Dear Preston: How Do I Start My Own Business?

preston bailey business advice how to become a wedding planner

Hi, Preston.

I’m sure you receive a lot of emails, but since you always post such great advice for those of us in the wedding industry, I thought I might as well ask some questions, too.

I’m an upcoming wedding planner, but I only plan on doing this on the side. So far, I have completed three weddings on my own and have four more weddings coming up this year. My concerns arise with the business aspect of becoming a wedding planner.

I started doing this for fun and for free, but, once word spread, I became busier and decided I wanted to have my own company. The problem is that while I definitely know how to plan events, I’m lost when it comes to starting a business.

I already have a company name, my own contract and packages, and a website underway. But how do I know when to get a business license? How do I make everything legal? Since I only plan on doing it on the side for now and am not making very much money, do I need a business license?

As you can see, I am very lost when it comes to these details! Any advice or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
A New Planner

Dear NP,

Thank you for your letter, and congratulations on your new venture. It sounds like you’ve already had some exciting success and that folks are responding well to your work. That’s great.

Now, to answer your questions:

First and foremost, you should find a good accountant with restaurant and event industry experience.

Second, set up your company as either a Corporation, a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), or a Sole Proprietor. Once you create a company and are filing that company in the state where you work, you’ll be able to purchase wholesale. A company will also limit your personal liability should something unfortunate occur.

Third, contact an insurance broker to obtain Workers Compensation Insurance and General Liability Insurance.

Every state has regulations for running a business, no matter how small. So it’s always a good idea to follow the rules carefully and make sure your business meets every requirement. Correcting errors later will consume a great deal of time and likely be expensive.

I urge everyone who wants to start their own business to seek professional advice. The small cost you pay up front will prevent headaches in the future and help ensure your success.

Dear Readers, did I miss anything? What advice would you add? Please share your expertise!

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