Eek! Budgets! What a pesky thing they are! And yet, when first starting out, it’s extremely important to create a wedding business budget—especially if you have nonexistent start-up funds. It doesn’t cost a lot to start a wedding planning business, but you can easily get sucked into a lot of unnecessary spending in hopes of getting promised leads. I have fallen victim to this a few times. To get more leads, you’re just going to have to #hustle—honest truth.
A WEDDING PLANNER BUSINESS BUDGET
Budgeting will help you achieve the goals you’re working toward. Is that a pretty, new website? More education? More advertising? So how do you make a budget? Well, first, you take the amount you have to start a business and then subtract your start-up expenses. Once you start making money, you’ll be able to add more expenses.
BUDGETING FOR THE FIRST YEAR
All right, so how do you go about creating a budget when you don’t even know where to start? Good question. Here’s a list of things you’ll need to check off in order to have a professional wedding planner business:
You must pay your state and city fees
There’s no way around this one. If you’re planning to work with a venue, they will ask to see your business license. Depending on where you live, the fees can vary greatly. You’ll need to do a little research on your end. Once you know what the fees are, you can add them to your budget.
You must have insurance
Once again, venues will ask to see your liability insurance. You don’t have to get a super pricey policy since your liability will be pretty small in the beginning. Hiscox is one of the best insurance providers for wedding planners.
You need to have a contract
If you want to present yourself as a professional, you need to have a contract in place and ready to go when you start working with clients. You can find a good template at Engaged Legal (use this link to get 20% off at checkout).
OTHER START-UP COSTS
Setting up a wedding planning business can be pretty affordable if done correctly. Many newer wedding planners will want to spend a lot on their branding. I don’t recommend this. Yes, you want a cohesive brand, but there are many affordable ways to achieve this in the beginning. Etsy is a great place to start. Another added expense might be education. I would highly recommend getting some sort of formal training. It could really help cut down on the number of mistakes and lessons learned the hard way. The wedding industry market is a bit saturated, and having an edge on the competition is always helpful. We offer a very comprehensive Wedding Planner Business course. This self-guided course teaches new planners how to build a successful wedding planner business right from the start. If you can’t afford our course, check out our Pricing Workbook. It breaks down your expenses in much more detail.
DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY
Getting leads when you’re new is the hardest part. For newer wedding planners, I wouldn’t recommend advertising on the WeddingWire or The Knot just yet. This could kill your wedding business budget in a matter of minutes. They charge depending on the area you serve. Because of this, there’s no way I can give you an exact quote on the cost. Alexa, a member of the Becoming a Wedding Planner FB Group, said that advertising on The Knot was a complete waste of money in her first year of business. Another unnecessary cost might be hiring someone to do your social media. Hiring someone can be expensive and oftentimes they don’t sound like your brand or engage like you should. You also don’t need a fancy CRM system (client management system) just yet. Wait until you have at least seven couples booked before going all in on that expense.
Last Words on a Wedding Business Budget
Once you get the “must haves” taken care of, you can start to figure out what else you need to invest in to make your business stand out. This is, of course, always taking into account how much money you have to spend. If you need a little bit of encouragement, I have seen many start-up companies do just fine with only a Facebook page to start with. Like I said earlier, it doesn’t take much money to start a business—just make sure that you make the money that you do have count!
Need a little help figuring out your wedding service prices? Check out our Pricing Workbook for a quick start!