From the June 4, 2004 print edition.
Wedding invitations go high-tech
by Ed Duggan
Dane and Nancy Bryant are among the first couples of the Internet
generation. To them, it's always been here and been a part of their
lives - they even met and fell in love on the internet.
In June 2003, they were married.
It seems only natural that, when they were looking for a business
opportunity, the Internet would play a major part.
The young couple has a strategy to revolutionize the somewhat
prosaic field of wedding invitations. They have taken the 19th
century engraved card invitation and turned it into a multimedia,
interactive CD. They call it an elegant invite - and it is resonating
with their contemporaries.
"When we were designing our own wedding invitation we realized
that there were other tech-savvy couples who would enjoy the experience
of expressing themselves via multimedia," Nancy Bryant said.
After the honeymoon, the couple decided to start Elegant Invites,
the next generation of wedding invitations in sophisticated, traditional,
romantic or cutting-edge designs.
The corporation was formed in August and the Web site went live
"We can combine a couple's audio, video and up to 30 personal
photos onto a CD invitation, and include directions and other computer
links that are relevant such as bridal registry and an Internet
facility for R.S.V.P.s," said Dane Bryant, president of both
Elegant Invites and Approachnet, a Web design and multimedia CD
developer in Boca Raton.
The invitations can include up to a 90-second video of the couple
inviting guests to join them, pictures of people in the wedding
party, favorite links and contact information. Simple templates
are available to guide couples through the basics.
The cost is less than traditional invitations and typically runs
between $550 and $800, with a 14-day turnaround time.
The couple expects to hit $200,000 in Internet-generated revenue
during 2004, with a 30 percent to 50 percent growth rate over the
next five years. It could be higher as the idea catches on and
each year brings new prospects.
According to a National Vital Statistics Report, there were 2.2
million marriages last year. Florida alone had 119,000 marriages
"Our business comes from two primary sources - existing clients
and a resellers program from wedding-related Web sites," Nancy
Bryant said. "Our word-of-mouth is exceptional. When someone
sees one of our invitations, either they or someone they know become
The reseller program uses non-competitive wedding-related Web
sites to drive traffic to Elegant Invites' site. The resulting
sales generate a 10 percent referral commission to the resellers.
An Elegant Invite representative follows up Web inquiries within
Couples are encouraged to send in baby pictures, film, videos
and still photos and can use a number of available themes.
only is it a powerful invitation, but it becomes a treasured
memento of the event," said Nancy Bryant. "Even wedding
guests who don't have a computer or CD player rave about the invitation.
It's not just an improvement or a fad; we're creating a whole new
E-mail technology writer Ed Duggan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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