Wedding Planning Business Plan

Most wedding planners simply go into business because they themselves enjoyed planning their own wedding, or a friend or relative’s wedding.

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Catharine Han: My startup cost was very little..than $500 dollars and did not need to take out a loan. Our site is focused exclusively on giving small business advice, tutorials and insider insights.

BND: What was the cost of the most expensive wedding you planned? H.: The cost of the most expensive wedding that I have done is $80,000.

Chances are you did this while developing your business plan, but this is an excellent opportunity to clarify your business goals and values. Jot down any and all words and phrases you think of to describe your approach to event planning, and what you want to convey to clients about your business. All clients want you to produce a fantastic event, but people have different expectations of the process.

(As a bonus, all these ideas will be helpful when the time comes to build your website.)Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Clients of wedding planners might appreciate accessibility and handholding, while corporate clients are more interested in independent decision making and transparency.

To guide your brainstorming, answer these three questions first. In no time, you’ll craft a unique name that’s perfect for your company and — more importantly — helps you generate business. Is it your lighthearted approach to event planning? Your artistry or strength in creating one-of-a-kind events?

As you begin brainstorming, it’s helpful to think about your company’s focus and brand. Know your niche and your differentiators, and keep them in mind as you brainstorm.You can add your location or name to differentiate your business.So Sweeping Vistas Events becomes Sweeping Vistas Events of Easton, or Golden Heron Event Design changes to Golden Heron Design by Daniel.Old family names, your street name or address, wild animals, countries, pets, fictional characters, music, colors, natural phenomena — it’s all fodder for the idea mill at this stage.Now it’s time to put on your creativity cap and have fun. Once you’ve got a long list of names you like, set them aside and take a day or two away from the project.You are the CEO of your startup — it’s vital that you like the name of your company.Write a list of people, places, and things that make you smile and inspire you to work hard, problem solve, and get creative.Enlist family and friends who are excited to help — and won’t take it personally when you don’t choose their idea. A few pro tips: When you’ve winnowed down your list to a dozen ideas or so, it’s time to research whether your company name exists already.A company name that’s the same as or too similar to other companies in your area could confuse prospective clients.In our series, "You: Starting a Business," we ask real business owners to tell us how they started their successful small businesses. H.: My biggest overhead expenses are my website and association fee. Now that I am established, these professionals find me and they contact me wanting to show me their work as well as tell me about their experience. BND: What do you do when someone’s dream wedding is out of their budget? H.: If I cannot do whatever I can to make their dream wedding come true in their budget, I help my clients design a wedding that is similar to the one they dreamed of and give them a few options, but usually I am able to help them create a wedding that is their dream or very close to it. H.: Some trends that I am seeing for weddings are cupcake towers instead of the traditional tiered cake, donating to the couple's favorite charity in lieu of wedding favors, invitations sent through email or Facebook, which I only recommended if you are only having close friends and family at the wedding. It is important that my personality matches my clients.This week, we interview Catharine Han, owner of the Milwaukee, Wis.-based wedding planning business Your Dream Wedding & Events. BND: Have you planned weddings where the groom never showed up? H.: I have never planned a wedding where the groom never showed up, however I have planned weddings where they were cancelled right before the wedding, after everything had been planned. It is not only the client's decision to work a wedding planner, but the wedding planner needs to feel that it is a right match for themselves as well because you will be working with those clients for some time, usually for six or more months.

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