Despite the economic downturn wedding ceremonies continue to be held almost every week. Love does conquer all as couples ensure they exchange vows in style against the odds. So, for those who are passionate about events management, couples looking to wed can be your niche. Over the past few years, we have witnessed a gradual rise in the number of people getting into businesses relating to weddings. Wedding ceremonies are a huge aspect of the Zimbabwean perception of what constitutes a noble passage into marriage. Therefore there is lots of money to be made with respect to weddings. In this article, I’m touching on how you can start your own wedding venue business.
The ways to build this business will be premised on what you want to offer. A wedding ceremony entails more than just venue hire and you could strategically incorporate other related services to maximize profits. The planning of the wedding, catering, multimedia, floral services, make-up and entertainment are some of the services you can also incorporate. You can diversify your approach to have all these services in-house or you can forge outsourcing relationships with those who provide them. You are more wired to become the venue of choice if clients realize you’re a one-stop shop.
What you’ll need is hugely dependent on how you want to approach the business. You can purchase a property or you can renovate a property you already own. I would advise that you settle for this business if you already have a property that you own – it’s less capital-intensive. The renovation will entail a facelift and some landscaping to make the place classy and exclusive. Outdoor or garden weddings are preferred by Zimbabwean clients so that calls for tents and outdoor chairs and tables. For easy mobility and handling, it might wiser to get foldable chairs and tables. There will be a need for decorative material which is customizable to many different arrangements. Your approach will inform you of what’s required.
If you have the leeway to choose a location let it be sufficiently private and secluded but not too distant for easy accessibility. It should be within a reasonable reach to basic services that will come in handy for any needs that can arise anytime. If you don’t have the leeway then transform it to be private and secluded – people usually want a wedding to be exclusive and intrusion-proof.
Again your preferred approach will guide you in this regard. Whichever way you choose there is one person who you need to have, a seasoned wedding planner. If you could find a seasoned wedding planner you’ll leverage on the social capital they already wield. This doesn’t necessarily have to be someone you employ; you can simply outsource his/her services. Your working staff can be quite lean actually; the secret of this business is networking and outsourcing. If you can institute a seamless system it’s possible to start running the business with just 4 individuals. The venue would need a caretaker, an administrator, you are the visionary and the wedding planner whilst other aspects such as marketing, customer care and financial management can be a collective effort.
Depending on whatever approach you adopt you’ll need a substantial amount of money. The business thrives on quality value proposition and service provision. It involves a lot of logistical issues and so you need to raise a significant amount of money before starting this type of business. You don’t necessarily start realizing profits immediately so it’s wise to start this business with the capital you know is auxiliary (e.g. savings or windfalls). Particularly in Zimbabwe, I strongly advise against taking out loans.
As I pointed out earlier, weddings occur every week and mostly on weekends. There are already a lot of players in the business but you still can claim a significant portion of the market. Your products, your value proposition, your service provision and your pricing regime are the pivotal drivers in luring customers. A successful wedding venue business will greatly benefit from positive reviews. Thus it’s important that you list your venue, provide free Wi-Fi so as to encourage people to rate it. Your web and social media presence must be strong – also incorporate user-generated content on your platforms. I cannot emphasize enough the need to market the business by all means necessary.
You must ensure you register the business and list the venue so that it’s formalized as a wedding venue. Consult with local authorities on issues that you might not be privy to. For instance, if you own private property in a residential area you’ll have to get clearance on whether or not it’s allowed owing to the noise factor, among other issues. So it’s expedient to consult with local authorities to get guidance on such issues and more.
Leisure accommodation venues such as lodges and hotels tend to be used as wedding venues. I’m sure there are wide-ranging reasons for that but some people go there because they lack competitive choices. Don’t just make it about venue hire only, augment with other related value-added services.