Wedding planning is painful and time consuming
It takes 250+ hours to plan a wedding. With that time, you could literally qualify to fly a commercial airplane, get that promotion you’re after, read 50 books, or launch a company.
The prices are marked up and inaccessible when you look for them, and most of the industry accepts this as fact. Last year, my cofounder was the maid of honor for her best friend’s wedding, where she observed first hand that it’s normal to spend 20 hours just searching and booking venue. She wrote about the unfair gender expectations that support the wedding planning industry, here.
Fact: most people are planning their wedding for the first time. The learning curve is steep, and likely, they won’t ever use this skill again.
Fact: Currently, your only option around this is to do it yourself (250 hours), or hire an expensive wedding planner (prices start at $5000.)
Building Honeydew, the personal assistant for your wedding
My cofounder and I built Honeydew so that couples would not need to spend hundreds of hours handling the many minute details in wedding planning. We’re the personal assistant and personal expert for your wedding planning. We take over the grunt work of sourcing, contacting, screening, and negotiating with vendors, so couples can just enjoy deciding between a few amazing options.
We wasted no time validating the existence of the problem
I used to be a technical product manager, and Lucy has an amazing business background. After we quit our jobs, we wanted to learn and move quickly. It’s easy to start building a product out of eagerness and desire that the supposed pain point exists. But that’s risky and usually leads to a lot of wasted money and time. So our first goal was to validate the wedding planning pain point. We interviewed 20–30 couples who were in the midst of wedding planning, asking Facebook acquaintances we hadn’t spoken to in years to introduce us to their coworkers and best friends. Two huge pain points that stood out: 1. Couples didn’t have time to research and contact all the wedding vendors, 2. Couples were overwhelmed trying to compare the vendors side by side.
We were forced to be scrappy and remove fluffy features
Our next goal was to launch an MVP product that would solves these two problems. It was a simple combination of email, Typeform, and Google Sheets. We were in the background calling and chasing down venues, caterers, photographers, etc. every day. We didn’t have the luxury of a brilliant engineering or operations team to build out the product — so, we were forced to be scrappy and listen closely to our users for what pain point they needed solutions for first.
One month in, we became a little more legitimate and incorporated using Stripe Atlas and started accepting payments through Stripe instead of our personal Venmo accounts :)
We rely on our customer obsession, speed, and intelligence
Our v1 wasn’t perfect, but it was satisfying a customer need. From there we iterated. For us, it’s critical that we listen to our users, always. We still get our couples on video chat at a regular cadence so we can observe how they use the product and hear interesting insights like “We were afraid to tell Honeydew that our venue preferences had changed. Didn’t want to bother you guys.” Our customers were being polite to us! Small, constant learnings like this continue to energize us.
As a startup, our only differentiators are our customer obsession, speed, and our intelligence, and that is how we will set ourselves apart from other companies with big marketing spend and the engineering teams that we could only dream of.
In the most immediate future, we’re working on making our product faster and more intuitive to use. We serve all of US and Canada, but for now we want to especially focus on San Francisco Bay Area couples. And in the far, five-year future, we want Honeydew to be the reason that as a norm, wedding planning only takes 4 hours instead of 250.
When I’m not doing that, I go backpacking, play jazz at the SF Community Music Center, and host dinner parties :)