Popular Wedding Planning Platform Still Growing Strong after a Quarter Century
The Knot, the well-known wedding planning platform, is building a brand to help customers navigate all of life’s big events from wedding to baby to milestone parties.
My older daughter got married on September 4th. Like all (or at least most) mothers of the bride, I thought the bride was beautiful, the groom was handsome, the cake was delicious and the band rocked it. From my first-hand recent experience, writing about weddings seemed a natural choice: to share my adventure of wedding planning. The first thing that comes to mind is the somewhat frightening statistic of the average cost for a wedding: now around $28,000. Of course, there are many more mundane wedding stats of interest for 2021:
- Most popular venues: banquet halls (20%) and farm/barns (18%)
- 14 vendors needed for the big day
- 87% hired a photographer, with an average cost of $2,500
- 81% ordered a cake, costing $500 on average (I assume the rest ordered cupcakes)
- Flower spend at $2,300 is a whole lot of roses
The occasion made me reflect on my own wedding over 33 years ago to my own Prince Charming (who is still charming, by the way). Despite having a rabbi instead of a minister perform the ceremony, I did not feel that my daughter’s wedding was much different in its most important aspects. We both fed our guests dinner and wedding cake, carried a bouquet down the aisle, smiled for the camera, listened to toasts and provided music that brought our guests to the dance floor. What was truly different was how she planned her wedding – using an online wedding planning platform.
Building a Brand Through Convenience and Expertise
The Knot debuted in 1996 as a portal on AOL and worked on building a brand through its own standalone website the following year. Despite a loss of $1.5M in 1998, it had a successful IPO in 1999 raising $35M.
By 2003, they were in the black with earnings of $1.1M on revenues of $37M and by 2018 (the final year of being a public company), revenue had risen to about $167M with income around $17M. They merged with Weddingwire in 2019 and went private, which indicates not only its profitability in 2018 but also that its profitability was expected to continue.
The Knot website offers everything that a couple needs to plan a wedding:
- List of vendors
- Guest list manager
- How to build your own wedding website to communicate with your guests
- Store with options for shoes, jewelry, favors, party décor and more
The convenience goes beyond finding everything you need on one platform. Given that couples spend 6 hours per week on average planning their big day, couples need the additional flexibility provided by the mobile app.
The Knot not only links couples with venues, photographers, videographers, florists, wedding planners, musicians and many more, it provides a list of “unknown unknowns.” Our experience in planning a wedding is naturally limited (unless you are like Elizabeth Taylor and are married 8 times), so the advice and checklists which provide instructions, guidelines and ideas are as needed as the list of makeup artists.
Building a Brand Beyond the Website
Building on the success of wedding planning, The Knot has extended the product line with The Knot Magazine, The Knot Books and The Knot Shop in the US as well as international wedding planning websites of Bodas.net (Europe, Central and South America) and Hitched (UK). Even more impressive is how the Knot is building a brand into more occasions with The Bump (pregnancy and parenting) and The Bash (all-occasion party planning).
Building a Brand Beyond Weddings
The Knot has built the most popular wedding planning website in the US by bringing together both the expertise and the contacts needed by every couple. Since they do not rely on repeat customers (at least not the usual heavy users), their expansion into other life events allows it to leverage the brand equity that it built during the wedding planning process. Our “Customer Segmentation Examples in the First-Time Parents Market” article shows just how much planning parents do before welcoming home their new bundle of joy.
And, a final random thought – the bridesmaids’ dresses. Thanks to brands like Azazie, Birdy Grey and Dear Cleo, bridesmaids can look good in their dresses, not like a plumaged bird or Glinda, the good witch of the North. Each bridesmaid only has to stick to the fabric, color and dress length chosen by the bride. Abiding by this restriction is easy when there are dozens of styles to choose from. Every body shape and fashion style can find a dress that is flattering and attractive. Perhaps the dress will even be worn again!