Is owning a wedding venue profitable?

Business Diversification Into Weddings, Launching A New Wedding Venue

Business Diversification Into Weddings, Launching A New Wedding Venue

It’s a big question and a vital one of course.  Before starting up or investing in any business or enterprise, you want to know what you can expect to gain from that business, in the short, medium and long term. You’ll want to understand what income you can expect to receive and what profits a wedding venue business or wedding operation might produce for the business and its owners. 

Read on for insight, considerations and your shopping list from my experience in supporting hundreds of wedding venues in the UK and beyond as a wedding venue business consultant. 

Wedding venue revenue 

Isn’t it all just £££ in weddings? 

Before we get carried away, I want to dispel the myth that there is easy and quick money to be made in weddings. Media attention on the wedding sector often likes to report the relatively high cost of a wedding day compared to other life purchases (average budget around £24,000 per wedding according to various UK wedding market studies).  This is true but the time, skill, resource and craftsmanship that goes into a typical wedding and all its components means that this budget has to stretch a long way and requires a high level of input.   

What income can be made from hosting weddings then? 

The above said, around 25% of a wedding budget goes into hiring the venue or location. That’s around £6,000 available for venue hire which most of us agree seems quite a decent sum for hiring out a location for one day, and certainly compared to other commercial uses of space this might well seem very attractive. 

HOWEVER, hiring out for a wedding is certainly not all income in. There are expenses out too and these have to be carefully understood, managed and fully considered in working out potential wedding venue profits. Not least because this is first and foremost an industry delivering exceptional one off life experiences.  I strongly believe those operating within it have a duty to act responsibly, with integrity and sustainably. 

The right place or space with wedding appeal 

First up you need a venue with a certain wow and with appeal to what is a discerning audience at all price points looking for a unique location for a unique life event.   Whilst the wedding market absolutely welcomes rustic and relaxed as well as formal and polished, couples demand attention to detail, comfort and character in their venues . Couples are increasingly wanting to see more and more features at their chosen venue. From getting ready prep spots, to chill out areas, to party barns and overnight accommodation. The sustainable venue that wants to keep relevant and keep increasing profits will be reinvesting in improving and expanding their venue to create more and serve lasting trends. They will not be taking out too many profits too soon. 

Beyond the bricks and mortar or the tent structures (as outdoor wedding venues can too be profitable and very much growing in popularity) you will need to think about those set up and running costs to help you work out your likely profits. 

Personalised Business Plans for New Wedding Venues

When I work with clients privately, with my bespoke consulting progammes, I’m able to give them a much more accurate picture of the financial viability and wedding venue profit projections based on their particular circumstances. Every property/venue is unique. For example, a purpose built event barn will have more profit potential than a historic house with substantial restrictions on use, on renovations, on capacity and on high running costs. 

However, as a guide, here is a shopping list to help in considering your business plan financials and working out potential wedding venue profits. 

Shopping List of Wedding Venue Expenses 

Utilities – gas, electric, water, sewage 

Garden & Grounds Maintenance 

Council Tax/Business Rates 

Insurance for events purposes 

Premises Licensing/TENS 

Wedding ceremony licensing 

Marketing – Branding, Website, Photography, Graphic Design,  Search Engine Optimmisation (SEO),  Google Ads/, Social Media Management, Wedding Listings, Open Day Event Marketing 

Venue fit out – furniture (tables, chairs), bar unit, lighting, sound system, dancefloor, outside landscaping, toilets, catering kitchen and fit out, outdoor lighting, parking and hardstanding 

Team – weddings manager,  support co-ordinator, cleaning & housekeeping, maintenance 

Repairs and replacements 

Accountancy 

Legal support/contracts 

Health & Safety consultancy

VAT – you’ll need to factor this into your venue price. Typically this is presented as included to the end customer, a bridal couple 

Office costs – telephone, web, IT and computer costs, office kit out 

Bank charges/loans

And of course don’t forget the tax on your profits. Naturally this will vary on a variety of circumstances of both the business and individuals behind the business. 

Final tip on looking at wedding venue profits 

Cash Flow is King– weddings have good potential to predict revenue ahead of time (pandemic times excluded somewhat.) Bookings typically pay in stages. From a typical 18 months ahead of time deposit to a final balance about 3 months pre event. It’s therefore a good business for sustainable reliable income that’s fairly predictable and contracted. But this is not a business for quick and easy cash flow from a standing start. Bear in mind that weddings book typically 18 months out, this is not a option for a quick cash injection.  Nor is it a hands-off business! It’s a people, customer service and experience heavy business. Most suited to those looking for a sustainable long term profitable business that serves up genuinely special experiences to happy clients. 

For more insight, here are 5 more things to look at closely before you start a wedding venue business. 

If you’re looking for support in moving forward YOUR potential wedding venue business plan, then let’s talk. Here are details of my private consulting.

Image of Kelly Chandler Private Consulting: Anneli Marinovich Wedding & Lifestyle Photography

Kelly Chandler Wedding Consulting helps property and land owners thrive by generating profit from hosting weddings. Kelly and team offer specialist private consulting and group training programmes.

Kelly is a well-respected go-to expert in the business of weddings with a unique grasp of both wedding customer expectations and a host venue's commercial needs.

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