OK – you've made this HUGE decision that you want to start a wedding planning business. But not just ANY kind of wedding planning business. You want to build a business that gets amazing clients, is successful, and allows you to build and grow something that's YOURS.
You want to plan gorgeous weddings, work with incredible clients, get featured in magazines, and spend your days obsessing over linen swatches, pretty flowers, candles, and of course, the logistics that make all the pretty happen.
In this blog post, I've put together my 12+ years of experience in running a profitable, multi six figure, multi-country wedding planning & design business so you can learn how to start a wedding planning business you love quicker, faster, and better.
First, let me say how delighted I am for you. In other words, when I started my wedding planning and design company back in 2007, I had the same feelings you did about creating the life and career I wanted.
I was excited, nervous, energized, and willing to consume any information on starting a wedding planning business.
(Back in 2007, that information was hard to come by. There were not a lot of resources on how to start a wedding planning business. However, you've got a lot of information on hand to guide you.)
I'm going to break down how to start a wedding planning business–but not just any kind of wedding planning business–one that will be profitable and scalable.
Here are the 11 steps you need to take to start and grow your new wedding planning business:
Step 1: Know What Kind Of Wedding Planning Business You Want to Build
Before you do anything, knowing what kind of wedding planning business you want is the first step. I've got an easy exercise for you to figure this out, too.
We call it vision casting.
It's important to know what kind of business you want, which will help you write strategies to make that business come to life.
In addition, we can't know what we're really building until we see the destination we want to arrive at, right?
That's what vision casting is. It's knowing the destination you want to arrive at–the business that you want.
To make this even easier for you, I've recorded an entire podcast episode on how to vision cast for your business. 👇
Episode 42 of my podcast for wedding pros, The Power in Purpose Podcast gives you step-by-step guidance and action on how to start your wedding planning biz with vision casting.
Everyone is building a different kind of business under different circumstances. For instance, you might want to have a career that allows you to raise your family at the same time. Or, you might want to build a million-dollar empire.
This is why it's important to know what kind of business YOU want so that you can reverse engineer the strategies that it will take to get there.
Don't skip this step. And listen to this podcast episode to get started.
Step 2: Write A Business Plan For Your Wedding Planning Business
Yes, I know you wanted to skip this part–biz plans are so 2007, aren't they?
No. They're essential. To build the wedding planning business YOU want (the one you're going to vision cast for!), you have to write a strategy to get there.
That's what a business plan is: an overarching strategy for getting from where you are today to where you want to go. And it cannot be overlooked.
Writing your business plan doesn't have to be challenging or overwhelming. You don't need an MBA or a fancy degree to start a business.
Instead, you just need to discover a problem that needs solving, and then your business becomes the solution.
With that said, I know that writing a business plan isn't the easiest (or sexiest) task.
That's why I've created my Free Business Plan Outline + Guide, a way to jumpstart your efforts and get you to write a plan for your wedding planning business.
Write a wedding planner business plan with this free guidebook and outline. It'll take you from stuck to start. I take all the guesswork out of how to write a business plan and even teach you some strategies. Plus, it's free! That's why I want to make sure you grab it.
Step 3: Know The “Ideal Clients” Your Wedding Planning Business Will Serve
The #1 reason why businesses fail is they don't know who their customers are. They don't really, truly, and personally know their customers.
However, this isn't going to be you; you're here to learn how to start a wedding planning business–and a crucial step is knowing your ideal clients!
Instead, you're going to create a business that fully understands who your ideal clients are so that you can solve their problems quicker, faster, and better than anyone else.
You must get specific about your ideal clients and why they need you to solve their problems. Knowing more about what motivates them, what they value, what challenges they face, and yes, what problems they have means you can position yourself as the solution.
I want to clarify that knowing your ideal clients is more than knowing what kind of car they drive, their favorite color, and their age range. Moreover, those things are essential but only tell you part of the story.
If you want to book high-end clients in the wedding industry, you need to check out The Client Cocktail. In this mini-training, I teach you how to call in dreamy clients and magazine-worthy weddings.
When you start your business, you'll be tempted to serve everyone and anyone. That's one of the biggest mistakes new entrepreneurs make: they reason they'll cast a wide net, increasing their chances of customers. After all, the wider the net, the more you can catch, right?
What ends up happening is you become too watered down, too unspecific, and too generic. However, by appealing to everyone, you appeal to no one because no one can really connect with your company.
They don't look at what you offer, your message, and say, “This is for me.”
Step 4: Create A Wedding Planning Brand That Gets Noticed
There are a lot of wedding planners out there. What makes you different?
