NY-based Zola: Wedding website, gift registry in one

- Zola is considered the fastest growing company in the $90 billion wedding planning and gift industry, serving the 2 million couples that get married every year.

CEO Shan-Lyn Ma co-founded Zola in New York City in 2013 when all of her friends were getting married and all of their department store registries were making her nuts. After struggling to find things on those registries, Shan and co-founder Nobu Nakaguchi decided to create a site that was more personalized and offered more than just stuff.

Shan realized people wanted products, experiences, cash funds, and honeymoon funds all in one place. She says Zola is still the only place where couples can do that.

Zola also lets couples control when things ship. Zola won't send anything until you say you're ready to receive it. You can even exchange gifts before they ship, through the Zola app, for something else and no one has to know.

Over the past few years, Zola has expanded exponentially as a company, raising $40 million in venture capital funding and growing the site to include wedding websites, checklists, and guest lists.

Zola has also set up a townhouse in the Financial District to host events and invite couples to check out registry items in person. Shan says couples still love to come and see certain categories of products whether its plates, towels, or bedding.

And they still love to register for certain classics like the KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Le Creuset, or the Cuisinart Waffle Maker. Every year, Shan says, those continue to be the things everyone wants.

But millennial wedding registries are becoming more lifestyle-focused, too. Shan says people are now registering for things like Blue Apron food subscriptions or Winc Wine Club memberships.

Camping is also a huge trend.

And this year, she is even seeing a lot of drones on registries.

Another hot trend this year? The wedding date 8/18/18. It's a Saturday and has become one of the most popular wedding dates of the year.

Shan's advice for couples getting married? Don't stress about your registry. You can always change your mind, exchange things you don't want, or add things as you go along.

Advice for wedding guests? Stick to the registry! It's there for a reason.

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