Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 5,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their wedding venues. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a wedding venue business plan template step-by-step so you can create your plan today.
What Is a Business Plan?
A business plan provides a snapshot of your wedding venue as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.
Why You Need a Business Plan
If you’re looking to start a wedding venue or grow your existing wedding venue you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your wedding venue in order to improve your chances of success. Your wedding venue business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.
Source of Funding for Wedding Venues
With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a wedding venue are bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable. But they will want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business.
The second most common form of funding for a wedding venue is angel investors. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who will write you a check. They will either take equity in return for their funding, or, like a bank, they will give you a loan. Venture capitalists will not fund a wedding venue.
Wedding Venue Business Plan Template
Your business plan should include 10 sections as follows:
Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.
The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of wedding venue you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have a wedding venue that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of wedding venues.
Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the wedding venue industry. Discuss the type of wedding venue you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.
In your company analysis, you will detail the type of wedding venue you are operating.
For example, you might operate one of the following types:
- Banquet hall: this type of wedding venue is typically a one-stop-shop for weddings, and may offer catering and other services in house.
- Farm/Barn: These venues offer rustic charm and an innately casual feel, plus scenic backdrops for photos.
- Loft/Modern Space: These wedding venues are often referred to as “blank slates,” meaning relatively empty rooms that allow customers to decorate as they like.
In addition to explaining the type of wedding venue you operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the business.
Include answers to question such as:
- When and why did you start the business?
- What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include sales goals you’ve reached, new store openings, etc.
- Your legal structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.
In your industry analysis, you need to provide an overview of the wedding venue business.
While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.
First, researching the wedding venue industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.
Secondly, market research can improve your strategy particularly if your research identifies market trends. For example, if there was a trend towards garden weddings, it would be helpful to ensure your plan calls for an outdoor space.
The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.
The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your wedding venue business plan:
- How big is the wedding venue business (in dollars)?
- Is the market declining or increasing?
- Who are the key competitors in the market?
- Who are the key suppliers in the market?
- What trends are affecting the industry?
- What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
- What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your wedding venue. You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.
The customer analysis section of your wedding venue business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.
The following are examples of customer segments: engaged couples, older couples reaching milestone anniversaries, corporations, etc.
As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of wedding venue you operate. Clearly baby boomers would want a different atmosphere, pricing and product options, and would respond to different marketing promotions than millennials.
Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve. Because most wedding venues primarily serve customers living in their same city or town, such demographic information is easy to find on government websites.
Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.
Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.
Direct competitors are other wedding venues.
Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors. This includes restaurants, hotels, houses of worship, etc. You need to mention such competition to show you understand that not everyone who gets married does so in a wedding venue.
With regards to direct competition, you want to detail the other wedding venues with which you compete. Most likely, your direct competitors will be wedding venues located very close to your location.
For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:
- What types of customers do they serve?
- What products/services do they offer?
- What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
- What are they good at?
- What are their weaknesses?
With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to reach out to customers of your competitors and ask them what they like most and least about them.
The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:
- Will you provide superior services?
- Will you provide amenities that your competitors don’t offer?
- Will you make it easier or faster for customers to book your venue?
- Will you provide better customer service?
- Will you offer better pricing?
Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.
Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a wedding venue business plan, your marketing plan should include the following:
Product: in the product section you should reiterate the type of wedding venue that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific products you will be offering. For example, in addition to ceremony space, will you offer catering, wedding planning, etc.?
Price: Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the options you offer and their prices.
Place: Place refers to the location of your wedding venue. Document your location and mention how the location will impact your success. For example, is your wedding venue located in a historical building, or have you refurbished an old barn, etc. Discuss how your location might provide a steady stream of customers.
Promotions: the final part of your wedding venue marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:
- Advertising in local papers and magazines
- Reaching out to local bloggers and websites
- Partnerships with local organizations (e.g., partner with vendors to provide wedding packages at a discount over a la carte services)
- Local radio advertising
- Banner ads at local venues
- Social media advertising
While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.
Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your wedding venue such as serving customers, procuring supplies, keeping the venue clean, etc.
Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to serve your 25th customer, or when you hope to reach $X in sales. It could also be when you expect to hire your Xth employee or launch a new location.
To demonstrate your wedding venue’s ability to succeed as a business, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.
Ideally you and/or your team members have direct experience in the wedding venue business. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.
If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in wedding venues and/or successfully running small businesses.
Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements.
Income Statement: an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.
In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you run one wedding per day/weekend, or is there space enough for multiple weddings in a single day? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.
Balance Sheets: While balance sheets include much information, to simplify them to the key items you need to know about, balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. For instance, if you spend $100,000 on building out your wedding venue, that will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $100.000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.
Cash Flow Statement: Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.
In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a wedding venue:
- Location build-out including design fees, construction, etc.
- Cost of equipment like decor, AV systems, lighting, etc.
- Cost of ingredients (if you also cater) and maintaining an adequate amount of supplies
- Payroll or salaries paid to staff
- Business insurance
- Taxes and permits
- Legal expenses
Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your store design blueprint or location lease.
Wedding Venue Business Plan Summary
Putting together a business plan for your wedding venue is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the wedding venue business, your competition and your customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful wedding venue.
Finish Your Wedding Venue Business Plan in 1 Day!
Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your wedding venue business plan?
With Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!
Click here to finish your wedding venue business plan today.
OR, Let Us Develop Your Plan For You
Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.