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 July 1, 1999

A Web Wedding offers online sites, gift registries

The average American wedding can cost anywhere from $16,000 to $22,000, depending on which bridal magazine you read.

In fact, weddings are such big business that the financial planning site www.quicken.com devotes pages to nuptial money-saving tips.

The Web hasn’t been slow to capitalize on this lucrative market. There’s www.wedfind.com, which lists wedding tips ranging from bridal showers to honeymoons. You can find planning advice at www.the-wedding-pages.com and www.weddinghelpline.com. The Wedding Network, www.weddingnetwork.com, is an online registry with 45 nationwide retailers listed. There’s also www.theknot.com, a Manhattan-based site that offers advice, gift registries and online wedding announcement Web sites.

Duane Caraballo, a former Boulder resident who now lives in Arvada, has debuted a Colorado entry into the wedding sweepstakes. Like theknot.com, it offers wedding Web sites and gift registries.

Caraballo, who was married May 1, and his business partner Skip Coleman, who is planning a late December wedding and millennium celebration/honeymoon in Mexico, launched www.awebwedding.com in March.

Caraballo, vice president of A Web Wedding, calls the site “sort of a novelty type thing.”

“It’s not for everybody — it appeals to a small niche of people. We’re catering to people who are somewhat Internet savvy, who see the convenience of online wedding pages,” he said. “The age group we’re dealing with is people age 24 to 32. These are the people who are coming out of college with computer savvy.”

For a fee ranging from $100 to $550, A Web Webbing will design a customized wedding site, listing details such as how the couple met, who’s in the wedding party, wedding and reception plans, links to hotel and airline sites, a guest book, an e-mail address and e-mail invitations.

The idea is to allow guests to make wedding plans entirely online — from booking plane tickets to buying a present.

“You see some pretty boring announcements out there,” Caraballo said. “We try to make our wedding Web sites fun for family and friends,” with music and themes, such as Coleman’s Mexican-inspired site.

Also — and here’s the key — there’s an online registry. Local retailers, including Boulder’s Peppercorn, get a link and the opportunity to host a wedding couple’s gift list.

This is inexpensive for the retailer, with yearly fees ranging from $30 for a simple store listing to $350 for an advertising banner. Where Caraballo and Coleman make money is in Web site design for retailers who aren’t online but want assistance in building a site.

In May, A Web Wedding reported $10,000 in revenue for site building.

“We must be on to something,” Caraballo said. “The great thing about the Internet is if it’s done correctly, it’s very lucrative.”

In upcoming months, Caraballo and Coleman plan to expand A Web Wedding’s scope. They’re starting an advertising campaign in July, and are working out partnerships with search engines.

Eventually, Caraballo said, he and Coleman would like to have a national vendor base, but admits “acquiring clients is going to take some enticing.” One option is merging with a company that has a strong database. Another is franchise sales; hiring sales contractors in cities like Phoenix. The contractors would keep a percentage of the retailer’s site design fees.

In anticipation of an influx of happy couples anxious to announce their weddings to their Net friends, Caraballo is lining up students in college computer design classes to design new sites. Students would get 50 percent of the fees couples pay for wedding Web sites.

The average American wedding can cost anywhere from $16,000 to $22,000, depending on which bridal magazine you read.

In fact, weddings are such big business that the financial planning site www.quicken.com devotes pages to nuptial money-saving tips.

The Web hasn’t been slow to capitalize on this lucrative market. There’s www.wedfind.com, which lists wedding tips ranging from bridal showers to honeymoons. You can find planning advice at www.the-wedding-pages.com and www.weddinghelpline.com. The Wedding Network, www.weddingnetwork.com, is an online registry with 45 nationwide retailers listed. There’s also www.theknot.com, a Manhattan-based site that offers advice, gift…

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