From artsy outdoor spaces to industrial warehouses, banquet halls and ballrooms, all event spaces have something unique to offer couples. And because there are always couples looking to plan their weddings, the demand for wedding venues isn’t going away. If you’ve ever considered starting a wedding venue business, you’ve come to the right spot. The first step is to do your research and create a business plan for your event. Here, a basic rundown!
How to Start a Wedding Venue Business
With any business, it’s important to have a plan. What is the inspiration for your business? What are your goals for operating your business? With any goal, it’s important to map out the steps you are going to take to reach it. When you set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely) goals for your developing your business you are able to monitor and adapt your strategies and actions for growth.
Determine your "why"
What about owning a wedding and event venue interests you? Is it a love of hosting events? Is it a passion for giving people a place to come together and celebrate? Is it seeing the joy guests share at a wedding reception? Write down what drives you to open your own wedding venue and let this passion be what guides your business decisions.
Do your research
With any business, it’s important to do your research. What types of event spaces are couples searching for in your area? Is there demand for the type of event venue you want to open? For example, if you are surrounded by several catering halls, find out if your location can benefit from putting a fresh spin on a banquet facility, or if couples in your area have different venue needs that are not being met.
It’s also important to understand the financial aspects of opening a venue. Do your research on property and construction costs to build a wedding venue, insurance and permit prices, employee wage costs, maintenance fees, food and beverage prices and more.
Identify your audience
Who is the ideal couple tying the knot at your venue? What is their budget? What style of wedding are they having? Are you focused solely on hosting weddings, or are you also a venue for parties and corporate events? As you determine who you are looking to market to, always keep in mind the question, what sets you apart to this audience? What do you offer that they can't get anywhere else?
Create a plan
As you continue your research, it’s important to develop a business plan that acts as a roadmap for the future of your business. This will guide you as you navigate your finances, marketing and plans for growth while keeping you on track to reach your ideal clients. Search for a business plan template online and get started.
Building a Wedding Venue Business Plan
Your summary introduces the business, gives a brief overview of each section of your plan, and highlights what sets your wedding venue apart. When presenting your business plan to potential partners and investors, this is the part of the plan that needs to hook in the readers and make them interested in what you have to offer.
What does your venue plan to offer? This is when you will detail everything about the event space. Will it be an outdoor garden, a banquet hall, a community recreation space that can be rented for special events? Share your why for opening the business and how this venue will serve customer needs.
This is also where you will highlight where you are in your business. Have you already acquired property? Legally protected your business? Continue to update this section as you check off business planning tasks.
Now is the time to show off all your research. What is the demand for your wedding venue? How will it serve people in your geographic area in a way that other venues cannot? What demographics will you serve? It’s important to cite your sources and explain how you came to your conclusions with these findings. The more facts and resources you can present, the more those who are reading your plan will be able to envision the future of your business.
Sales and Marketing
Your event space will only get so far if you are not making sales. In order to have clients who are reserving your venue, you will need a plan for how to effectively reach them. This section of the business plan will highlight all of the sales details of your venue. What packages do you offer couples looking to book a wedding? What is included and what is the price?
This section should also include your plans for bringing in these sales. Who are you planning to market to? How do you plan to reach these people? What are your marketing tactics? Include everything from social media and paid advertisement to promotional events.
A wedding venue cannot run on its own. How do you plan to organize your team? What is the employee hierarchy when it comes to management and decision making? For an event venue business, it’s important to highlight the operating structure for backend operations as well as the client-facing side on the day of an event. As a wedding venue owner, it’s critical to do your research on the different types of organizational structures and decide which is best for running your venue most efficiently.
What does the financial future of your business look like? This can seem like an incredibly tricky question for a new business that has not yet brought in any income. This section of the business plan will feature a lot of projections based on research. Give financial statement estimates for the next three to five years depending on where you are in the development of your business.
Start with your pricing model. What type of event packages will be available for purchase? What are the prices for these and how much income will they generate?
How will you collect payment from your clients? What payment methods will you accept? How will you allocate this income to expenses, taxes and employee pay?
Do you have a profit & loss statement? Begin listing out your operating expenses and factor in your income projections to create your P&L.
What do your future goals look like for your event venue business? What are the milestones and markers you plan to use as measurements of success? Detail out your business goals by timeline. What do you hope to accomplish in the short term versus the long term? For example, when do you plan to book your fifth, tenth, or fiftieth event? What is your timeline for hiring employees and building out your venue staff? What do you want to accomplish daily as opposed to once a year? When you set goals for your business it becomes easier to track the success and growth of your venue.