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Wedding couple walking through a grassy area smiling holding each other's hands
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Wrap it up

Source: Leslie dela Vega

Move Over, Macy’s

Zola: Wedding Registry Done Right

Why you should care

Scan guns are so 1990. New startup Zola is like Facebook meets Pinterest meets … the Big Day. 

It’s that time of the year again — when your Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of zoomed-in photos of your friends’ left ring fingers. Yup, it’s engagement season, kids, and what does that mean? Wedding registries.

Contain your excitement.

Not every almost-married couple dreams of full sets of silverware, a fact the wedding industrial complex has glommed on to. The new craze in registries expands past Cuisinarts and bath towels — like RegistryLove and I Do Foundation. But now Kevin Ryan, the founder of the well-trusted and widely popular shopping website Gilt, has jumped on the bandwagon, too.

Friends can contribute to big-ticket items such as furniture or family cars — or cash funds that help pay for the honeymoon.

New wedding registry Zola takes the popular aspects of wedding planning — choosing gifts, customizing a couple’s website, planning a honeymoon, financing the party — and fuses them together. The site has that clean, inviting Gilt design, plus plenty of room for the fun stuff — like old family photos and stock shots of, say, dogs, dinner recipes, Denmark — allowing couples to virtually plan their dreamy life together. Kind of like a joint Facebook profile with a personalized URL. As TechCrunch points out, the user experience is “strikingly similar to creating a board on Pinterest.”

Screengrab of Zola homepage

Not every almost-married couple dreams of full sets of silverware…

Like other new-generation wedding sites, Zola encourages couples to register for gifts beyond the traditional Bloomingdale’s bounty — for experiences like music lessons, wine tasting and travel. Friends can contribute to big-ticket items such as furniture or family cars, or to cash funds that help pay for the honeymoon or a house or even the wedding itself. Some couples request that donations be made to their favorite charity.

Importantly, Zola is easy to use for wedding guests. The interface is user-friendly, with intuitive navigation and a focus on photographs. No need to browse the couple’s registries at various websites: with Zola guests can use the site as a one-stop-shop. Especially if — and yes this happens — you don’t know the bride- or groom-to-be very well. A few pics plus a look at the kind of experiences they want to share and suddenly it feels like you’re all BFFs.

A big added bonus for registering on Zola? You can choose when you want your gifts delivered. So if you are in the process of moving or overwhelmed by the number of gift boxes piling up in your living room — cough-cough, first-world problems, cough — you can, you know, space out the delivery times.

Zola is still in its early stages — and can’t yet compare with the amount of products available at Macy’s or Williams-Sonoma. Until it bumps up its e-commerce options, affianced couples may feel restricted as far as variety of its items and brands, compared with other new registries’. But if Gilt Groupe’s 7 million loyal customers are any gauge, we think Ryan’s latest venture is one to watch. With $3.25 million in series A funding already committed, Zola is ready to start walking down the aisle.

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BW headshot of Lorena

Meet The Author Lorena O'Neil

Lorena covers religion, LGBT rights and feminism. She is also unusually fascinated by Instagram dictators.

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