Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? No
It's hard to plan those dream nuptials these days--both the bride and groom usually work, which leaves them scant time or energy for all the scores of details that go into planning the big event. But you can make dreams come true as a wedding planner (also called a bridal consultant). You'll work with the happy couple on an hourly basis, lending advice on a few issues, or you'll plan and orchestrate the entire event, from deciding how many guests to invite, to helping choose a site and someone to officiate on the big day. Wedding planning is big business these days and getting bigger. And because many couples are marrying later than ever before--having spent years as working singles--they've got the funds to put on major productions. That means lots of work with plenty of income for you. The advantages to this business are that you can start part-time without making a big investment, it's creative and challenging, and you get to be an active participant in one of the most glamorous, exciting and romantic aspects of anyone's life over and over again. This is a business where you've got to be extremely organized and detail-oriented. You also have to be creative and able to meet challenges, advising the bride and groom on what they can get for their budget and inventing ways to give them the wedding of their dreams even if they can't afford their original ideas or the site their hearts are set on is already booked solid. You'll need a good working knowledge of what goes into planning a wedding, including resources and price ranges for everything from invitations to photographers to orchestras. And since weddings are emotional for everyone involved, you have to be able to keep your cool, help soothe ruffled feathers and suggest compromises.
Your clients will be brides and grooms eager to make their wedding the event of a lifetime. Attract their business through ads in your local Yellow Pages, in the society or wedding section of your local paper and in special bridal supplements. Establish a relationship with local wedding-oriented vendors--florists, photographers, bridal shops, videographers, caterers, hotels and country clubs, bakeries and cake decorators, jewelers and musicians. Leave your brochures with them and ask for referrals.
All that's really necessary to get started is a calendar, a planning book, a phone and your list of resources.