Online wedding services are pretty hot these days. Websites like Loverly, a sort of Pinterest for weddings, and wedding-themed blogs like StyleMePretty are gaining in popularity. Even in Japan, it seems that couples are exploring one-of-a-kind weddings instead of more traditional ones which can sometimes be a little mundane. But there is still a big problem that has yet to be solved. Many couples are giving up on the idea of having a wedding due to financial reasons. That’s according to the folks at Bouque.me, who just released their service today, on Valentine’s day.
Bouque.me is a product from Samurai Incubate, and is basically a tip collecting platform to financially assist couples planning to wed. In 2011, the amount of couples who got married numbered around 700,000. But among those couples, only 55,000 celebrated with a wedding ceremony.
On Bouque.me, couples are able to collect tips from their friends on different social networks and through email as well. By creating your own wedding page on the site and sharing the URL, friends and acquaintances can get involved. People can tip as much money as they want and even add a personal note for the couple.
Japanese people are often very careful about giving gifts, and it’s a very personal and important act. It will be interesting to see how people react to the very modern idea of giving money online. When I asked about this, a Samurai Incubate representative responded that the Bouque.me is more than just a money collecting platform. The site fosters communication between the couple and the giver, and it allows for friends who are unable to attend the wedding (maybe they live in a different area and can’t be there physically, for example) to get involved.
According to a recent survey on weddings, 58.2% of couples cite “expressing gratitude towards not just family, but also friends” as a big reason to have a wedding ceremony. Of those couples who gave up on having a wedding ceremony, 44% answered that they plan on having a wedding in the future. So there is a problem, but we’ll have to wait and see if Bouque.me is the answer people are looking for.
On a related note, it was just last week that we saw Yahoo Japan take a 10% stake in wedding site Minnano Wedding. That service has 1.1 million monthly visitors, as well as more than 200,000 posts about 5,000 wedding places in Japan.