Wedding planning startup offers venues a custom, AI platform
By: Miranda Perez
A startup that some have described as an "AirBNB for wedding venues,” has expanded and rebranded, with a special focus on Millennials and Gen Z.
Formerly known as Mayflower Venues, Boston-based Weven helps couples find unique wedding venues through its software and artificial intelligence platform. Venues use the platform to offer a personalized online-planning experiences to clients.
“Pre-pandemic couples that live in urban areas, for the most part — more specifically Millennials and Gen Z — care more than any previous generation care about self expression, especially on their wedding day,” co-founder and CEO Sam McElhinney said.
Weven says it aims to provide every couple, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, the wedding of their dreams — a factor that contributed to renaming the company to “WE”ven, emphasizing that inclusivity.
The company has 12 full-time employees and is targeting a headcount of 20 by fall.
With a staff that is 70% women and site traffic being 85% women, “Diversity in hiring for us has been really important. Compared to most tech industries, we got here by hiring the best, smartest person who cared the most about solving the problem,” McElhinney said.
The company allows venues to manage their entire business in one AI system that is customized to their specific property. By collecting and leveraging venue-specific data, Weven streamlines touring, booking and planning for both venues and their clients. It then invites couples to a custom planning portal where they can discover vendors, coordinate with their venue, build a wedding website and manage all of their planning in one place.
Unlike traditional venues that offer limited themes and catering options, Weven venues works to create that essence for a couple who “loves hiking, organic farming, or a mountaintop in Vermont.
Couples want this more personal story from the venue itself to really connect with them and give them the chance to make those personalizations,” McElhinney said.
But in that same sentiment, creating all those precise details comes with a headache. Weven’s system accounts for all the quirky add-ons that make a wedding "one of one."
“Another trend we've picked up on is the whole idea of being able to plan remotely — and that's also something our technology provides these venues,” Product Lead Meaghan Werle said.
As the company grows post-pandemic, Weven values its Boston roots for taking it so far.
“Boston is home to huge (consumer) marketplaces, like Wayfair or Drizly. We have learned a lot from friends and advisors at those companies (and many more!) locally that just adds so much value to be able to stand on the shoulders of giants like that,” McElhinney said.