Confetti leads the wedding party

Confetti has announced both a successful round of funding and a major e-commerce deal with Marks & Spencer. These put Confetti as the leading wedding services site in Europe, ideally situated to take a slice of the UK wedding market– estimated by Forrester at £7.6bn annually.

As part of the new round of funding, Confetti has acquired both Wedding Guide UK and Web Wedding from Durlacher, and has separately acquired gift services company Burley House Weddings. In addition, Confetti and M&S have agreed on a major e-commerce deal to cross-promote wedding gift services.

The acquisitions of Wedding Guide UK and Web Wedding eliminate the main UK-based competition and secure Confetti’s lead in the market. This is perfect timing: Alafolie, a French-owned wedding organisation portal, has recently announced it will enter the UK and Spanish markets in November.

M&S is an ideal match for Confetti. The retailer’s lagging e-commerce activities get a much-needed boost, and Confetti secures a comprehensive branded gift service. The UK wedding gift market is a lucrative one, worth an estimated £3.6bn a year, and competitor Debenhams has already signalled its intention to enter this market by tying up with weddingChannel.com.

As media companies realise advertising revenues alone are insufficient to support their Web ventures, there will be a growing tendency to partner with both retailers and other content sites to create what Forrester calls ultimate destinations’. These are sites that provide a one-stop shop for all the information and product needs of a chosen interest group. With these deals, Confetti is well on the way to creating an ultimate destination for wedding services.

Combined with recent deals with Moss Bros and British Airways, these agreements give Confetti a significant head start in UK wedding services. Its publicised aim to widen its services into special occasions will only work if the key audience, the getting-marrieds, are kept happy.

M&S gift services will suit a large number of couples, but not all. Many couples are interested in lodging lists at a number of retailers, a perfect application for the Web. Users should be able to create a list from M & S, Debenhams and Harrods, and manage them all from one password-protected area of Confetti.

Wedding needs don’t stop at the altar. Couples will appreciate post-wedding lists of who bought them what gift from which wedding gift supplier, email reminders from Confetti to send thank-you letters, digital photo albums from Boots for both the wedding and honeymoon photos, and wedding anniversary gift suggestions from selfridges. This will ensure a comprehensive service and a loyal user base.