One of the cornerstones of marketing is that people buy with their eyes, and your brand–aka the visual manifestation of your company–is what sets you apart.
You need to create a visual brand that gets noticed.
One that makes YOUR ideal client stop in their tracks.
One that makes your perfect client buy with their eye.
Your visual branding helps to accelerate the know/like/trust factor with your customers. The couple who wants to hire someone like you lands on your website or sees some of your marketing, and because of its polished nature and overall experience, they want to know more.
After you've set a vision and written your business plan, don't let it all fall apart by having a bad logo and website.
Your clients will notice immediately that your business doesn't live up to what it offers. And they will click off.
You have a matter of seconds to capture someone's attention (sometimes, it's a fraction of that number!). How will you capture the attention of your ideal clients with your marketing and branding?
Here are some quick resources for you to start creating a kick-ass wedding planning brand from DAY ONE (bc that's how we roll!)
- Showit Website Platform: To create a GORGEOUS website (it's my website platform!)
- Sourced Co: For incredible stock images created JUST for wedding pros. You can find images for marketing and your website, making it easy to start without a portfolio. Use code PLAYBOOK to get a special discount.
- Hautestock: Use code CANDICE for 15% off gorgeous stock images that don't look stock. Firstly, Hautestock's images are great for your website to fill in the gaps where you might not have a portfolio. Secondly, they make perfect social media posts so you can start marketing TODAY – even if you don't have any clients or work!
- Styled Stock: Another fantastic styled stock membership for beautiful stock images that don't look like “stock images.”
Step 5: Work More On Your Wedding Planning Business Than In It
You had the idea to start a wedding planning business because you want to be a wedding planner. However, when you decide to open up your own company, you're a business owner first. Wedding planner, second.
They say that businesses fail not only because they don't know their ideal clients but because the owner of that business doesn't work on their business.
You toil away at being the best wedding planner, focusing all your time on planning weddings and serving your clients, but what about the business owner side?
I want you to work more ON your business than IN your business. Consider yourself a business owner above all other roles you might have in your business.
Owning a business is like having a classic car: it needs love, care, and attention. It needs you to tune it, fix what's broken, and invest in its care.
If you're serious about owning a wedding planning business, consider yourself an entrepreneur first and a business owner second.
My advice? Seek education to help you build and grow your wedding planning business from the ground up correctly. Find mentors and business owners who are where you want to be and hire them to help you.
In addition, you should invest in courses, conferences, and other educational avenues to learn all you can and speed up your results.
Always learning, always moving forward. That's my motto.
Step 6: Network With The Right People
The wedding industry is mostly about connections, and some of the most incredible business comes from referrals (if you sign up for The Client Cocktail, you'll know how important this is!).
You have to seek out new connections as much as possible–but not just any old “links”–and focus on the right ones.
As you set out to market your business, you must get in front of the right people. Ideally, the people and companies that are already in front of your ideal clients.
They have the power to refer to you and to help lift your business alongside theirs.
Do you want to know one of the first things I did when I started my business?
I networked my butt off. Networking with the right people was one of the first things I did when I started my business, which paid off. I was armed with my biz plan, a vision for the future, and a nice-looking brand/website. I sought out businesses that were already in front of my ideal clients.
And it paid off in dividends.
Step 7: Know Your Marketing Message And Market Your Wedding Planning Business As Much As You Can
Marketing is simply sharing your message so that it reaches the right people. What's your message?
Your company's mission, vision, and purpose are vital. They connect you to your customers and ground you when the going gets tough.
You need to have a clear, concise message about what your company does, how life looks for your customers after you do it, and why you do it in the first place.
Step 8: Make Mistakes, Try New Things & Do It Your Way
When you start a business, you follow the same path as those you admire. No doubt you've rapidly followed a bunch of people on the ‘gram who are killing it in their wedding planning biz right now.
And you're probably thinking: I need to do it this way too.
Maybe. Or maybe not. Don't fall into the trap of copying what other folks are doing. That's their business–their vision–not yours.
I want you to feel empowered to do it YOUR way. Sure, you can seek out roadmaps and blueprints on how to build your business, but make sure you adapt what you learn as it fits your unique circumstances.
Don't build someone else's business. Build yours.
If you want to hear some of my epic wedding planning mistakes, check out my tales from the clipboard email series.
Step 9: Give Your Business Time To Grow & Take Root
As a business coach for wedding planners and pros, I've seen biz owners quit just when the going gets going. Owning a wedding planning business is a marathon and not a sprint. It takes time for your efforts to start to take root.
When I started my company, it took me six months to land my first client. Imagine if I had quit five months and two weeks in?
