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Episode 15: Marry My City Allows Bride and Grooms to Register for Local Experiences

Marry My City in DSM USA

October 26, 2018

Your loved one is getting married and you’re trying to find them the perfect gift. After you procrastinate too long to make that memorable keepsake, you decide to check out their registry only to find it limited to items found in big box retailers. You print the list of stuff and see the items that remain are a Crock-Pot and an oven glove. So, you opt for the safe bet — a gift card.

If only there was another way. 

That’s what sprang to Kaitlin Byers’ mind when she went through that cycle several times with friends’ weddings. Frustrated with having to shop at big box stores for wedding registries, Byers teamed up with Tallis Strub to come up with Marry My City — an online platform that allows couples to curate and create their own wedding registry with local experiences rather than stuff.  Think cooking classes and date nights at local mansions.

Registering for Experiences

The two, who met at a young professionals group in Cedar Rapids, developed the platform and tested it for the first time for Byers’ own wedding.

“We both had that clear frustration. We had identified that problem,” Byers told Startup Stories DSM podcast host Mike Colwell. “So, for our wedding, my husband and I actually used Marry My City as the MVP. We didn’t put it out there that it was our company but jump started a platform and said, ‘alright, we’re going to put all of these items up that really speak to us’ and we sold them, and it sold up very quickly.”

Similar to creating a registry like the big box stores offer, Marry My City is full of local experiences guests can gift to the couple.  

The platform launched in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, and in April 2018 began catering to couples in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Kansas City is their next stop.

Nationally, Byers says 75 percent of couples getting married already live together and are well established. The average age for a bride is 29 and for the groom its 31.

“I think what’s key is that when we connect with couples and say ‘experiences, don’t need more stuff,’ their eyes light up,” Byers said. “We provide them with an opportunity to still register for something … this gives them an opportunity to choose what those experiences are.”

The most popular item on the site? Strub says it’s a three-month subscription of coffee.

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Startup Stories DSM

Startup Stories DSM is a podcast featuring conversations with entrepreneurs who share both their victories and failures on their paths to success. It is produced by the Greater Des Moines Partnership.