Can I just say, if you are here because you searched “how to write a wedding planner business plan”, you need to pat yourself on the back (and possibly pour yourself a celebratory cocktail). I know that when you set your sights on building a wedding planning business, writing a wedding planner business plan wasn’t exactly what you had in mind (be honest – it was the pretty pictures and the cake tastings).
However, if you want to run a “successful” wedding business (whatever success looks like to you – we will talk about that later!), writing a business plan is one of the most important things you can do.
As you commit to reading this blog post and writing a business plan for your wedding business, make it count. If you know me, you know I like to keep things as short and impactful as possible. This business plan should be your north star as you grow your wedding business so although you can always change your mind, it also isn’t something you should rush through.
After all, you're a wedding planner, right? You know how important it is to make a plan and work the plan. Your wedding planning business deserves the time and attention to make it count.
Before you get overwhelmed, take a deep breath and remember: this isn’t Shark Tank. I want you to be intentional here, but if you are not out there looking for investors, the most important part about writing your wedding planner business plan is that it’s good for you.
If at any point you start promising yourself you’ll “start this later”, here are a few tips for moving forward:
- You don’t need to fill out your business plan in sequential order. I know this might be hard for my fellow type A, enneagram 3’s but you don’t. Start with the parts that excite you (and are most important to you!), and slowly fill in the rest.
- Don’t check your grammar or try to use “perfect words”. Remember those free writing exercises in school? Let the ideas flow and don’t worry about making them look or sound perfect.
- Start with bullet points. If you feel a little scattered as you start to free write, or if you are used to bullet journaling, use it. Remember, this doesn’t need to be perfect. These bullet points can always be fleshed out later but for now, just get those high-level ideas floating around in your brain on paper.
- You don’t have to finish this all in one sitting. It IS okay to take a break. Just make sure you come back to it so you can give yourself the gift of done (as Jon Acuff would say). Sometimes committing to X amount of words per day is a good place to start.
As you write your wedding planner business plan, consider these 5 sections: Your Vision, Your Mission & Purpose, Your Ideal Clients, Your Pathway to Profit, and your Attraction & Sales Plan.
I’m going to break down these further below, but can you see already how it’s not too scary? I’m not going to ask you to write a 30-page analysis of your market and competitors here.
We are going to dive into how to write a wedding planner business plan, but your first assignment is downloading my free business plan outline and guide.
Nothing in this post is intended to be hard, and this outline was written to walk you through it step-by-step to keep you focused on what really matters as you write your business plan. You’re about to be busy with ideal clients you love, so let’s not waste any time. The strategies I share in the guide (and below!) are strategies that work.
Got your free outline? The first step to writing a wedding planner business plan is taking some time to vision cast.
I know how hard it can be to take the time, but I usually recommend setting aside one FULL day in the next week to vision cast for your business. Although I said you don’t have to do these steps in order, I really do recommend this be the first one. After all, we can’t make a plan if we don’t know the destination right?
A successful wedding planner's business plan should look a little different to everyone. Maybe your dream is to build an empire with 100+ associate planners across the country. Or, maybe you have your sight set on moving to a little island like Barbados (make sure to say hi!), and you want a business plan that will let you plan dreamy luxury weddings but also give you time to enjoy a little bit of that beach laptop life. I tell the women in my mastermind all the time: bigger is not always better. You can make just as much money running a boutique wedding planning company, taking only a few weddings per year, as you can running a volume-based wedding business booking day-of coordination packages every weekend.
Once you know the destination, we can start building your wedding planner business plan to help you get there.
As you write your wedding planner business plan, include your mission, vision, and purpose.
Despite what you might think, these don’t need to sound pretty. They don’t need to be plastered on your website or client-facing at all. All you need to consider when writing your mission, vision, and purpose is that they are clear and inspiring to you.
Not sure which is which and what each statement should include? Here’s a quick summary I like to use so that you don’t get stuck on this:
- Your mission should focus on how you help solve your customer’s problems: what do you do? How do you do it? Who do you do it for? What value do you bring?
- Your vision statement should be a reflection of what life looks like for your customers after you’ve done what you do.
- Your purpose statement should combine both your mission and vision statements into one short and impactful statement that explains why you exist.
You’ll notice that not much of this is actually about YOU (that’s why vision casting was so important). Although these statements don’t need to be client-facing, they will likely be something you share as you grow your team one day.
Next, one of the most important parts of your wedding planner business plan is outlining your ideal clients. Exactly who do you want to serve?
