Cash In on 'I Do': Low-Cost Startups
Looking for a low-cost way to cash in on the growing wedding industry? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Plan the perfect proposal. Many grooms are looking for a memorable way to get down on one knee. By acting as their advisor, ego-booster and source of inspiration, your goal is to create the most romantic, personalized proposal. You can get as creative as their budget allows, including proposing in a hot-air balloon or at the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Write a bridal planning guide. It's definitely been done before; just peruse the aisles of your local bookstore, and you'll find a plethora of wedding advice and planning books. But brides are always searching for ways to save money or differentiate their weddings from others, so if you can bring something new to the genre, go for it.
Become a wedding calligrapher. Once you master the art of calligraphy, this business doesn't have much overhead. Though some brides have their envelopes printed, calligraphy is still the traditional way of addressing wedding invitations. Services include personalizing the inner and outer envelopes of the invitation, as well as place cards, menus and programs. The going rate for a handwritten invitation set is about $4.
Manage bridal registries. According to the experts at WeddingChannel, people spend between $3 billion and $5 billion each year on bridal registries. A majority of that money is spent at department store chains like Macy's, but what about smaller stores? Give smaller retailers a national online presence for their bridal registry offerings by including them on your website. This service also allows brides to find everything they need in one spot.
Become a wedding planner. Bridal consulting is also big business. Companies like eLearners.com offer online bridal consultant programs, so you can become certified from home. Then, a company like WedAlert.com can help you by matching engaged couples with local wedding professionals.
Start a marriage preparation course. Couples may think love is all they need. But a marriage preparation course is invaluable to couples before they take the next big step. If you and your partner have a loving, long-lasting relationship and are willing to share your triumphs and tragedies, this business could end up making a difference in countless marriages.
Offer bridal boot camp. From the moment a bride-to-be puts the ring on her finger, she's probably already thinking about how she's going to fit into the perfect dress. That's where you come in. By offering fitness training and dietary advice, you can fill a growing niche of the wedding industry. Other popular aesthetic treatments include teeth whitening, cellulite-reduction therapy and hair removal.
Give private dance lessons. When it comes to dancing, people tend to either love it or hate it. For engaged couples in the "hate it" category, private dance lessons could help create a simple, yet elegant first dance. You can even offer classes for the entire wedding party, so they'll be ready to hit the dance floor on the big day.
Get creative with bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts. When rehearsal night comes around, it's time for brides and grooms to say thank you to their bridal party. But what do they give them? Typically, brides and grooms want to personalize gifts based on a person's personality and hobbies. By specializing in finding individualized gifts, you could save the engaged couple a lot of time and energy.
Become a wedding minister. Thanks to the destination wedding trend, this role is becoming more prominent. Also, as more interfaith marriages take place, non-denominational ministers are the obvious choice. If you're willing to travel, enjoy public speaking and have a knack for story-telling, this could be the fit for you.
Design cake toppers. Roney says the days of traditional wedding images, like bells and doves, are fleeting. That means the traditional bride and groom cake toppers are also on their way out. Alternatives range from the couple's initials or wedding monogram to themed pieces that reflect their personal style.
Create unique bridal garters. Today's brides want personalized garters that will impress their beaus. Try making garters with college colors and insignias, sports themes and traditional designs for the hopeless romantics.
Specialize in bridal hair or make-up. This is a business that relies heavily on word-of-mouth recommendations. Often, brides will ask these vendors to come directly to their bridal suite or wherever they're prepping for the big day. When hair and make-up artists work as a team, it can simplify the decision for the bride and create a referral service for both vendors.
Become a day-of coordinator. A day-of coordinator differs from an actual wedding planner in that their sole responsibility is making sure the wedding day is free of disasters. This is the perfect option for a bride wanting control of her wedding, but who can't do everything on her actual wedding day by herself. Day-of coordinators typically meet with couples a month or so before their big day to catch up on plans and get vendor lists. Wedding planners can also offer day-of coordinating as an additional service.
Sell disposable cameras. Of course the photographer will capture the major moments, but placing disposable cameras on tables creates fun, impromptu photo opportunities. It's also a great way for brides and grooms to see guests they may miss throughout the hectic day. You can differentiate your cameras with special designs and personalization sure to catch the attention of the meticulous bride or groom.
Paint wedding reception portraits. This is a relatively new trend brides and grooms are starting to request. And it's no surprise. Roney points out that today's weddings are about personalization; and what's more personal than a painting of the reception, done by an artist who was there while it happened? It's also a nice feature for guests, who'll enjoy taking a peak as you create your masterpiece.
Design personalized favors. Brides and grooms are growing tired of typical favors and instead are looking for unique items that go along with their wedding theme. For instance, Roney says favors involving the beach are hot right now. Some couples are choosing to forgo a favor altogether and are instead donating money to a charity. In that case, you could design an elegant card to display at each place setting explaining where the donation is going.
Become a honeymoon planner. According to The Knot, the average honeymoon budget is $4,200. That means some couples are taking shorter, simpler trips, while others are choosing exotic, luxurious destinations. Either way, your role as a travel agent and honeymoon planner is to find options that fit into their budget while still meeting the criteria on their wish list. If a couple loves golf, schedule a tee time for them. Special white-glove touches will help you stand out from traditional travel agencies.
Make honeymoon kits. With the hectic pre-wedding schedule, most engaged couples don't start thinking about what to pack on the honeymoon until a few days before the wedding, making it likely they'll forget something. Create fun honeymoon baskets based on popular destinations like Hawaii or Tahiti. For example, for Hawaii, you could include reef shoes for scuba-diving, sunscreen, after-sun lotion, beach cover-ups and flip-flops. These make great shower gifts and save the couple time and money.
Design bride and groom T-shirts and hats. If you can't tell a newlywed couple by the way they look at each other, these shirts and hats will confirm they're recently hitched. Featuring words like "bride," "groom," "newlywed," "Mrs. Smith" and "Mr. Smith," they're a fun way for a couple to show off their new marital status.
For more information and the full list of business ideas by categories, return to our complete wedding feature.