Who doesn’t love a wedding – the romance, the flowers, the dresses! No wonder you want to be a wedding planner. The joy of being part of a new couple’s big day can, however, be overshadowed by the stress involved with planning someone else’s wedding.
You’ve got to set up your business properly from the get-go and make sure you’re well-poised to plan amazing weddings while watching your own profits grow. We’ve got all the secrets to share with you and help you build the business of your dreams, planning the weddings of your clients’ dreams.
7 Steps to Start a Wedding Planning Business
It’s tempting to just jump right in and start with the fun stuff like choosing venues and vetting caterers, but for your business to succeed, you need to do some initial planning.
There are some bureaucratic processes to get out of the way as well. Work your way through the following steps, taking the time to make smart decisions and set yourself up for success.
1. Choose Your Target Audience and Services
Sit down and think about your ideal clients. Do you like the idea of planning a big flashy event with lots of decor? Or are smaller, more intimate gatherings more appealing to you? Are you more interested in helping the budget-conscious bride and groom or those looking to splurge? Maybe you love to travel and you want to focus on destination weddings. The possibilities are endless.
Try to narrow down your target audience as much as possible – this will make it easier to market yourself to the right clients. Keep in mind, though, that just because you’re focusing on one type of client doesn’t mean you won’t also attract others, so you don’t have to feel that you’re limiting yourself.
You’ll also need to decide what type of services you want to offer. Some popular options to consider include:
- All-in planning – this means being involved and planning the entire shebang from start to finish. You’ll provide guidance and assistance in finding the ideal venue, vetting and selecting the vendors (for everything from invitations to caterer to decor), dress-shopping, and more.
- Day-of only – some couples want to plan their weddings themselves but will want to hire someone to manage the big day itself. This can include handling all of the details of the day like making sure the venue is set up, the flowers have arrived, the best man isn’t too drunk, etc. You’d also be there to troubleshoot any last-minute problems that crop up.
- Customized – you can also offer to create customized packages depending on what your clients want and need. This can be some combination of pre-event help and managing the day itself.
Obviously, the more involved in the process you are, the more you can and should charge. You’ll need to decide on a base price for each type of service you offer as well as prices for any extras.
2. Write a Business Plan
Whether you’re the only one who ever looks at your business plan or whether you use it to get funding from investors, don’t skip this step. Creating a full-fledged business plan will force you to think strategically and create a roadmap for your business and its growth.
A business plan is not set in stone, and you can always go back and revise it if you need to make any changes. In fact, it’s a good idea to check in with your business plan every once in a while and track your progress or make adjustments.
Your business plan should include sections like:
- Business summary
- Market and competitors analysis
- List of services
- Marketing plan
You might also want to include a section listing out your preferred vendors. You can add to this as you work with different vendors and identify ones that you like and want to continue doing business with.
You can also use this opportunity to come up with the perfect name for your business, which you’ll need for the next step.
3. Register Your Business and Other Bureaucracy
The rules may be different depending on where you live, but you’re likely to have to take some steps to officially register your business. You’ll most likely be registering as either a sole proprietorship or a limited liability corporation, both of which require just a bit of paperwork.
You’ll need to make sure that no other company already exists with the name you’ve chosen and then you can register it and make it your own. It might be worth consulting with a business lawyer at this point to make sure that you’ve checked all the boxes and set up your business correctly.
If you’re in the USA, you’ll also need an EIN (employer identification number), especially if you plan on hiring employees even down the line. This is very easy to get from the IRS website. This number will also be used when filing taxes and opening a business bank account.
Now’s the time to also check whether your local municipality requires any particular licensing or registration. It’s also a good idea to get insurance to cover you in case of any unforeseen situations.
4. Set Up a Payment Infrastructure
A super important step in setting up your wedding planning business is figuring out how you’ll get paid. Some clients may be perfectly happy to pay you in cash, but that can be inconvenient for you. Many clients will appreciate the option to pay with a credit card, digital wallet, or any of the myriad other payment options available today.
