Aubrey Secrest’s “something old” is a fascination with weddings that dates to her childhood.
“Something new” is her business, Bride Meets Wedding, which helps brides-to-be find and select local wedding vendors.
“I grew up around weddings,” Secrest said. “As a kid, I loved playing wedding at my mom’s flower shop.”
Secrest graduated from college with a communications degree and worked for a time in radio and public relations before deciding that her true calling was helping brides plan their weddings. She became a certified wedding planner through the Wedding Planning Institute and took a job as a wedding consultant with La’Di Events, a Chicago area event planning firm.
After planning her own wedding, Secrest moved with her new husband to Dubuque, where she saw a need for local wedding planning resources. She launched Bride Meets Wedding in March 2012 as a website specifically for Dubuque-area brides.
This past August, after relocating to Solon for her husband’s job, Secrest expanded the site to include the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City area.
“It’s a one stop shop for brides,” Secrest said of Bride Meets Wedding. “It’s very locally based. A bride can go to the site and see a really cool idea for her wedding.
“Not only will she get great inspiration, she’ll have a way to connect with the vendors behind the idea.”
Anyone can visit Bride Meets Wedding without a need to register or log in. From the website’s home page, guests may access free wedding planning tools and checklists, browse listings of wedding vendors – including caterers, florists, photographers and more – by location and category, and contact preferred vendors directly through their profile pages.
Secrest continually develops fresh content for the site by drawing on her background as a wedding planner. Her creativity is evident in the website’s wedding ideas gallery, where a bride can learn how to pull off an American Gothic-themed rehearsal dinner or a maid of honor can get tips for throwing a “beer and bra” bachelorette party.
“We’ll set up different photo shoots with the vendors,” Secrest explained. “It gives our readers new ideas for wedding and party themes and showcases our vendors in a different sort of way.”
Wedding-related businesses that meet Secrest’s selection criteria can purchase preferred vendor listings on Bride Meets Wedding on a monthly or annual basis. While Secrest limits the number of preferred vendors in each category, she strives to offer a variety of vendors to meet every bride’s style and budget.
All vendors must be located within a certain radius of the site’s targeted markets.
“The thing that Bride Meets Wedding apart from other sites is our local focus,” Secrest said. “I want to keep that local, intimate feel.”
Know a company in business for less than a year that would be ideal for “The Ground Floor”? Contact assistant business editor George C. Ford at George.Ford@sourcemedia.net
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