BYU grads produce first nationwide wedding guide

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    By Rebecca Silva

    Utahbrides.com, a company started by BYU students in 2000, released the nation”s first DVD wedding guide last year to help brides and their families find vendors and efficiently plan their weddings.

    Andrea Heid, 25, a former BYU student from Eagle River, Alaska, and her husband, Danny, launched Utahbrides.com after struggling to plan their own wedding.

    The Web site provides information on venues, florists, photographers and designers so wedding planning is more convenient.

    “In this last year…we asked brides what they would prefer. Would they prefer a magazine or a book or a DVD wedding guide,” said Heid. “And 85 percent of the brides said that they would love a DVD wedding guide.”

    Utahbrides.com teamed up with production crews to film 60 commercials in three to four months. The team carried out its own shooting, editing and production.

    The team also held a fashion show at Thanksgiving Point, featuring gowns, tuxedos and bridesmaid dresses to create a 17 minute fashion show on the DVD.

    The brides prefer to look at the products on video, rather than look at a flat picture in a magazine, Heid said.

    “We just went through and pulled out all the best ideas, all the best information and decided what we thought would make it better or more useful to the bride,” Heid said.

    The DVD sells for $16.95 at the BYU Bookstore and Barnes and Noble, but are free with shipping and handling if ordered from the company”s Web site. Each DVD comes with a quick reference guide and discount cards.

    The main sponsors of Utahbrides.com”s include Masseys Jewelers, RC Willey, Destinations Travel, America First Credit Union, Rivetal and Star 102.7.

    The company plans to have a Web site running in every state within the next three months. It has already pioneered Arizonabrides.com and Californiabrides.com.

    By franchising, the company can expand nationwide and create DVD wedding guides for each state as well.

    The success of the DVD wedding guide also triggered outside opportunities in production and advertising for Utahbrides.com. Companies are asking Utahbrides.com to create advertising DVDs to promote their products and services.

    “It”s funny how companies evolve and change,” Heid said. “We”re actually starting to branch off and do a lot of corporate work and kind of become a multimedia advertising company.”

    Continual growth of Utahbrides.com”s also generates a continual workload for the company”s owners and employees. Half of the employees are BYU students, trying to balance school with work.

    “It really is a lot of stress,” said Owen Ala, 24, from Soldotna, Alaska, majoring in business. “On top of schoolwork, it”s quite a commitment. It never leaves you.”

    Camille Ala, a 23-year-old BYU student from Eagle River, Alaska, stays busy doing the accounting for Utahbrides.com in addition to working through BYU”s accounting program.

    “It”s stressful at times, but it”s really rewarding,” Ala said. “Just being able to apply what I learn in school to the business and to the real world.”

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