I’m going to try not to jump on my soapbox about this, but I have to be honest with you guys: the number one reason why businesses fail is that they don’t know who their customers are. This is arguably one of the most important sections when we talk about how to write your wedding business plan.
If your ideal client is someone in their mid-30s who is a busy professional with more money than time, a big budget for their wedding, and frequently drinks Starbucks and shops at JC Penney, I have news for you…
There’s a really good chance that you don’t know who you are talking to either.
You need to know so much more than where they like to vacation (or whatever else other wedding industry experts are saying nowadays). You need to think about what they value and what their biggest problems are.
Want a little (a lot) of help getting this right? Jump inside the Client Cocktail: your mini-course (read: fast & actionable) on ideal clients. We cover repelling the customers you don’t want, attracting the ones you do, selling them on YOU once they notice you, and then serving them really really well.
(it’s only $37, by the way, and it includes the world’s best rum punch recipe)
As you start to write your wedding planner business plan, let me remind you: you get to decide who you want to work with. You don’t need to serve everyone, and in fact, you shouldn’t. Although you might be tempted to pay attention to the demographics (and how much money they make), I want to make sure you also dive deep into their values and their problems. You don’t want to work with the kind of clients who don’t value what you value.
Now, let’s talk about why you started your wedding planner business in the first place: to profit. Building your Pathway to Profit is one of the ways we will make your wedding planner business plan a reality.
Again I want to remind you that you are in the driver’s seat. Not only do you get to decide who you want to work with, but you also get to decide what products and services you want to offer in order to solve their problems.
As a business coach for wedding planners, I see this all the time. Don’t want to offer design? Don’t! Feeling burnt out with day-of coordination clients? You don’t need to offer anything you don’t want to in order to run a profitable and successful wedding planning business (and in fact – I break down the pros and cons of offering day-of coordination as just one example here).
First, think about what kind of products and services your customer really wants that also line up with what you want to offer (and the life you want to live). This is why knowing your ideal clients is so important. What do they value most (and therefore, are willing to pay a higher price for)?
Pricing is more of an art than a science, but in your wedding planner business plan, you need to list out the services you really want to offer. Remember: focus on what you want. There is no room for your scarcity mindset in your business plan. If you want a little more info on setting your pricing, you can always check out this post here.
Lastly – at least for now – we need to create your sales plan. This is what turns your wedding planner business plan into reality.
Ready for the more actionable stuff? Feeling excited by all we have put together so far? Good! Now we are ready to make everything you have done so far into a realistic, achievable plan. I like to break this down into two parts: your attraction plan (marketing!), and your sales plan.
1) Your Attraction (Marketing) Plan
Everyone and their dog has something to say about marketing, but you’ll notice this really is only one small part of your wedding planner business plan. Marketing experts are the noisiest, and marketing IS important, but chances are you’ve given it a lot more attention than needed. Listen, marketing is not just about Pinterest and Instagram. At its core, marketing is just spreading your message to the people who need what you have to offer. You already know who those people are, right? If you are still unclear, please do yourself a favor and grab my client cocktail.
As you build your marketing plan, you have a chance to do a little market research. As you consider where you want to focus your marketing efforts (for now, less is more), ask yourself:
- Where do I like to show up?
- Where are my ideal customers searching for my services?
- How can I show them that I can solve their problems?
- Where are my competitors showing up? What seems to be working for them?
Marketing is ultimately one big experiment, so although you want to spend some time here, this is a place you might need to pivot as algorithms change and marketing trends evolve. One promise though: it’s a lot easier than it looks.
2) Your Sales Plan
You’ve got your ideal customers’ attention, now how do you get the sale? Both now and in the future? How do we make sure you are building a profitable and sustainable business? Wedding planning can be stressful! In fact, it’s often voted one of the most stressful jobs in the world. How do we avoid burnout? How do we make sure our business plan is viable?
First, start with a SWOT analysis. I know this can sound a little technical and boring, but really I just want you to take a look at yourself (and the wedding industry where you want to serve), and ask yourself:
- What are my strengths?
- What are my weaknesses?
- In my area, where are the biggest opportunities?
- What are the biggest threats/challenges you might face?
I always say: look at your competition but don’t base your business plan on them. There is a big difference between being aware of those around you and being consumed by them. Don’t fall into the comparison trap, if you have read this far, you are ready to build a business that lasts (and works for YOU).
Okay – that was a lot! Need help with how to write your business plan? If you haven’t grabbed your free wedding planner business plan outline and guide yet, make sure to grab your copy here.
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