When Jane McKenna and Brian Dunne were planning their wedding, which took place shortly before the beginning of the pandemic in December 2019, they were unimpressed by the budget calculators that were available to them.
The Covid-19 newlyweds decided to make their own improved version and thought that other couples in Ireland could benefit from using it too. This idea led to JaneyMac.ie, a dedicated wedding platform to help couples plan their wedding, while also offering professional wedding suppliers a platform to market their goods and services directly to their customers.
The website provides a number of planning tools, such as the budget calculator, which they claim is the only one in Ireland that allows you to change your guest numbers and instantly see an updated summary of your budget. The entirely free-to-use platform also has a task tracker, which can tell you at a glance how your wedding day plans are coming along and what tasks need to be completed, as well as a guest list manager, designed to keep an eye on rolling RSVPs.
When planning their wedding, Jane and Brian played to their individual strengths for the best possible outcome and this is what they have applied to their newly-launched website, too. Brian, who studied mathematics and currently works in finance, manages the budgeting and numbers aspect of things, while Jane, who has a fashion design and teaching background, covers the artistic and creative side.
Brian commented: “In terms of the website, it’s almost split in two between us. I had more of a role in building the website and the planning tools, while the wedding shop, the handmade elements and the blogs are all Jane’s domain.
“The difference with our budget calculator is the detail, giving you a summary of the cost of your wedding, what you’ve spent so far, what you have left in savings and you can track it month by month and week by week in the lead up to your wedding. If you make any changes to the number of guests or to an expense, you’ll see an update of your summary at the end.”
“We’ve had hundreds of couples sign up via Instagram so far and we were surprised by how much interest there’s been in the wedding shop, where we sell jewellery and Jane’s handmade stationery and accessories. On top of that, we’ve launched an engagement gift card as the ideal gift for anyone who may be starting out on their wedding planning journey”, Brian added.
Originally from Birr, Co. Offaly, the couple are now based out of Clane, Co. Kildare, and are balancing the management of the website on evenings and weekends, while continuing to work their day jobs.
Jane studied fashion design in Limerick School of Art and Design but ultimately felt a vocation to become a secondary school teacher, where she now applies her design experience to the classroom and to JaneyMac.ie.
“I love writing the blog posts, as I’m quite passionate about the fact that you can still have the wedding that you want at an affordable price. There’s nothing wrong with doing some things yourself, which sometimes people don’t have the confidence to do. Whether you’re creative or not, there are some really simple DIY pieces and I include a step-by-step guide to make it very straightforward”, she explained.
The art and textiles teacher’s skills with the sewing machine came in particularly handy when creating her wedding dress, which she designed and made herself. She said: “I always knew that I would make my own dress. My attitude is that, rather than spending thousands paying someone else, I could do it for a fraction of that, which is the ethos we have on JaneyMac.ie.
“I’ve always been conscious of the environment from the point of view of reusing textiles and a lot of the DIY we encourage has an element of up-cycling. We’ve also decided to promote other Irish businesses and suppliers as much as we can, as we all need each other’s support after a difficult time for businesses.
“I’m very particular about what pieces we include on the website shop. My priority is to choose items that are affordable but that maintain a luxury look. There are enough costs associated with weddings, such as paying for the venue and music, so we are trying to guide people on where they could save, while maintaining their desired aesthetic.”
“I can’t imagine what couples have been going through with the challenges that Covid-19 has created. My best advice to people in the planning stage is to try not to stress because there’s nothing that you can do and don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. I’m hoping that our website might also be a means of alleviating a bit of that stress, to highlight how looking at your wedding with a bit of creativity could be a significant cost saver”, she advised.