Weddings are big business. The average bill for a Big Day is now over £20,000, with brides and grooms enlisting the help of a whole army of companies to make sure their wedding goes smoothly.
Research by DueDil last year found that wedding businesses had turned over around £24.2 billion in the past 12 months. And it comes as no surprise that many of these enterprises - from planners to cake makers to invitation designers - are small businesses.
If you’re keen to get a piece of the wedding pie, here are some wedding business ideas to consider…
1. Wedding caterer
More informal weddings are rapidly becoming the norm, which means that three course sit-down meals provided by the venue are no longer de rigueur. And even if the wedding breakfast is a formal affair, an evening meal during the party may be more low-key.
This means that many brides and grooms opt for picnic-style or street food meals. If you’re keen to start a food-focused business, then consider offering an on-site barbecue service for weddings, or a pop-up street food stall. Other simple on-site catering ideas include a cream tea service, an ice cream van, or even a fresh candyfloss stall.
Check out our article on starting a catering business to get going.
If you’re ready to launch your wedding catering business, take a look at catering insurance from Simply Business.
2. Wedding florist
Weddings can be a good moneymaker for self-employed florists, as couples are often prepared to spend a lot on bouquets, buttonholes, floral decoration and arches.
If you’ve decided to start out as a wedding florist then you’ll need to have a good website that shows the work you can do and to make use of social media platforms, especially visual sites like Instagram. Doing flowers for a few of your friends’ weddings at cost-price may be a good way to get started, giving you the chance to practise your bridal bouquets and providing some gorgeous photos for your site.
Your clients may only provide overall colour schemes and an idea of what they like. You’ll probably then get the chance to be creative and use your floral expertise to bring it all together. To get a flavour of running a floristry business, see a ‘day in the life of a wedding florist’ on the Startup Donut website here.
3. Wedding photographer
Even if marrying couples are trying to keep costs down elsewhere, most are determined not to cut any corners when it comes to the wedding photography, as everyone wants a beautiful record of their day. To get hired for weddings you’ll need lots of proof that you’re up to the job, so photographing your friends’ weddings to build a portfolio could be a good way to start, or assisting a more established wedding photographer on a few jobs first.
The couple will want to meet you beforehand so that you can get to know each other and talk through the wedding and the photographs they want. You could even offer an engagement shoot as part of the package, giving you the chance to practise snapping the couple before the Big Day.
When the wedding day comes round, you may begin photographing as the wedding party gets ready and then you’ll be taking photos in the ceremony and reception, plus plenty of individual portraits of the couple and the group shots you’ve agreed. Remember that most couples are keen to get lots of unposed photos of their guests having a good time!
If you’re about to get started as a wedding photographer, don’t forget photographer insurance.
4. Wedding musician
If you’re a musician, marketing yourself to brides and grooms could be a good way to go. From a string quartet as guests arrive at the ceremony to a rock and roll band at the reception, music plays a key role in most weddings.
As a wedding musician you’ll need to be responsive to what the couple wants and happy to talk to them before the day to agree on the set list and any special requests. Of course, it’s important to be punctual and professional. It’s also a good idea to speak to the venue about the set-up, stage and sound system so that you know what to expect when you arrive and you know what you need to bring.
To get some gigs you could sign up to a site like Wedding Band, which is a network of professional musicians who provide entertainment for weddings.
Ready to strike out as a wedding musician? Check out musician insurance from Simply Business.
5. Wedding hairdresser or makeup artist
Many brides choose to get their hair and/or their makeup done professionally for their wedding day, and many also pay for their bridesmaids and other members of the wedding party to get dolled up too.
Being a wedding hairdresser or beautician means being flexible. You’ll usually be expected to travel to wherever the bride is getting ready - whether that’s her home, a hotel or the wedding venue - and preparation time may be quite tight. It’s a good idea to book in a trial run several weeks (or even months) before so that you know exactly how she wants to look, as you may need to try a few different styles.
If you can offer a range of bridal services - for example makeup or nails as well as hair - this may put you ahead of the competition. If you don’t have all this experience yourself, it may be worth teaming up with other beauticians so that together you can offer a complete wedding package.
Again, promoting yourself as a wedding hair or makeup artist means having lots of great examples of your work that you can share on your website and social media. Ask friends to be your models even if they’re not getting married, so that you can try out some bridal styles for your portfolio.
What do you think about starting a wedding business? Tell us in the comments.