Research done on national marriage and divorce rate trends between 2000 to 2020 reveals that there are nearly 2 million weddings annually.
With weddings being popular and more couples looking for unique wedding venues, you might consider setting up a wedding venue business.
While opening a venue and running wedding events might seem easy, there’s a lot more involved. You’ll need to finance the business, get the proper licenses, market it, manage it, etc.
Running a business involves many risks, and you need to be prepared and have all the details. Our comprehensive guide covers some of the basics you need to know about owning a wedding venue and ensuring it’s successful.
Owning a Wedding Venue: Everything You Need to Know
Running a wedding venue business takes a lot of sacrifice and dedication. Here are the steps you need to get started.
1. Do Your Research
It’s easy to get excited about opening a new business, but if your business isn’t meeting the market’s demand, you’ll likely close soon.
Begin by researching the types of venues in demand in your preferred location.
You can use the Wedding.Report to get specific numbers for your market. Alternatively, you can talk to wedding professionals and find out about the trade.
These numbers will tell you how many weddings you will compete for in your set price range.
Also, when doing your research, find out about the other wedding venues in the area. You don’t want to open a venue that’s very close to another.
Do your homework on what other venues have to offer, their pricing, the number of years they’ve been in business, what packages they offer, and their reputation in the area.
2. Find Out How Much It Costs to Start a Wedding Venue Business
The average cost of starting a wedding venue ranges from $45,000-$120,000. A big chunk of this budget goes to paying for the location, while the rest will go to items like decor, furniture, tents, and the stage.
Note that, on average, hiring a wedding venue costs about $15,000, and you need to factor this in when calculating your profit margins.
3. Identify Your Target Audience
Are you targeting middle-income earners, or do you want to build a luxury event business?
Once you’ve defined your target audience, you can design your services and customer experiences and choose a location based on your customers’ needs.
4. Decide on a Location
After doing your research and having the numbers, you now need to decide on your preferred location.
The location you choose is essential, whether you already have a backyard that you can convert to a wedding venue or are considering getting a new location and building from scratch.
The best wedding venue should be strategically located and attractive to couples.
Do your research and learn more about your preferred location and the laws you must follow when setting up a wedding venue.
Additionally, the location needs to be accessible to major roads and accommodate a given number of people.
When considering your preferred location, you’ll need to think of other factors:
- Parking for guests
- Whether you’re buying or leasing the location
- Amount of space you need
- Type of services you’ll be offering, like catering
- Amount of money needed for setting up the venue
5. Register Your Business and Handle the Business Legalities
After researching and determining your preferred location, it’s time to register your business now.
Registering your business will pave the way for opening a bank account, paying taxes, raising capital, and other things you may need to get your business running.
You will need to complete paperwork, tax forms, and personal liability insurance to consider when setting up a wedding venue business.
You can opt for a sole proprietorship, which allows you complete control over the business. However, you’ll also be liable for any taxes and debts owed by your company.
Alternatively, you can form an LLC, which separates you from business debts and protects your assets.
6. Find Out What Licenses and Permits You Need
When registering a business, you’ll have to get business licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.
Some states require permits for construction, selling liquor, or even providing catering services.
You may need a few permits and licenses: health licenses, doing-business-as (DBA), trademarks, patents, copyrights, and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Call the county and ask for event space code requirements and zoning information.
Find out how much you’ll need to spend auditing and inspecting the property. You can also check the website of your city or state for license requirements.
Find out if there are laws about noise levels, the number of people you can accommodate at the venue, and if any facility checks are required.
7. Build Your Professional Team
You need different people to fill out the various roles in your business.
A marketing lead to oversee your website, a manager to schedule and manage staff, an accountant, and an event planner are some roles you may need to consider when starting.
Outsourcing some of these tasks can also help reduce operational costs.
8. Determine What Other Costs Are Involved
Apart from buying or leasing a location, other operational costs are involved when setting up a wedding venue business.
For example, you’ll need to consider the cost of furniture, decor, setting up a stage or dance floor, audiovisual equipment, and other things like dishes and glasses.
Create a list of what you need to buy and other things you may want to rent from different vendors. When starting, you may consider outsourcing the catering or renting the audiovisual equipment to reduce your costs.
Furthermore, you’ll also need to consider other operating expenses like cleaning services, maintenance, office supplies, marketing costs, insurance, and more.
All these costs add to your monthly budget, and you need to account for them when running the business.
9. Open a Business Account
You’ll need to open a business bank account as this allows you to separate your costs and business costs. It also makes it simpler to track your income and file taxes.
Compare the different packages and rates the various banks offer and choose one that suits your business needs.
You may need to bring in articles of incorporation and other legal documents when running a sole proprietorship or an LLC.
10. Don’t Forget About Business Insurance
Business insurance protects your business from any unexpected events.
You may need to get Business Owner’s Policy insurance that combines coverage for your equipment, worker’s compensation, professional liability, property, commercial auto, and general liability.
11. Open Your Wedding Venue
The final step is to open your wedding venue for business.
You could provide discount packages for the first couples who book their weddings with you.
An open house is also an excellent way to get the word out about the venue. You also interact with different industry wedding professionals and vendors, creating a perfect networking opportunity.
Tips on Marketing Your Wedding Venue Business
Marketing is an essential step that you can’t ignore when starting an event venue business. It helps you build referrals and makes it easier for people to find you.
Here are some helpful tips to get you started.
Create a Website and List Your Business on Social Media and Other Search Engines
Your website provides an online presence where prospective clients can learn more about your wedding venue and the services you provide.
Sites like Squarespace, WordPress, and Wix provide an affordable way to build a website. Alternatively, you can work with a web designer to create a custom website.
Working with a web designer can also help you incorporate search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to help rank highly on search engines.
Don’t forget to link your website to your social media accounts to promote your business further.
Set up a Google My Business page and list your business on Instagram and Facebook.
Explore other avenues like paid ads on social media, influencer marketing, pay-per-click marketing, and blogging to build your brand.
List Your Property on Wedding Venue Sourcing Sites
Couples visit various sites and resources to find their perfect wedding venue.
Ensure you list your property on these venue sites and add details like your venue style, location, and guest capacity.
Don’t forget to include any services you may be offering like catering, parking capacity, and what amenities are available at the venue.
Attend Networking Events
Consider attending events in the wedding industry.
You not only get to interact with like-minded people, but you could also get referrals for your business from other wedding vendors and professionals.
Additionally, review your professional and personal networks. You may find connections that could help bring in new customers or partner with influential wedding brands.
Starting and running a wedding venue business involves a lot of details and planning. There’s a lot that you need to research and ask from experienced professionals in the same line of business.
Hopefully, our step-by-step guide and tips will help you get started.