With all the talk from some about how marriage is “under siege,” you’d think it was a dying institution. Nonsense!
In fact, the wedding industry is booming. And with 2.5 million weddings being celebrated last year, there’s never been a better time to launch a business catering to happy couples!
So how did an industry that’s been around for over a century become red hot again?
Demographics and Cultural Shifts = Opportunity
Part of the credit goes to the Millennial Generation, or what statisticians call “Baby Boom 2.0.”
Since the late 1980s, the US birth rate has surpassed 4 million a year, the threshold that is officially considered a baby boom. The first wave of this demographic group is now in their mid to late 20s so just entering the marriage market.
Another major shift is marriage equality.
Currently more than 70 percent of the US population lives in jurisdictions where same sex-couples can legally marry.
And 19 countries – the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, France, Brazil, Uruguay, New Zealand, Britain, Luxembourg, Finland and Ireland – outright acknowledge same-sex marriage.
This seismic shift in social attitudes toward the GLBT community has a huge financial upside.
In the first year of legalization alone, gay couples made up 17% of the total weddings in Washington State. According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, same-sex weddings infused $39 million into Washington’s economy – and that only includes couples who actually reside in the state.
Both same-sex couples and Millennials are statistically a little older when they marry and thus have higher incomes.
That means they have a bigger budget to spend on all the bells and whistles – fancy catering, posh venues, and other amenities.
They’re also more likely to want a unique wedding that expresses their personal values and interests.
And current or aspiring small business owners are perfectly positioned to reap the benefits, especially if you can offer a niche service or product.
You already know the obvious ones… wedding photographers, florists, and caterers.
If any of these float your boat, there’s always room for talented people to join in the fun.
In fact, if you’re highly organized, love managing projects, and are a romantic at heart you can train to become a certified wedding planner. Click here for a list of schools.
At the same time there are lots of other, less obvious ways you can grab your share of the $100 billion wedding industry.
Maybe one of these 7 ideas may be your perfect full or side-line business:
- Day-of-Event Coordinator – If you are highly organized but don’t want the responsibility of organizing an entire wedding consider hanging out your shingle as a Day-of-Event Coordinator.
Unlike a traditional wedding planner, a Day-of-Event Coordinator specializes in running the show on the big day, making sure things run smoothly and preventing wedding-day disasters.
- Wedding Officiant – A number of online interfaith organizations will ordain you as a minister, entitling you to legally perform marriage ceremonies.
At WeddingOfficiants.com I learned you can make up to $1,000 for a single wedding. During the busy summer season you could easily officiate two or more weddings a week. Cha-ching!Obviously prices vary regionally. When I entered my zip code I found local officiant Amanda Brown whose fees to preside over a wedding and write the service start at $550.There’s more to officiating weddings than understanding scripture or asking objectors to speak now or forever hold their peace.Which is why, it may be worthwhile for you to check out the training offered by the Celebrant Institute. (A very outside the box idea itself – and one with room for competition… from you!)Using Amanda’s fee as an example, the $2,400 you’d pay to be trained by the Celebrant Institute would be recouped after officiating just four weddings.
Plus you can deduct the cost of the training as a business expense. Sweet!
And for couples who are outside your geographic range or for do-it-yourselfers, you could always follow Amanda’s wise example and create a Do It Yourself (DIY) course on UDEMY on how to write your own wedding ceremony.
- Same-Sex Wedding Consultant –That means the demand for wedding consultants who know the ropes for same-sex couples is skyrocketing.
A same-sex wedding expert can recommend officiants and venues for the ceremony and can refer the couple to specific vendors who are gay-friendly.Live in a state or country that bans gay marriages? Remember, problem = opportunity.In these locations you could perhaps specialize in destination weddings and “Elopement Packages,” including travel, accommodations, and touring.
- Private Dance Lessons – Have a background in dance? More and more people are seeking out instructors for private classes for the couple (or perhaps a group class for the wedding party) who want to make a big impression when they hit the dance floor at the reception.
Here again prices vary.In pricey London it appears you can fetch £80 for a single hour to as much as £495 for more sessions. (In dollars that’s around $89-$550).For the same number of lessons in Billings, Montana you can ask $48-$335.
- Pre-Wedding Boot Camp – Everyone wants to look their best for the big event. Services offered might include fitness training, teeth whitening, skin treatments, and hair removal.
If you don’t have the skills or licensing to provide hair and makeup services on the actual wedding day then partner with practitioners who can.
- Start a Wedding Website – If you’re tech savvy then create a website as an aggregator for wedding information and tips and/or to match couples with local vendors.
The vendors pay a fee to be on the site and you can earn more cash as an affiliate or by accepting ads.
- Create a coordinated wedding theme – Not just old-fashioned stationery – more like personalized branding complete with a custom wedding theme for stationery, table linens, even decorative banners.
Thanks to social and cultural shifts, the wedding industry is hot again. And with such a wide range of opportunities, there’s something for every aspiring entrepreneur.
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Do you have additional ideas for self-bossers who want to break into the wedding business?
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