How to Start a Wedding Venue: Everything You Need to Know
If you want to learn how to start a wedding venue, first, it's important to understand the need for this type of location. 3 min read
2. Determine the Services and Products You Will Offer
3. Research Before You Commit
4. Find a Venue Owner Mentor
5. Research the Laws Around Zoning in the Target Area
6. Choose a Property (Unless You Have One)
7. Develop a Marketing Strategy for Online Business
Updated July 7, 2020:
How to Start a Wedding Venue Business
If you want to learn how to start a wedding venue, first, it's important to understand the need for this type of location. Over two million weddings take place annually in the United States, based on data from the federal government. That translates to nearly seven marriages per 1,000 citizens, and most of those wedding ceremonies and/or receptions will happen within a wedding venue rented by the couple.
Starting a wedding venue allows you to help couples plan and enjoy their perfect wedding day while you take part in a business that falls within an industry worth millions of dollars.
Determine the Services and Products You Will Offer
The most common types of services and products offered by a wedding venue include catering, planning services for the wedding, floral services, and photography. Before you decide on the services and products your venue will offer, look into some of the competition around you and figure out what they offer as well as the prices for each item.
Research Before You Commit
It's smart to review what couples want, such as by talking to people who are planning weddings and going to wedding expos and conventions in your area.
Use data from other wedding organizations, such as:
- International Association of Venue Managers
- Venues Today
- National Association of Catering and Events
In order to find specific numbers and data for the market in your area, visit TheWeddingReport.com and look at data beyond just the “average expenses.” With the average, you're looking at information from people who choose very low-cost venues as well as high-end mansions, so it's not as accurate.
Find a Venue Owner Mentor
Connect with other wedding venue owners when you join the associations and network with them to get an idea of what to expect. You can also use social media groups, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, to request help. Using these resources gives you a major advantage over others in the space since you have access to resources and knowledge from other venue owners.
Research the Laws Around Zoning in the Target Area
For example, if you have a commercial facility, like a bed and breakfast or farmhouse, you may be thinking about converting it to use as a venue. Before you do so, make sure to check with the local zoning laws to make sure a business that plans weddings is allowed and that having many guests at a wedding wouldn't violate the laws. Along with the zoning laws, make sure to research any permits or licenses that are necessary to operate a business in the area.
For example, within the states of Washington and California, you need a banquet permit to host a wedding reception within a commercial setting when alcohol is served. Certain counties also require use permits for buildings used for events, such as St. Johns County in Florida.
Choose a Property (Unless You Have One)
The location and building is a fixture of the business that is beyond your control, so spend the time to make sure you find the perfect building in a great location. You do have control over other aspects of the space, such as the type of events you will host, food options, and customization, but the location is very important. Select a property that has the proper zoning and is located near the contractors and consultants who will provide services you plan to include as offerings for your customers.
Make sure your property offers unique aspects that encourage couples to choose this venue instead of their parents' backyard or church hall. For example, the Williamsburg Inn and Williamsburg Lodge offer a colonial-style, historic backdrop for a wedding. This venue is located in Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Another unique venue option is the Louisville Belle, which allows you to host a wedding with a traditional Southern theme in Louisville, Kentucky.
Develop a Marketing Strategy for Online Business
You will need a solid online marketing strategy to advertise your new wedding venue, such as social media, as well as a blog and a website with information that will be helpful to couples planning their weddings.
If you need help with how to start a wedding venue, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.