Whether you’re starting afresh with a career change or utilising heaps of existing skills and experience, starting a wedding planning business is relatively low cost and can be financially rewarding if you do it right. The average cost of a wedding in the UK (2021) is currently at £30,000 and there are huge markets for easing that inevitable stress on couples. We’ve revealed our greatest tips on how to start a wedding planning business to see you on your way!
Decide on your offering
It’s important to decide from the offset whether you’d like to provide a full wedding planning service that includes everything from venue finding to napkin choices, or whether you’re particularly skilled or experienced in one or a few key elements of wedding planning and would like to focus on those. Are you up for sourcing a seamstress or a florist or a cakemaker, or are you a project management pro who can keep everybody in line?
Utilise those handy tricks and relationships
If you have existing experience in wedding planning (if you don’t you should probably get some training at this stage…) think about the relationships that you can utilise in your new venture. Perhaps there are some great suppliers that you’ve worked with in the past, or some tricks you’ve learned along the way. A great start here is to consider using venue finding websites – many focus on specific locations and allow you to input criteria that your couples are looking for. This is one of my favourite sites for wedding venues, with a large collection of historic, iconic and unique venues of varying sizes and styles.
Plan how to promote yourself
It’s important to have some idea of how you intend to source business before you begin. How will people know you exist? Then, why should they choose you? Being able to market yourself is an important part of starting any business, but remember – this is (probably) the most important day so far for your couples and trust is imperative.
Plus, when you’re planning your costs, you’ll need to include your marketing. Do you need a website? Can you do this yourself? Do you have photography from weddings you’ve managed in the past? How are your clients going to find you – do you need social media profiles, an SEO strategy, advertising budget?
There are some things that apply whatever kind of wedding you’re planning, for example what you and your couples need to know from a venue (corkage, parking, décor or music restrictions, licensing etc). Standardise these processes for yourself with a list of questions to ask a wedding venue, recommended alcohol quantities or your preferred suppliers.
All businesses should have the right insurance and, as we know, when it comes to live events things can often crop up. Consider the type(s) of business insurance that you need:
- Public liability coverage: Property damage or injury cover
- Employers’ liability coverage : If any of your employees become unwell or injured
- Professional indemnity cover: For if somebody loses money as a result of your service(s) or advice
- Business and office equipment coverage: Covers your work equipment (you may often have your laptop on-the-go!)
- Legal expenses: Support for any future legal costs
- Personal accident: In case you get injured at work
Rates and packages
Wedding planners tend to receive a commission of between 10 and 15% of the total wedding budget in the UK, whilst fix fees may be applied for large-scale events. Explore your local markets to identify your competition, what they do, what they charge and figure out how you want to charge.
You can also work out standard package offerings as well as bespoke wedding planning, to include the common essentials like venue finding, price negotiation, project management, supplier sourcing or on-the-day support.
Implement your own stress management strategies
We all know that planning a wedding can be one of the most stressful things a couple will do – and in taking on their wedding, you’re taking on that stress, too. If you’re already a wedding planner, you may have great strategies in place for managing those hiccups but when it’s your own business in the mix, too, you’ve got a recipe for stress! Starting any business is stressful and can be financially demanding, so be sure to think about how you’ll manage these worries alongside being responsible for people’s weddings.
Get out there
If you’re a seasoned wedding planner, you probably have a little black book of wonderful suppliers that you can call upon to support your new business. Ensure that you have enough to be able to recommend to your couples in the event that your #1 florist is working on another event that day, on holiday or unwell. Whilst you might feel particularly confident with suppliers that you’ve worked with in the past, it’s always a good time to expand your network.