The U.S. wedding industry is a big business—great news if you’re interested in starting a wedding business. According to IBIS World, it’s a $60 billion marketplace encompassing over 580,000 businesses and more than 900,000 employees.
It’s also a growing business. While the industry experienced a downturn during the recession, as the economy rebounds and postponed nuptials are planned, wedding-related business activity is expected to follow suit.
If you’re interested in getting a piece of this market’s pie, here are seven conventional (and some not-so-conventional) wedding-themed businesses to start this summer.
7 Wedding Business Ideas
Same-Sex Couple Wedding Coordinator/Officiant
Changing attitudes and changing laws are resulting in new opportunities for same-sex wedding planning businesses. While gay marriage hasn’t been legal long enough to gauge market size, data suggests that gay couples are better educated and older than average newlywed couples. When San Francisco legalized gay marriage, same-sex unions experienced a boom, especially among the over 35 age group (74% of licenses issued) and those with college degrees (69%). With potentially more income at their disposal, the services of a wedding coordinator could be desirable to this demographic.
Becoming an officiant for same-sex marriages is another business option, or you could also add it to complement your wedding planning business. Wedding officiants have legal authorization from their local government to certify a marriage license. Check with your state and local county clerk’s office on the laws and procedures that apply.
Small-Scale Alternative Flower Services
Providing an alternative to the big boys has long been the motto of Farmgirl Flowers, and it’s a wedding business that anyone with a love of floristry and weddings can explore.
Small-scale operators need a way to differentiate themselves, so look for unique marketing opportunities that provide an entry into this competitive marketplace. Whether you’re an expert flower arranger or want to grow your own garden or build a flower farm, producing unique, alternative, sustainably-produced flowers and flower arrangements is just one option. Providing great service or unique packaging is another.
If you are people-centric, hardworking, and can hack the seasonality of wedding photography, this can be a lucrative and hugely rewarding business venture. According to the New York Film Academy, wedding photographers often start out as hobbyists but once they go pro can earn anywhere from $15,000 to over $100,000.
In addition to building your own profile, portfolio, website, and network, you can also offer your services through online sites like Scoopshot, WeddingWire, The Knot, and even Craigslist.
Take Hair and Makeup to the Bride
Who really wants to be dragged off to the hair salon or nail parlor on their wedding day? If specialized styling is your forte or you’re a skilled makeup artist, why not freelance your services and go straight to the bride. In addition to pampering the bride in the convenience and comfort of her home or wedding venue, consider providing add-on services like touch-ups during the day, rehearsal dinner and wedding reception styling, or even bring a whole team and take care of the bridesmaids too!
Pre- or Post-Wedding Massage Therapy Provider
Whether you run a massage therapy spa or are a trained provider, could you repackage your services and provide pre-wedding or honeymoon massage treatments? This is a great option for expanding your business into the field or building your own freelance massage business.
Wedding Jewelry Design
From rings to necklaces, bracelets to tiaras, the wedding business offers a great opportunity to take a craft skill like jewelry design and turn it into a business. You’ll need patience and strong people skills as you consult with clients and work towards developing the right design that reflects their commitment and special day. Etsy is a great place to start because it allows you to dabble part-time and perfect your skills. You’ll also need strong photography skills (or hire a photographer) to capture great shots of your portfolio.
Wedding Websites that Scream WOW
Wedding websites that encapsulate a couple’s special day (everything from planning to registries to photo sharing) are becoming more common. Again, look for ways to differentiate yourself from the big players in this space, such as The Knot’s free wedding website tool or these other popular fee-based options. Team up with wedding photographers and coordinators to get a true idea of where the gaps in the market exist and whether there’s demand in your community for a uniquely tailored offering.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to have a financial cushion to help lessen the risk during those first few months of getting started. Check out Fundbox’s cash flow and financial management blogs for tips.