FaceTime in your friends and family, pop some champagne from the couch, and buy some bridesmaid dresses from the comfort of your home. The lighting in everyone’s houses is better, anyways.
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To make bridesmaid dress shopping a less frustrating and itchy process, Chicago-based Brideside has raised $7 million, led by Beringea, with participation from Sawdust Ventures and others. The upstart combines digital styling and online shopping for brides and their bridal parties. For users that still want a real-life experience, Brideside also has brick-and-mortar stores in Charlotte, Boston, Chicago, and New York. It also offers a try-at-home option.
According to a press release, the company’s total equity funding to date is $13.2 million, and this new capital will be used to build out more showrooms, and help it start selling actual bridal dresses, too. It also recently introduced Brideside-specific labels, which was designed by an in-house team that used “nearly 10M customer data points collected from the brand’s customers,” according to a press release.
The startup, which was founded in 2014 by Nicole Staple and Sonali Lamba, is part of a growing number of companies incorporating technology into the wedding-planning process. For example, San Francisco’s Riya Collective is a startup that offers high-end South Asian dresses and outfits for all members of the bridal party. Similar to Brideside, Riya Collective offers a showroom experience for users that want help with styling. If a user wants to rent or sell their own designer indian clothes, Riya Collective offers credit.
There’s also Los Angeles-based Birdy Grey that offers low-priced wedding dresses, touting lines like “shop $99 bridesmaid gowns.” It also offers groomsmen accessories. Neither of the aforementioned are known to be venture-backed.
There’s a couple of similarities in the above startups that stand out to me: an attempt to balance the charm of traditional wedding shopping with a punch at the logistical frustrations that come with it, whether it’s baffling pricing, or logistically getting all the people you love under one roof for a dress sizing at the same time.
And all of a sudden, couch-based direct-to-consumer sounds romantic.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias