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New look for Madison wedding planning website

To mark its third anniversary, lovemadisonweddings.com underwent a complete rebrand and makeover of its site, while maintaining its free comprehensive vendor list for couples on the verge of marriage.

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Three years isn’t a long time for a company to be around, let alone to launch a full-scale rebrand, but that’s just what lovemadisonweddings.com has done to celebrate its third anniversary.

The local wedding planning website began as Love, Madison Weddings in June 2015 with the intention of becoming south central Wisconsin’s most comprehensive, free wedding planning site. Featuring a list of vendors and venues alongside real wedding galleries and planning advice, the website has quickly become a go-to choice for Madison brides.

However, after surveying some of their readers, along with current and prospective vendors, owners Jodi and Chad Everts identified functional changes that they needed to make to the site to compliment the design changes they already in mind. “As a result, nearly everything changed!” says Jodi.

Anatomy of a rebrand

Jodi received a grant for the Entrepreneurial Training Program at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UW–Madison to write a business plan for another idea the couple was entertaining. After researching it further, they decided not to pursue that idea, and asked if they could instead complete the program focusing on the growth of lovemadisonweddings.com.

Of several options for changing the branding and logo for lovemadisonweddings.com, Jodi and Chad Everts chose Option 1.

“Looking at the long-term goals of the business through this lens shifted our focus into growth mode at a time when we really needed to,” notes Jodi. Right around the same time, the Everts met with Chelsey Dequaine, then at DesignCraft Advertising, for a social media brand audit, and she made some points that led to the slight name change from Love, Madison Weddings to lovemadisonweddings.com to clarify that it’s a website right away.

“Overall feedback was to simplify our site and reduce the amount of work/clicks for users to get to the information they need,” explains Jodi. “Vendors and readers wanted to get from our website to featured vendor websites quicker, as the housing of featured vendor information on our site encased them in our branding and didn’t allow readers to get a sense for each vendor’s style quick enough. It also caused confusion as to who each vendor was in relation to lovemadisonweddings.com.”

The Everts hired a graphic designer to design the company’s new logo and worked with a videographer to create the video for their homepage, but other than that Chad and Jodi did everything for the rebrand — from concepting to choosing a theme and writing code to customize it, to creating graphics and copywriting, as well as creating a communications plan to share the new brand with readers and vendors. In addition to all of the user-facing changes, they also completely revised their profit model and streamlined the process for new vendors to join the site.

“Our goal was to make the site more visually dynamic but also simplify it at the same time,” says Jodi.

To that end, lovemadisonweddings.com made the following changes:

Changes to the brand

  • New logo is an evolution of the former logo, which is a salutation. The new logo has more of a handwritten feel to evoke the conversational tone of the brand.
  • Introduction of new brand colors. Prior to the rebrand, the site was very neutral to create a blank canvas for the variety of wedding galleries and imagery that is posted. “We finally chose brand colors for lovemadisonweddings.com to establish our brand first,” Jodi notes.

Changes to the website

  • Transition to a parallax format
  • Addition of video in the header that highlights Madison weddings
  • Addition of icons to help guide readers
  • Addition of a search bar
  • Featured vendor profiles link directly to the vendor website (as opposed to a featured vendor profile page on the lovemadisonweddings.com website.)
  • Featured vendor photos now include price range on the category landing page to allow for more vendor information at a glance on each category page.

Changes for vendors

  • New featured vendor pricing (pricing reduced due to restructure of featured vendor landing pages)
  • Expanded service area. In the past, vendors needed to reside in the Madison area to be included in lovemadisonweddings.com’s general and featured listings. Now vendors must simply serve the Madison area, regardless of place of residence.

“We’ve already had readers and vendors reach out to us with positive feedback on the use of the site,” notes Jodi. “In fact, one reader said, ‘It’s SO good. Love the look, style, and feel. So modern/minimal and still elegant.’ So overall the site is more appealing to the eye, but more importantly it also flows in a way makes it easier for couples to choose vendors, which is the primary use of lovemadisonweddings.com.”

(Continued)

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