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The Short Version: Couples today can feel more pressure than ever before to have a one-of-a-kind wedding, but the hectic pace of their lives may leave them little time to plan. Zola helps take the stress out of the wedding planning process. The company allows couples to create wedding registries, build wedding websites, and design invitations, among many other preparations. Zola wants to become the premier resource for spouses-to-be to customize their big day.
Imagine you’re a soon-to-be-married couple considering all the things you might want to list on your wedding registry. Do you want the gray table linens or white? A Cuisinart food processor or a NutriBullet blender? With so many brand and style options, it can be difficult to make a choice.
In 2013, Shan-Lyn Ma was navigating the overwhelming registry process when she felt a personal need to create a more satisfying experience, so she founded Zola. This online tool takes the stress out of wedding registries by simplifying the process and alleviating the pressure of making big decisions. It accomplishes that goal by grouping items that complement each other while providing intuitive search features for couples who already know what they want.
“Zola was founded out of a need for a better wedding registry experience,” a spokesperson for the company said.
Zola doesn’t stop at online registries, though. The company recently developed tools for designing invitations, creating websites, and planning entire weddings. Those features make Zola a one-stop shop for couples.
“Our wedding experts are always available to connect with couples and give one-on-one advice. We pride ourselves on having a personal touch. Zola also has a stellar customer service team that sits in a completely open office, answering questions and placing orders over the phone all day as the rest of the company listens in. Our office is designed in the joyful spirit of weddings. All of our conference rooms are named after our favorite wedding movies, including ‘Father Of The Bride,'” the spokesperson said.
Those touches make both the employees and the customers feel connected to Zola’s mission: helping couples create a joyful wedding spirit.
Zola’s commitment to simplicity is clear in both its interface and ease of use, which differentiates it from many other online registries. Couples can find ready-made lists or search for specific items they want to add to their registries.
Collections are grouped to ensure users don’t have to choose each item individually. For example, a couple wanting to outfit their kitchen might add items from the Ultimate Kitchen Essentials collection or cocktail enthusiasts might stock up on items from the Build Your Own Bar collection.
And couples don’t have to limit their registries to physical items. They can ask friends and family to help contribute toward their honeymoon travel experience, with items including Airbnb gift cards and airline travel vouchers.
Philanthropic couples can offer guests the option to donate to a favorite cause rather than giving them a gift.
And guests aren’t forgotten in this streamlined gift-giving process, either. They can choose group gifting options to pay for part of a larger or more expensive item. And Zola offers free shipping and price matching for all items on a couple’s registry.
Zola shows the same care in its workplace as it does with the couples whose special day it’s helping build. And that is evidenced by the company’s employees, who are just as considerate with one another.
“At Zola, work ethic is just as important as attitude,” said Zola’s spokesperson. “We have a hiring policy that creates an open and friendly work environment. Our office is the type where anybody can walk up to anybody to ask a question.”
While the registry is popular, Zola’s staff wanted to create more ways to help couples. So the company designed a suite of tools to streamline many important steps in the wedding planning process. They include features to help create a website and personalize invitations.
“In the past year, we’ve launched two new products to serve the needs of our couples: free wedding websites and matching save-the-dates and wedding invitations,” the spokesperson said.
Zola users begin their journey by creating a profile that allows them to start planning. Users first organize a checklist to ensure they consider all of the elements of their wedding. Couples can add important steps to their to-do list, including finding someone to officiate the wedding, booking the photographer, and hiring a florist.
Many couples start by creating a website that sets the tone for the wedding. Zola offers pre-made templates couples can use to insert their favorite photos and relevant details.
Another popular tool is Zola’s guest management system that helps couples collect guest addresses, format them, and use them to send out wedding invitations. Once guests confirm they’ll be attending the ceremony, the guest list feature can also track RSVPs and the wedding registry item each guest attendee selects. This makes it easier for couples to send thank-you notes to the right person.
The company has gained plenty of devoted followers since it expanded from a registry site to offer a wide range of wedding tools and services.
“Zola is the fastest growing wedding company in the country. Our goal is to support all couples from the moment they get engaged through newlywed life. We’re continuing to grow to support couples through every aspect of the exciting wedding planning journey,” said Zola’s spokesperson.
The core goal of Zola is to be a comprehensive resource to help couples to move through the planning stages of a wedding, so they can be focused on each other during their big day. The idea is that weddings are more likely to go off without a hitch if they can be planned from one platform.
“It is a joy to connect with couples every day and hear about how we improved their wedding planning process,” Zola’s spokesperson said.
Couples have expressed their gratitude to Zola in many ways. Los Angeles couple George and Manfred said: “We’re a bicoastal couple, so being able to manage our guest list online saved us so much time.”
Niffy and Joel of Philadelphia mentioned that their guests loved the FAQ section of the website, while Manika and Rohik of New York said the flexibility of the checklist helped them plan a wedding to their specifications.
Gone are the days of cookie-cutter weddings. Couples today set out to create a one-of-a-kind experience. With that in mind, Zola helps couples design and plan the weddings that feel authentic to them.
“We feel honored that we can play a crucial role during such an important life milestone that can be both stressful and happy,” Zola’s spokesperson notes. “Everything we do we do for our couples.”