What It Takes to Run a Wedding Planning Business

What It Takes to Run a Wedding Planning Business

A lot of people get into wedding planning because they love entertaining or hospitality, not because they are in love with the thought of running a business. But, the two - in fact - go hand in hand and becoming a successful wedding planner usually requires running a successful wedding planning business. So today, we wanted to talk about what the cost of doing business as a wedding planner is as well as what some of the common (and necessary) expenses are. Read on to learn what costs you definitely need to incur along with what you can expect to spend money on along the way.

Must-haves for Operating a Wedding Planning Business

When you are building any sort of business, there are start up costs associated with that. And, starting a wedding planning business is no different. From insurance and internet to contracts and checkbooks, here are some of the absolute-must-investments you need to make in your business.

  • Business license

  • A brand

  • Professional website (even if you build it yourself on something like Squarespace)

  • Cell phone and internet

  • Business insurances

    • General liability insurance (venues usually require this and it covers you for catastrophic instances)

    • Professional liability (covers you if you get sued by a client)

    • Employee litigation

    • Workman’s compensation

  • Contracts and legal representation

    • Service agreement

    • Contract for interns

    • Contract for independent contractors

Pro-tip: We love Annette Stepanian’s contract templates and legal services!

  • A way for couples to pay you (and a business bank account for the money to go into)

What to Expect When Staffing Your Business

Even if you are starting a wedding planning business on your (and plan on keeping it that way), you are still going to need help at some point. And, whether that means hiring a couple of assistants for a big wedding, bringing on an intern, or hiring a contractor to manage your social media, there are definitely a few extra people you need to have on hand.

  • Wedding Day Assistants

    • Plan for $100-$500 per person

    • This impacts how you are pricing your services (you need to get paid too!)

Pro-Tip: Include a clause in your proposals and contract that says over $X, you will need to add staffing. This will help you charge accordingly.

  • Get a CPA to help with payroll, payroll taxes and filing your federal taxes

Organizing Your Business with Systems and Storage

We could have included these items in the “must-have” category but having systems set up for your business is a must, but they really do deserve their own category. Making the investment in these programs won’t cost you an arm and a leg and they will do wonders for your productivity and organization! 

  • Aisle Planner helps us keep our planning organized

  • Honeybook helps us book clients and get invoices paid

  • Dropbox for photo storage

  • Microsoft Office for word documents and spreadsheets

  • Photoshop or Canva for graphic designs

  • Two Bright Lights to help make submissions faster

  • Quickbooks for bookkeeping

The Miscellaneous Thing You Might Not Think Of

What would running a business be without some unexpected costs? Here are some of the things we didn’t anticipate needing to spend money on, but that now we budget for.

  • Parking and valet tipping for site visits

  • Wedding day emergency kits (and keeping it stocked)

  • Meals and entertainment

  • Gifting

    • Holiday gifts

    • Client gifting

    • Marketing and relationship building

Pro-tip: We love Greeetabl for this! They make it quick and easy to send small gifts and now you can create templates for yourself with Insider Pro! Use the code LVLACADEMY for $51 off Insider Pro.

  • Advertising

    • Only advertise on the outlets that are attracting your ideal clients

    • Track your ROI to decide where to advertise next year

  • Specific experts we’ve invested in

    • SEO

    • Copywriter

    • Web and graphic designer 

This list might seem long, but being informed is the best way to set yourself up for success! So, use all of this information to figure out what your operating costs are and then build your pricing around it. The quickest way to do that?

  • Know your monthly cost of doing business (add your line items and divide by 12)

  • Know your fixed vs. variable expenses to help you plan accordingly

 Once you know this information you can price your services to actually be profitable!