When Maggie Lord started her website Rustic Wedding Chic in 2008, she had zero experience in the online content space. The middle school teacher had just finished graduate school and was planning her own rustic lakeside wedding.

“I could not find inspiration except for in physical magazines,” she said. “There was no Pinterest and no Instagram and very limited online wedding content — and practically zero covering the rustic wedding vertical.”

Based in Fairfield, Connecticut, Lord grew the website into a full-blown digital media company with millions of monthly website readers and tens of millions of monthly Pinterest impressions.

“Rustic Wedding Chic had grown to such a scale, I felt it needed a larger company to own it so it could benefit from the larger human and financial capital,” she said.

So, in February 2020, she sent an email to the CEO of David’s Bridal.

How Lord grew content site Rustic Wedding Chic

Weddings have taken over the internet. Google “wedding inspiration,” and you’ll find everything from dark and moody fall weddings to Disney fairy tale weddings to contemporary art deco weddings.

But in 2008, that wasn’t the case.

Enter: Rustic Wedding Chic, with its photos from real rustic weddings, including boho weddings, mountain weddings and vintage style weddings.

Brides could also find wedding planning tips, DIY ideas, style inspiration and more. The popular Ask Maggie column featured reader questions that Lord answered. Topics ranged from garland ideas to registry essentials — even how to use a canoe at your wedding. Brides could also tap into the national vendor directory, which allowed brides to search venues, photographers, flowers, cakes, rentals and more by state.

Because the niche wasn’t yet saturated, Lord leveraged smart SEO practices to increase traffic to the site. Pinterest and Instagram also played major roles in the site’s growth.

“We made sure to jump onto these platforms early and grow that audience,” she explained. “It was clear that the more visual social platforms, like Pinterest and Instagram, were going to perform better with our audience.”

Behind the scenes, Lord was founder and CEO — and full-time writer. Monday through Friday, she published two articles a day for 12 years. At sale, she had four contractors: a social media assistant, a tech advisor, a vendor directory community manager and an ad sales manager.

She couldn’t share details about the company’s revenue at sale, but she did tell us it was generated from four primary sources: Google Ads, branded content, partnerships and the site’s vendor directory.

Lord also wrote six books on wedding planning, “to bring my expertise offline, reach a new audience and diversify the revenue streams,” she said.

A perfect match: Rustic Wedding Chic and David’s Bridal

By 2020, more than a decade after Rustic Wedding Chic launched, Lord knew it was time to sell.

“The company was doing great, and we did not feel we had to sell, but I did know that both the company and myself were ready for our next adventure,” she said.

Lord connected with an advisor through a personal contact and got to work. She compiled essential metrics and information she knew buyers would seek. She crafted the narrative behind the company’s inception, highlighting its purpose and the specific problem it solved.

“Having everything well-prepared in advance is key to navigating this complex process successfully,” she said.

In February 2020, she reached out directly to the CEO of David’s Bridal, Jim Marcum. In early March, Lord met with the team in person. Then, with COVID cases rising, the process moved long-distance — to phone calls and Zoom meetings.

Lord said that, although COVID began presenting many unknowns for the wedding industry around this time, it ultimately did not push her to sell. She also said it didn’t impact the business before sale.

By October, the 6-figure acquisition was announced.

In the press release, David’s Bridal explained Rustic Wedding Chic’s important role in helping the company grow its suite of digital planning tools. Earlier in 2020, the company had launched an online vision board, digital planning checklist, website builder and more.

“However, David’s found there was a step before defining her [the bride’s] vision, where she needed to see all the exciting options and latest trends available to her,” the press release reads. “This is where Rustic Wedding Chic comes in.”

Lord joined David’s Bridal as the VP of partnerships from 2020 to 2022. Then, she served as the company’s head of wedding planning until February 2023. Now, she is a strategic advisor, working primarily with small and mid-sized women-owned businesses.

“My aim is to provide guidance and support across a range of challenges,” she said. “I’ve noticed that many businesses in this category lack a dedicated C-suite or a board of advisors to consult for idea generation and strategic planning. This is where I step in to bridge the gap.”

She’s also collaborating with several companies that are navigating the path to sale. In fact, that’s her biggest piece of advice for founders looking to sell: Work with someone who has been through the process and can help you quarterback.