[Start-it-up] How to Start a Wedding Planning Business
Foreign nationals, from all over the world, and non-resident Indians are flying in to have traditional ceremonies.
From close-knit and contemporary destination to big-fat Indian weddings, there are at least 2,000 ceremonies taking place every single day in India. In the last year alone, more than a million weddings took place in India, according to Mazhar Nadiadwala, managing director at Dome India, an event management firm.
The ceremonies could last anywhere around a day to as long as five days. Hosts have budgets ranging from INR 1 to 5 lakh going up to INR 72 crore. That’s approximately the cost of Isha Ambani’s wedding. Isha Ambani, India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani’s only daughter, tied the knot with Anand Piramal, executive director of Piramal Group, a global business conglomerate.
“Prospective bride and grooms are only increasing in this industry making wedding planning a recession-proof market,” said Nadiadwala.
Actress Anushka Sharma and Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli’s destination wedding in Italy, Priyanka Chopra and musician Nick Jonas’ dreamy Catholic and Hindu rituals, and Bollywood’s highest-paid actress Deepika Padukone and superstar Ranveer Singh’s Konkani and Sindhi ceremonies not only became a benchmark locally but have also stirred attraction globally. Foreign nationals, from all over the world, and non-resident Indians are flying in to have traditional ceremonies.
“Wedding planning or any event management business completely depends on your clientele, experience, and how well you can serve your customers,” said Nadiadwala.
A full-stack wedding planner needs to organize everything from the first ceremony till the bride and groom depart for their honeymoon. Sometimes, beyond that as well.
As a wedding planner, if you are organizing a full-stack wedding then you are responsible for almost everything from start till the very last ceremony.
Decoration, catering, clothes, travel bookings, pickups and drops, venue selection, dance choreographer, music and beautician are a few important things on the list of arrangements a wedding planner has to make.
To plan a wedding, you can either choose to have a full-time team or hire freelancers according to your assignments. If you plan to be a regular planner who arranges 7-10 weddings in a month, then having a full-time team would be a good idea. But for people just starting out who only have handful of projects, working with freelancers would be a better idea.
You may also have to work on certain projects, like being hired to organize only the sangeet ceremony, out of the other six rituals, before you go on to plan an entire wedding.
Delivering the best services to your customers and networking are very important. Before starting your business, it is highly advisable to work with a team and experience the whole process. Some experience is necessary to get into this business.
You will have to invest in a good laptop with high storage. This should cost you INR 20,000 or above. For starters you can either choose to work out of your home or move into a small office or a co-working space. Renting a desk in a co-working space should cost INR 7,000 and above. Everything else is ordered from vendors based on your requirement.
However, having an initial capital of anything around INR 5-10 lakh may be required to place initial orders with vendors. You will need to create a reliable network of vendors for supply, sometimes in emergency.
Investing in marketing would be advisable once you have organized a few ceremonies and have something to showcase. Word-of-mouth recommendations are the best marketing tool in this business. Instagram accounts and Facebook pages are your best friend. Setting up a website would also be helpful. This would cost around INR 1,500 to INR 3,000 and you can get started.
In the wedding planning business, earnings are also completely based on your clientele and the ceremonies you organize. A full-stack wedding planner can earn between 10-15 per cent commission of the total wedding budget. So, for a wedding budget of INR 10 lakh, one can easily earn at least INR 1 lakh.
ConclusionWedding planning requires creativity, people management, time management and working at unearthly hours. If your caterer cancels a day before the D-day, you need to step up and fix it. If there is a power cut or sound system is faulty, then you have to handle the situation. You will struggle to build your reputation in the initial years. But once you have showcased your talent and organized fun ceremonies, good word will spread like wildfire, and profits will only flow in.