“Do you think it would be tacky if I registered ONLY with you?”
We had been sitting down over coffee at a local Panera. Going over the logistics of my getting to her destination wedding on a fairly remote island in South Florida. Her wedding was on a Friday and I had another wedding on Sunday back in Tennessee. Before we were even going to discuss photographing her wedding, we had to figure out if it was even possible.
I had rushed out the door with my wedding book samples but without my computer. So figuring travel costs and logistics were left up to my trusty iPhone. Once we got everything squared away, she sat back in her chair and looked at me over her raised cup of flavored coffee. “Tell me about this new business you started. You know… Ciderr?”
As she took a sip of coffee, I was a bit stunned to have heard this question. This bride had definitely done her homework before our meeting, since I don’t advertise my ownership in Ciderr from my photography website or blog.
“How did it start? Where did the idea come from?” Her eyes definitely told me that she was genuinely interested. I normally just tell brides the benefits of Ciderr as it relates to their wedding. This was the first time a bride was asking deeper questions, and without any prompting from me.
So I took a deep breath and started talking.
“I was originally trying to figure out how to do gift cards for my business. I was having too many potential brides meet with me who wanted to hire me but they couldn’t afford me. There had to be an answer for this problem. Gift cards was a logical solution but as I was looking into it, it became a logistical nightmare. Way too complicated, and unappealing to everyone involved.”
“That’s when the idea of a registry came to me. I looked and looked but no one had built anything like it. Weird. So I approached one of my friends who knew way more about business than I did. Once I finished telling him my idea … creating a system for vendors in which brides could register for their products and services (and then their friends and family would help pay for everything), he was really excited about this new project!”
“In the days ahead, my new business partner did an incredible amount of research. Analyzing it from every angle. What he found out put a fire under our butts.”
I looked over at her to make sure I still had her attention or if I needed to go ahead and wrap up my story. She was now leaning forward and I never lost eye contact. I was about to share the statistical data we had found and I was already wondering if I had actually shared too much. Showing all of my cards, giving her too much information, could backfire on me. Her attention seemed to be all in, so I continued.
“The current registry industry was created for an era that only exists in part anymore. It was created for kids just moving out of their parents homes and getting married with literally nothing. That’s just not the case any more. Couples are getting married when they’re older and already established their careers, homes and everything that goes in them. The average age for a bride now is 29 and the groom is 31.”
At this point, she smiled and stopped me. “I’m 28 years old now but when we get married, I’ll be 29. And Jack is 31! Not only do we have everything but we have TWO of everything. I have pots and pans and he has pots and pans.” There was actually energy in her eyes as she continued, “To tell you the truth, we don’t know what to do with everything we do have. We have been having problems figuring out if we should even register anywhere. I think Ciderr is brilliant and I wish I had thought of it!”
Then she dropped the bomb, “Do you think it would be tacky if we ONLY registered with you?”
I looked down at my wedding samples. They were still sitting by my side … unopened. It was suddenly occurring to me that I was about to book a destination wedding using my new registry system alone. She obviously had seen my work online. She’d also seen a lot of other photographers amazing work online as well. The thing that stood out to her the most wasn’t my work (as much as I’d want it to). It was the fact that she could register with me and have her friends and family help pay for my services.
The thing that got me really excited was the statistical data that I didn’t tell her about. $19 billion dollars are spent on wedding registries every year. The AVERAGE wedding, 200 people buy gifts from the bride and groom’s registry. The average gift is between $70 to $100. It didn’t take much time to figure out how much the wedding could be worth for me since she was ONLY registering with me. I was not competing with Williams Sonoma, Target, or Bed, Bath and Beyond.
Beyond that, she was now becoming my marketing agent for my business. For free. Free advertising. She had a vested interest in telling all of her friends and family about her registry that is fully branded for my photography business. And we set up Ciderr so that once her friends contributed, they’re asked to spread the word about her registry on behalf of the bride and groom! So not only had I turned my bride into a marketing agent for my business but also her friends and family as well!
We built Ciderr for this bride I was sitting down with at Panera. And she’s not alone. Statistically, she’s not even an exception. She’s the new average. She’s the girl who’s more mature than her 20 year old counterpart. A girl who would rather have a beautiful wedding album that will last her a lifetime than a toaster that will last her 5 years. We exist to make sure our Ciderr members are ready for this new generation of brides!
Learn more through this explainer video about Ciderr:
Are you ready?
Michelle Cox says
This sounds like quite a great service for wedding photographers and makes a lot of sense. I’m wondering, though, if anyone has had any success on a smaller scale, like for family and children portraits? While not nearly as expensive as a wedding, a boutique photographer can still take a chunk out of the budget. Maybe the grandparents might chip in or aunts and uncles? Is this even a feasible idea?
Rich Smith says
Michelle, this is Rich from Ciderr. Our service totally works with any event that people normally give money to. Such as when a senior is graduating or for baby registries. So Senior and Baby photographers have had great success using it! In fact, we already have presets in place for those businesses! Let me know if I can answer any other questions for you!
Michelle Cox says
Sorry for not replying. It went to my gmail account which I hardly ever look at. Thanks for the answer. I will definitely keep it in mind!