Marriage may have traditional roots, but the way couples are getting married these days doesn’t necessarily have to be old fashioned anymore. Themed, intimate, overseas, extravagant (enter Salim Mehajer) – weddings are now a creative expression of a couple’s personalities. But it can be hard to find the perfect venue for the right price, at the right size and that is still unique.
Mel Mashman and Amy Lucas realised the struggle involved in finding a decent wedding venue when they were asked by their recently engaged friend to help find the perfect place for her wedding. The pair – who are best friends since primary school, co-travellers and now business partners – decided to bridge the gap between large wedding vendors and brides by creating WedShed.
WedShed is an online wedding directory that helps engaged couples find a unique and special venue. “For us, the best weddings are held at personal spaces, and it was seriously hard to find these special places. We are passionate about helping couples create their big day,” said Lucas.
Prior to the launch of the business in March this year, the pair contacted brides and wedding vendors to investigate just how many people struggled with this problem in the past. “People have been waiting for someone to fix this [problem] for a while, so we knew we were on to a good thing,” Lucas explains.
Old homesteads and art studios around Melbourne, as well as the old city jail, are some of the venues on offer. Lucas explains that she and Mashman have just returned from Tasmania where they saw an incredible old-machinery shed in Rocky Cape National Park. They are off to Perth this week for another viewing.
This business isn’t just about making happy people happier on their wedding day, it’s also about supporting local communities. “The wedding market is phenomenal in driving tourism,” Lucas explains, “It brings in excess of $30,000 per wedding [to local communities], and considering some of our venues are located outside metropolitan regions, this encourages tourism.”
The future is bright for WedShed. Their plans for expansion include an online wedding planner, where couples can log on to the site, create a profile and build their wedding bit by bit with the guidance of Lucas and Mashman. They also plan to launch an online marketplace for couples, past and present, to sell, swap and share wedding items.
“We don’t pretend to know it all,” says Lucas, “It is very much our own experience, but we try to encourage future brides to consider us a virtual bridesmaid. We are open to helping couples out ourselves, in any way we can.”