the May 2, 2005 print edition.
bytes: Couple start business linking technology and matrimony
By Ian Katz, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
RATON, Fla. — When Dane and
Nancy Bryant were married two years ago, the guests gave them
silverware, wine glasses, a picnic set and a business idea that
dramatically changed their lives.
Dane, a Web site developer, had decided to make CD wedding invitations
for the 115 guests. The discs featured a photo montage of the couple,
a two-minute video of them asking the guests to attend, and directions
to the ceremony and reception.
Along with the usual replies to the RSVPs, Bryant received three
offers from invitees to sell the CDs for him if he went into business.
A couple of months later, Elegant Invites Inc. was born.
"Once I started getting feedback, the bells really went off," said
Bryant, 40. "I thought we had to do something with it."
Since the Bryants met on the matchmaker site Match.com, they figured
it was only natural for them to launch a business linking technology
The company remains a family venture, sharing space in a Boca
Raton office with Approachnet Inc., Bryant's Web development company.
Bryant handles the creative and technical sides. Nancy, 38, who
has a sales background, works on marketing to the $70 billion bridal
Bryants expect revenues of $100,000 to $200,000 this year. They
have 10 to 15 new clients each month paying $400 to $600 for
the basic CD invitation — comparable to the price of printed invitations — or
up to $3,000 for more elaborate packages.
target audience is young, tech-savvy couples "who really want
to do something different," Bryant said.
That was the objective of Craig and Nicole Sterler of Coral Springs,
who were married in November 2003.
"We didn't want to do the, 'Here's the invitation, now send us
a check,'" said Craig Sterler, a 29-year-old who produces corporate
and social events.
So the Sterlers hired the Bryants to put together a disc including
childhood photos of Craig and Nicole.
"It was real cool," Craig said. "We
still get calls from people about it."
Like many small businesses, Elegant Invites has reached the point
where it will have to hire outside the family if it wants to grow.
Bryant plans to add a programmer in the next three to six months.
Eventually, the Bryants would like to turn the concept into a
software package that can be sold in retail outlets. But they can
The so-called barrier to entry into the CD wedding invitation
specialty market is very low. Though Elegant Invites advertises
prominently with Yahoo's search engine, a couple searching on Google
would be more likely to find competitors such as weddinginvitationcd.com.
to change is another obstacle. Some couples fear that the invitations
could confuse tech-challenged older guests who don't know that
the CD goes into a computer drive. At least one invitee told
Sterler: "I put it in my CD
(music) player and I can't get it to work."
In fact, most of the Bryants' customers buy the CD to supplement,
rather than replace, printed invitations.
Their emphasis on personalizing each invitation might allow the
Bryants to stand out from the pack. If so, they will have brokered
a happy marriage between technology and tradition.