I want you to know that things take time. Give your business time to take root. It will happen with consistency and perseverance. Don't quit at the first failure.
Remember, your failures lead you toward your successes.
Patience is necessary for business (just like with most things in life). The strategies you implement today may not show results for 3-6 months. But they will see results if you give them a chance.
Step 10: Hire A Wedding Planning Mentor And Learn, Learn, Learn
Let me ask you a serious question. Why not hire someone to help you do all the above and teach you the ropes so that you can accelerate your business quicker and faster?
There is no greater gift you can give your biz than enlisting the help of someone who has been where you want to go.
As a wedding industry business coach and mentor, of course, I will advocate for what I do. And that's because I've seen the results my expertise brings to those that I humbly help.
If you're serious about starting a wedding planning business, pay for an expert to teach you the road to success.
I want you to be open to learning as much as you can from trusted sources as you navigate the tricky road of entrepreneurship. Recognize that you don't know everything, be 100% coachable, and apply what you learn in your business.
The truth is, you'll achieve the results you want quicker, better, and faster than you had expected.
Step 11: Believe In Yourself
Finally, I want you to believe in yourself because you were put on this earth for great things.
No, seriously, I want you to believe in your abilities to design a business you love, a business YOU want. While you may lack experience in certain areas, you have a wealth of knowledge about how things work.
You're smart. You're driven. And you're here for the right reasons. Believe in your abilities to learn as you go and apply your knowledge and unique life experiences to the services and products you provide.
For instance, too many people quit because they lack the confidence and belief in themselves to do what they want to do. I don't want you to be one of those people.
I believe in you. So believe in yourself. All things are possible, and you CAN design a business that you love–and one that gives back to your meaningful life.
And if you're ready to take your wedding planning dreams to the next level, I want to invite you to check out my coaching program for wedding planners.
The Planner's Playbook is your secret weapon for planning, designing, and coordinating high-end weddings like a pro. The doors to this program are open now for a limited time. Click here to learn more about The Planner's Playbook!
Not ready for that? Then grab my free course on how to start your wedding planning business!
Let's summarize this post so you can start your wedding planning business:
How do I start a wedding planning business?
Follow these steps to start and launch your wedding planning business:
- Vision cast for the kind of business you want.
It's important to know what kind of business YOU want so that you can reverse engineer the strategies that it will take to get there. Don't skip this step.
- Write a business plan.
Every business needs a strategy to grow and scale. Sit down and write your business plan using your vision as a guide for the strategies you'll create in marketing, sales, services, and pricing.
- Know your ideal clients.
Businesses exist to serve their customers. Who are you serving? Know your ideal client as well as you know your BFF–and then create products and solutions that help them.
- Create a wedding planning brand that gets noticed.
The wedding industry is a saturated market. You'll need to create a brand that stands out from the competition and gets noticed. How will you be different from the rest?
- Work more on your business than in it.
Initially, it'll be easy because you won't have many clients. But as your business grows, it's important to continue working on it more than in it.
- Network with the right people.
The wedding industry is a people industry. Form relationships and connections with the right people–the businesses already in front of your dreamy clients–and watch your biz grow.
- Know your marketing message.
Marketing is simply sharing your message so it reaches the right people. Know your message and watch your ICAs start knocking on your door.
- Do it your way, and don't take it so seriously.
Resist the temptation to copy others and be confident that you can do things your way. A signature way of doing anything for your customers will set you apart from the competition.
- Give it time to grow and take root.
Nothing happens overnight. It could take months to land your first wedding, so give your business time to take root. Don't rush the brush, so to speak. That moment you feel like quitting? Keep going.
- Hire a mentor and learn, learn, learn all you can.
Why try and figure this out all on your own when you could hire someone to help you achieve your goals quicker, faster, and better? Hire a mentor who has been where you want to go and watch how quickly you scale.
- Believe in yourself because you've got what it takes.
A little confidence goes a long way. Believe in your worthiness, experience, creativity, and capabilities. You can do this.
If you're serious about starting your wedding planning business, here are some resources I offer to help:
- Free Business Plan Outline + Guide
- Free Course To Launch Your Wedding Planning Business
- The Client Cocktail
- The Planner's Playbook
- WeddingPro Insiders
- Wedding Planner Business Tools
Know that I'm cheering you on and believing in you.
Explore More Wedding Industry Resources
- How To Become A Wedding Planner With No Experience
- 9 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your Wedding Planning Business
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- Day of Coordination: The Pros and Cons as a Wedding Planner
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- What A Business Plan Will REALLY Reveal About Your Business
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