If you’re tired of giving or receiving yet another toaster or blender as a wedding gift, the people behind Honeymoonwishes.com may have a solution for you: let your friends and family pay for your honeymoon.
San Diego-based internet entrepreneurs Kristin Stark and Lee Cornwell were tired of traditional wedding registry offerings when they realized newlyweds could use help paying for their honeymoons rather than stocking their kitchen cabinets, and Honeymoonwishes.com was born.
The concept is simple. Rather than signing up for gifts at Pottery Barn, a bride and groom-to-be register at Honeymoonwishes.com, specifying what their ideal honeymoon would be. Then well-wishers contribute to the dream, either pledging money to an account for a trip to a swank resort or cruise, or purchasing a specific gift, like a spa treatment, fancy dinner or sightseeing excursion.
The site was launched 6 years ago, but Stark is pleasantly surprised that business has boomed in the last few years as the economy has tanked. Traffic grew 50 percent from 2007 to 2008 and is up an additional 34 percent already this year. In all, over 85,000 couples have used the service.
Stark notes that as wedding prices soar and couples stop splurging on luxuries, the honeymoon is often the first thing that gets cut. She feels her site allows newlyweds to take the honeymoon they otherwise would never be able to afford on their own.
“We’ve planned all sorts of honeymoons, from Vietnam to Antarctica,” says Stark, whose own Jamaican wedding to business partner Cornwell in 2007 was interrupted by Hurricane Dean.
The couple employs a staff of eight in their San Diego office, including graphic artists and web designers. They say the business is profitable even without selling advertising on the site. The company’s low overhead ensures that the 7 percent transaction fee charged on every registry keeps the business humming along smoothly.
So well, in fact, that the company is launching Anniversarywishes.com, applying the same idea to couples who may have missed the honeymoon the first time around and hope to get away on their anniversary. They are also expanding overseas, with an office in the United Kingdom set to open this summer, along with a new site, www.honeymoonwishes.co.uk, to service the British market.
As for Stark, “My husband says my whole life is one big honeymoon,” she laughs.