Southeast Asia' Growing Online Bridal Fair

published 15 August 2016
Getting married involves more than just saying “I do.” Unfortunately, there’s catering, flowers, invitations, photography, videography, shoes, cakes, a honeymoon and a wedding singer to worry about too. Bridestory, a startup that likes to call itself an online bridal fair and has offices across Southeast Asia, in fact lists 28 wedding categories.
Here’s how it works. Bridal vendors such as caterers and florists pay a subscription fee (variable according to their service) to Bridestory. On the other side are couples, often brides-to-be who want the perfect wedding. They are likely a ball of emotions -- excited, yet fretting about the details of their big day. Much like a fair, Bridestory provides the platform for vendors and clients to meet. It’s efficient and hassle-free, and they get a fair grasp of the choices they actually have.
Xandra Santamaria, one of the business managers for the Philippine office, says that across different cultures, weddings are always something special. “We at Bridestory are happy to make the planning process easier for couples.”
To date, the Bridestory sites have had 1.2 million visits by engaged couples, 160,000 business inquiries, and 1 million wedding inspirations. The Philippine office, which started operations in October 2015, now lists 1,000 wedding suppliers under all categories. Photographers and videographers make up most of these suppliers.
Here are five reasons Bridestory deserves more than a cursory look from vendors and engaged couples alike:

1. Do everything online

If you’re a bride planning your dream wedding, you only need to go to the Bridestory web site and it will land you straight to the page where vendors offer services right where you are. Choose a category, browse, and connect to the vendors without leaving the original site.

2. Online means visual

All the vendors in Bridestory use photos that showcase what they offer. A potential client may get a name, a number, an email address or a social media handle. More than that, the pictures offer a glimpse of the vendor’s portfolio. The client is thus able to set her imagination in motion.

3. It fits weddings of all sizes

Bridestory is a site for those who know exactly what they want in their wedding -- and also for those who just have a vague idea and are still open to suggestions. The mobile app allows potential clients to design their wedding based on themes and moods of their liking.

4. It is a learning tool for vendors

Vendors get more out of subscribing to Bridestory than just the opportunity to showcase their brand on the site. They get statistics and contacts: How many visits, inquiries, profile views, and reviews did they get during a certain period, and from whom? These numbers are important for entrepreneurs who want to track their business and design strategies for their growth and expansion.

5. It springs from a deeply personal yet universal experience

The founder of Bridestory, Kevin Mintaraga, had established other digital start-ups in the past. He was a computer science student in Australia and an avid gamer who had to stop schooling and return to Indonesia when his father fell ill. When his own wedding experience came around, he realized how chaotic the wedding industry could be -- and how great its potential was.