The moment you finally feel like you’ve landed on the idea for a wedding business is an exciting one. Because, after what was probably months of thinking things through and asking your friends and family for feedback, it’s finally time to sit down and bring it to life—but it is also the moment you realize there is so much to do. From finalizing a business name and figuring out how to book your first client, the excitement can quickly turn to overwhelm since there isn’t a handbook on how to start a business in the wedding industry. And, while this may not be an official handbook, what’s to follow is everything you need to know about starting an online wedding business. So, grab your notebook and have your to-do list handy because here are the things you need to do to make your debut as a wedding pro.

 

Start here

You might feel a bit lost when you take the first steps towards launching an online wedding business, but remember this—every pro you come across and every brand you admire has been where you are now and is an example of what you can build if you put in the effort. And, a great way to start your journey is to sit down and do some self reflection to make sure you have the skills it takes to be a wedding business owner. Work to build upon the skills you already have, practice the ones you might be missing, and let these words of encouragement about how to start a business fuel your drive.

 

Networking in the wedding industry

One of the best things about the wedding industry is how connected the people in it are. Because, in an industry that is very reliant on personal referrals and recommendations, wedding pros in markets across the country work together to bring their clients’ dream weddings to life. So, you can imagine how important building a strong professional network becomes. Be sure to find local events and attend them with the purpose of networking with intention and perhaps building a real relationship with someone who might eventually become a mentor.

 

What you need to start an online wedding business

The list of things you need to start a wedding business is long and the key to combating overwhelm is to prioritize your list (read: fight the urge to invest all your time and money into your logo and make sure you’ve set yourself up with what you need to actually run your business too). Be sure to start with all the required business filings and licenses, do what you need to set yourself up for financial success, and get the small business software that will help you set up efficient business systems.

 

How to price your services

If we had to pick one part of starting an online wedding business that most people struggle with it would be pricing. And, while we understand that you might feel your prices should be a bit lower since you are just starting out, not pricing your services correctly can keep you from growing as quickly as you want or even devalue your services if they are priced too low. So, before you sit down to figure out how much you’ll charge couples for the different services you’ll provide, educate yourself about the common payment structures for wedding businesses as well as the pricing strategies you can consider.

 

What you need to protect your wedding business

Even if your first clients are family and friends, it is imperative that you have contracts in place to protect both you and them. Weddings are an emotional time and you need to make sure that if anything changes, gets complicated or is unclear that you and your couples have a signed agreement that includes these must-have wedding contract clauses. In addition, you should familiarize yourself with the differences between a proposal and a contract to ensure you’ve covered all of your bases.

 

How to stand out with a strong and authentic brand

Diving into your brand might have been where you thought you should start but we’re finally here in the list of priorities! And, as you refine your color palette and work with a designer to create a logo that feels like you want, it is important to build a brand that has just as much personality as it does good looks. Be sure to define your business’ core values and then infuse them into every place you are building your brand in order to increase your brand’s authenticity.

 

How to market your wedding business

If pricing services is what people struggle with figuring out, how they are going to book their first clients is what stresses them. But, just because your online wedding business is new doesn’t mean you have to worry about where your clients will come from—you just need to be thoughtful about how you market your business from the start. From understanding what SEO is, why you should blog, and how to easily manage social media, there are lots of ways you can connect with the potential clients who will be excited to hire you. One of the most impactful ways to market your new wedding business? With Storefronts on The Knot and WeddingWire. Advertising isn’t just for established businesses and investing in advertising early on can help you make marketing strides.

 

Pro-tip: Interested in learning more about advertising on WeddingWire and The Knot? Fill out this form for more information.

 

A crash course in sales

You can build a beautiful brand and have couples inquire but if you don’t know how to close a sale, you might struggle to fill your calendar. The good news is, sales skills are ones anyone can learn and there are a few key points in the sales cycle you should hone in on. Be sure to learn how to qualify leads to make sure they are a good fit, how to reply to online leads in order to keep them in your funnel, and how to have a successful sales call and get one step closer to booking them as a client.

 

There you have it—the unofficial handbook that covers everything you need to know about starting an online wedding business. As you work through your to-do list of getting yours off the ground, remember the entire WeddingPro community is here to support you. Be sure to follow us on Instagram for tons of tips and to connect with others or get in touch if you’d like us to help you book your first client.

 

Photo Credit: ColorJoy Stock