MarriedinPalmBeach.com is the first website that focuses only on Palm Beach County for lists of venues and vendors.
Getting married in Palm Beach County? There’s a website for that.
In fact, there’s a local wedding expert behind the wedding website for that, too.
Wedding planner-turned-entrepreneur Stefany Allongo drew from her years of knowledge to create MarriedinPalmBeach.com.
Allongo said hers is the first website that pulls together only Palm Beach County venues, vendors and services to help couples plan their weddings.
Allongo said she saw a need for the website after years spent as a wedding planner. Many online lists lumped Palm Beach County in with Miami-Dade or Broward counties. This made choosing a venue, plus all the vendors needed for a wedding, more difficult than it already was, she said.
“There was nothing specific to us,” Allongo said. ”Palm Beach County is a different style than the counties to our south.“
After complaining about the problem one too many times, Allongo’s husband challenged her. “He said, ‘Why don’t you just fix it?’”
MarriedinPalmBeach.com was born.
The site has lists of local venues, planners, florists, caterers, cakes, photographers, bands, DJs and other vendors.
The site also features a blog, written by Allongo, that breaks down costs for different weddings, showing options for various budgets. “We want to help people get real, so readers can see what these budgets allowed,” Allongo said.
A popular blog post on the website is about unusual places to host a wedding. They include the Palm Beach Zoo, the FitTeam Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens, and a West Palm Beach house dubbed the Rich Hippies House.
MarriedinPalmBeach.com is profitable due to online ads posted on the site, Allongo said. While she is the face of the 3-year-old website, her husband, Anthony Fuger, does all the tech support.
Allongo said the county’s already-big wedding business is expected to grow bigger, thanks to several hotels opening in Palm Beach County that will offer interesting new venues.
Also boosting wedding traffic is the county’s growing population, including young professionals working at tech-oriented jobs. These couples, Allongo found, are eager to support local vendors.
About 70 percent of couples who host weddings in the county have some connection to the area, Allongo said. But the remaining 30 percent select Palm Beach County for a destination wedding, meaning all those new hotel rooms are needed for visiting guests.
In addition to her website, Allongo is partnering with the National Association of Wedding Professionals to host her first wedding expo in January.
Dubbed “Love Under the Palms,” the show will offer a chance for couples to meet selected local vendors. Food, drink and a fashion show are featured. The event will be held Jan. 26 at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach. For more information, check out www.loveunderthepalms.com.
Name: Stefany Allongo
Title: Founder of Married in Palm Beach
Education: MBA and MS in marketing from Clemson University; BA from University of Miami
Family: Married with 2 children
About your company: MarriedinPalmBeach.com is the only online wedding planning resource solely dedicated to weddings in the Palm Beaches. We focus on providing unique and useful content geared to local and destination couples wanting to get married in Palm Beach County, including our free Wedding Planning Guide.
The site is optimized for Palm Beach specific wedding searches, garnering over 6,000 views per month. We also strive to have the most comprehensive list of wedding vendors local to the Palm Beaches. MIPB is helping couples plan amazing weddings by connecting them with our wonderful, local wedding vendors.
First paying job and what you learned from it: My first paying job was as a communications assistant at the Broadway League in New York City. It was an incredible opportunity to be a part of the team that plans and executes the Tony Awards and associated promotional events. I learned so much about working on a team, planning mega events, and creating a strategy to best fit your goals.
First break in the business: I launched my wedding planning business during the recession of 2009, so money was tight across the board. My big break came in the form of my first paying wedding client! It was such an exhilarating feeling.
How your business has changed: I started my career in the wedding industry as a wedding planner 10 years ago. During that time, I quickly realized that the available online resources for couples looking for wedding vendors lumped the Palm Beaches into the greater South Florida market to the detriment of those couples. I yearned for an online resource dedicated to the Palm Beaches, so I built it myself. It was a major shift from my previous work, but something I felt was greatly needed in our market.
Best business book: “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. I love the analogy of getting the right people on the bus.
Best piece of business advice you ever received: My father also is an entrepreneur and gave me this piece of advice years ago, “Don’t mind what other people are doing. Focus on you and everything will fall into place.”
What you tell young people about your business: It’s a labor of love! Whether as a wedding planner or running the website, you truly have to enjoy this niche.
Many successful people learn from failure. Do you have a failure you can share and what you learned from it? I get told “no” a lot. It’s all a learning experience. How can I change my messaging and find a way to connect with someone in a better way? I learn every time someone tells me no.
What do you see ahead for Palm Beach County: Palm Beach County is growing tremendously! I’m loving the rise in the tech industry. It’s drawing great young talent to our area, which is fantastic. Also, the booming craft brewing community is something my husband appreciates.
Power lunch spot: RH Rooftop Restaurant
Where we’d find you when you’re not at the office: When not in the office, you’ll likely find me cheering on my alma maters’ football teams, catching a Broadway show at Kravis Center, or wandering Lion Country Safari with my family. Where else can you hand-feed a giraffe?!?
Favorite smartphone app: Trello! It’s an amazing tool to keep you organized.
What is the most important trait you look for when hiring? Willingness to learn, a strong drive, and the ability to think on your feet.