Getting engaged and planning a wedding are exciting steps in a couple's life together. The wedding industry is saturated with companies helping people plan for their big days, but what about the couples who break off their engagement? Whether it was cold feet or an emergency situation that won't allow a couple to go ahead with their wedding, canceling an event with such high emotional and financial investments can be devastating.
Entrepreneurs Josh Opperman and Peter Ulrich both recognized the need for services to help these couples cope with their situation. In 2007, Opperman founded a jewelry and wedding dress resale website, I Do Now I Don't, with his sister after having trouble selling back the ring from his own broken engagement. Ulrich, a serial tech entrepreneur, started Canceled Weddings just six months ago to allow clients to recoup financial losses by selling their entire planned event. Last month, the two companies announced that they would be partnering to provide a full-service experience for couples looking to buy and sell weddings.
"I specialize in event management, which is a very different business than reselling jewelry," Ulrich told BusinessNewsDaily. "But canceling a wedding is not just about the event. Our clients also wanted us to help them sell their wedding rings and other items. I Do Now I Don't does that, so it made a lot of sense to partner with Josh."
"Most of our sellers don't know there's actually a service that can help you sell your event as well," Opperman added. "Buyers get incredible deals, and sellers are recouping even more of their money [by using both sites]."
I Do Now I Don't and Canceled Weddings are two different services working toward the same goal: providing the best possible prices for individuals looking to both purchase and get rid of wedding-related items and contracts. By serving as intermediaries between buyers and sellers, Opperman and Ulrich's companies take care of the sellers' difficult task of explaining their situation to each contracted vendor and potential buyer. They also provide a safe, trusted space where clients on both ends can be sure they're getting a good deal.
"There's a lot of scamming when people try to sell really expensive items," Opperman told BusinessNewsDaily. "We wanted to create a safer environment where sellers could recoup more of the original value."
On the other side of the equation, couples who are flexible with their wedding details can find venues, gowns and jewelry for significantly less than retail price. However, it's still a challenge to convince some skeptics that one couple's heartbreak can be another couple's happily ever after.
"The wedding industry is so focused on love and happiness," said Mara Opperman, co-founder of I Do Now I Don't. "It's tough to break that barrier and get past the stigma of a secondhand wedding. But we've received so much positive feedback, and clients are really very happy."
Ulrich is quick to point out that not all of the companies' sale listings are due to breakups: Some couples decide halfway through the planning process that it's simply too stressful and choose to elope instead. On I Do Now I Don't, there are happily married women willing to part with their wedding day attire and accessories in order to make extra money. In the case of Canceled Weddings, the purchased event doesn't even have to end up being another wedding.
"It's all about savings and great prices. No matter what the seller's reasons are, our buyers get a chance to find the event of their dreams for a fraction of the cost," Ulrich said. "Someone's canceled wedding might become a fancy birthday party for someone else. There is more to canceled weddings than meets the eye."
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