Hot Home Business: Wedding Planner

Want to work from home but not sure what you can do? The Hot Home Business Directory helps you find a business to run out of your home, lists the skills you need to do it and tells how to get started and where to get more information. Read on to find out if this Hot Home Biz is for you!

What You'll Do: Coordinate every aspect of a couple's wedding, from determining the budget, to securing the location and caterer, to hiring the photographer, florist and musicians. (Think J.Lo in the movie The Wedding Planner.) In addition to doing the planning, you'll attend the rehearsal, ceremony and reception to make sure everything goes smoothly. Many wedding planners offer extra services -- such as, arranging invitations, favors, floral design and rental of bridal accessories -- for an additional fee.

Skills You'll Need: Impeccable communication and people skills. In addition to working closely with the bride, groom and their families, you will need to build relationships with various wedding vendors (caterers, florists, DJs, photographers and so on) so you can negotiate the best deals for your clients. And, of course, you must be well organized and detail oriented, and able to problem-solve on a moment's notice. (After all, you never know when a flower girl might have a meltdown or a photographer gets stuck in traffic!) You'll need back-up plans for every kind of wedding day emergency.

Equipment You'll Need: Computer with Internet access, printer, fax machine, business phone and answering system. A personal digital assistant (PDA) and cell phone are very helpful for keeping up with email and calls when you're out of the home office. Professional-looking marketing materials are a must. (Image is everything in this business!) So spring for the best business cards, letterhead and brochures you can afford. Also invest in a few basic business suits to wear at meetings and on wedding days. Don't forget a pair or two of comfortable shoes! You'll be on your feet a lot.

Start-Up Costs: Around $2,500 or more, to cover licensing fees (regulations vary from state to state, so check with your local and state government offices to see what licenses and permits you need to operate a home business in your area), office equipment and supplies, marketing materials, clothing and fees for training and conferences offered by organizations such as the Association of Bridal Consultants. Start-up costs can soar as high as $10,000 if you plan to offer rental services, because you'll need to invest in equipment like arches and large candelabras, and also pay for storing and transporting them, notes Belinda Keatts, owner of From This Day wedding planning service in New York City and co-leader of the iVillage WFH: Wedding Professionals board. She suggests purchasing these accessories slowly, over time.

How Much You Can Make: From about $10,000 to $50,000 a year or more, depending on where you live and how many weddings you handle. There are two ways to price your services. Some wedding planners base their fees on a percentage of the total bridal budget, taking somewhere between 10 and 15 percent. Others offer a variety of package prices, based on the services desired. For example, Keatts's package prices range from around $300 for back-up help on the wedding day to around $3,000 for full-service planning of the ceremony and reception. Investigate the going rates and fee structures in your area, and set your prices accordingly.

How to Break In:


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