With Pay.com, you can accept a huge variety of payment methods and let your clients use whatever they prefer. With our quick and simple onboarding process, you can be ready to accept payments by the time you find your first client.
Once your account is set up, you can create direct Pay Links, web links that you can send to your clients via email or SMS. When they click a link, they can pay with the payment method of their choice. You can also take payment details over the phone and enter the information manually.
5. Define Your Brand
The wedding planning space is fairly crowded and you’ll definitely need to come up with unique ways to differentiate yourself. Your brand is what will get you noticed, so you’ll want to put some effort into designing it in a way that best represents you and what you can offer.
Some important factors to consider when building your brand include:
- Your unique selling points that clearly differentiate you and make you better than your peers. This may be some specific specialty, like outdoor weddings, or it could be certain packages that you offer, just to name some examples.
- The visuals and logo that will define your brand. You can easily find inexpensive designers on a site like Fiverr to help you create a logo on a budget. You’ll also want to choose colors and images that best represent the style and vision of your business.
- The content and voice and tone that you use in communicating with your audience. Do you want to be humorous and playful? Sophisticated and serious? The choice is yours, just be sure to be consistent with whatever tone you choose.
6. Create an Online Presence
Once you’ve got your brand and your logo and you know the services you want to offer, the next step is to start building your online presence to let people know that you’re open for business.
A website of your own is a must-have, as are social media accounts, especially on Instagram, Pinterest, and probably TikTok (although that might depend more on your target market). Your website is the perfect place to showcase your services, testimonials from prior happy clients as soon as you have them, price lists, etc.
You might want to consider including a blog section on your website where you can share wedding planning tips and other useful tidbits. You can also highlight particular venues or caterers and get them to reciprocate and feature you on their websites.
Keep your social media pages updated with lots of pictures and content showing off your talents and giving potential clients a taste of what they’ll get when they hire you. Learn which hashtags are trending and participate in conversations on other people’s pages too.
Engaging with your followers is a great way to build community, so make sure you always respond to any comments. Ask questions and encourage people to join in the conversation.
7. Promote Your Business and Start Planning Weddings
You can get a lot of free organic traffic from your social media accounts, but you should also consider investing in some paid advertising to really get the word out there. You can play around with Facebook and Instagram ads and Google ads yourself or you can hire a professional to work on it for you.
Word of mouth is also a great way to promote a wedding planning business. Happy customers will tell their friends, and people getting married do tend to have plenty of other friends at the same stage of life. Get your family and friends to pass on the word about your new business too.
The Pros and Cons of Starting Your Own Wedding Planning Business
As with any business, there are pluses and minuses to being a wedding planner. Here’s a brief rundown of the top pros and cons to consider.
- You get to be your own boss and make all the rules.
- You can choose who you want to work with (and say bye-bye to any potentially difficult clients).
- It’s up to you how much of your revenue you draw as a salary and how much you invest back into your business.
- If you’re not ready to take the plunge full-time, you can start out slowly and take on just one or two weddings until you’re ready to ramp up the business.
- People will always get married, so there’s no worries that the market will dry up.
- You’re likely to be working a lot of weekends.
- A wedding is a super emotional time and some clients will definitely be difficult (no matter how good your intuition is, at some point you’re bound to get stuck with a difficult character and you’ll have to see their event through to the end).
- You may get blamed for anything that goes wrong during the wedding (and there’s bound to always be something!)
- There are more weddings in the spring and fall, so you may have some dry spells the rest of the year.
- There’s a lot of competition and it can be hard to differentiate yourself.
The Bottom Line: Is Starting a Wedding Planning Business Right for You?
Don’t let the possible challenges scare you off – if you love weddings, are super organized, good with people, and committed to putting in the hard work needed to build a business, then we say go for it!
It will feel great when you start getting paid for doing something that you love. If you sign up with Pay.com, you won’t even have to think about the technical details – you’ll send your clients a link, they’ll enter their payment details and voila…the money turns up in your bank account. You can focus on making their day the best ever.