Engagement season officially starts next month, which means a new crop of couples are about to begin the daunting wedding planning process. Between age-old traditions that can feel like they’re set in stone, tight budgets, unwieldy guest lists, and extended family (need we say more), there are endless opportunities for complication. Group texting trusted friends is often where a modern bride or groom turns for answers, or at the very least opinions, but there comes a point when even a couple’s best friends may feel the need to hit unsubscribe. Thankfully, a new shopping app, Masse, is built on the premise that unsponsored product recommendations are powerful, and wedding questions are welcome.
The app’s cofounders, Elizabeth Shaffer and Lizzy Brockhoff, first met when they were both working for luxury e-tailer Moda Operandi, and reunited again when they were on the same team at Jet.com. They went on to have babies, and as fate would have it, became moms a day apart from each other. They initially launched their app as a response to the overwhelming shopping conundrums they encountered in these early days of new motherhood: Which diapers are the best? Which wipes are really toxin-free? Masse was formed to help women navigate the sea of baby products that moms are flooded with postpartum.
When it comes to the wedding space—a world where widespread upcharging is common practice and the options are many—it’s hard to know whom to trust. Consider Masse a safe space. “As a bride, it can feel like you are constantly being sold to,” Shaffer says. “Masse is a reprieve from that. Every day, our community helps out on various life experiences, from getting a good night’s sleep to treating acne or hair loss, in such an honest, real way. Many of our users are going to a wedding or planning their own, and since they’ve seen how eager everyone is to help out on the day-to-day stuff, they know that if they ask the community for advice on their big day, others will likely have been through it and be more than happy to jump in.”
So what are the questions asked on the app that might help a bride, groom, or guest prepare for their own event? Masse users are asking things like: Which kind of dress will make them feel beautiful, but also comfortable? (The consensus: Fame and Partners. “I love that they have so many silhouettes in so many colors—and they cut to order so it’s pretty environmentally friendly,” one user notes.) Which makeup will stay on through hundreds of close-up pictures so that no one has to worry about getting it touched up throughout the day? (The answer: Giorgio Armani.) “There’s nothing better! Its light to medium coverage that lasts all day and looks super natural,” adds another.)
With so much to plan and prepare for—that can’t necessarily be rehearsed beforehand or test-driven beforehand, couples need answers from those who have been through it before, and Masse serves as a digital version of word-of-mouth vetting. Similarly, those attending want to celebrate the couple and their relationship in a meaningful way, but often don’t know how best to go about it.
“Guests want to know about the best personalized gifts they can give,” Shaffer says. “Or will ask about a favorite wedding gift that the couple received, which our younger and older married users are always happy to share about.”
“Any ideas for a palatable wedding gift off-registry? (Not a huge fan of funding $200 [per] piece servers!)” one Masse user asks. The response? “The All-Clad hard anodized three-piece sauté pan set—it’s guaranteed to last longer than a marriage, and I’ve been married 35 years. Perfect sizes, shapes, and balance,” another responds. For a more personalized approach, Alissa Bell’s customized thank-you notes with the names of the newlyweds on them are a fan favorite.
As for some of the best wedding advice Shaffer has seen so far on the app? Interestingly, it brings everything full circle: back to baby. “One user shared the tip of bringing wet wipes in case of any stains,” Shaffer explains. “Her cousin got a streak of red lipstick on her wedding dress, and when they called the tailor, that was the tip they recommended. A bridesmaid had her diaper bag on hand, and the stain came out perfectly. Crisis averted!”
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Originally Appeared on Vogue