intimately connected to our comprehensive directory. When you find an image you like you can see each vendor that was responsible for that wedding and click straight to the directory listing and reviews.
The introduction of the Lookbook gave us an opportunity to redesign the entire website, which is now responsive and optimised for both desktop and mobile viewing.
Comprehensive, easy, trusted
WeddingWise was built with one goal in mind: make something way more useful than all existing NZ resources. This meant it had to be comprehensive (free to list), easy to use (robust searching and sorting), and assist in making smart and confident choices (unbiased reviews).
Wedding vendor directory pages organise all the usual contact information in an easy to digest format, plus options for videos, photos, tags, and more. Social feedback in the form of ratings and reviews helps brides and grooms make wise wedding choices.
“I regularly advertise on a few well-known wedding websites that have been around for quite a while - WeddingWise has outperformed them all by already bringing in approximately 10% of new clientele. My return on investment is exceptional.”
Sharon Kenny - WeddingWise Premium Member
Industry professionals have commented how, in a short period of time, WeddingWise has provided a much needed service to the local industry and is outperforming the big established players.
Added value for vendors
Each wedding vendor in the directory can sign in to manage and edit their own listings and Lookbook collections. Upgrading to Premium or Platinum membership is a fully automated online process. Paid members get added value in the form of directory listing enhancements, larger Lookbook images, and comprehensive listing stats.
WeddingWise gives out annual awards to the most outstanding vendors in the industry, based on ratings & reviews, and editor's choice.
Branding for WeddingWise needed to be versatile enough to work on the web and in print. At expos and shows, as well as awards, business cards and t-shirt. I developed a logo and brand language that is industry-appropriate, recognisable, and applies well to a clean and user-friendly web interface.
As a personal side-project this has been an incredible learning and experience and rewarding adventure. I've gotten to know ExpressionEngine and many of its powerful add-ons inside and out, and have been involved with other developers to recommend and help shape improvements and new features to their add-ons. I've learned what's important and what isn't in an online social community in a competitive market. It's given me a platform to refine user experiences and test interfaces, and help further my design experience. It's been a great exercise in creating efficient processes for easy management of complex sites, membership, and user-generated content.
We have since sold this business to delightful new owners, who I look forward to work with as they continue to grow and innovate WeddingWise.