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How to Start a Wedding Rental Business

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Start a Wedding Rental Business

Fast Facts

Investment range

$16,050 - $32,100

Revenue potential

$101,000 - $203,000 p.a.

Time to build

1 – 3 months

Profit potential

$40,000 - $81,000 p.a.

Industry trend

Growing

Commitment

Flexible

Weddings are bouncing back after essentially disappearing during the pandemic. Wedding rental businesses play a big role in making weddings special by providing everything from wedding décor to the wedding dress. 

The wedding services industry saw a sharp downturn in 2020, but it’s now coming back in a big way and worth $57 billion in the US alone. You could ride the industry comeback by starting your own wedding rental business and providing valuable services to people looking to marital memories. 

But before you go shopping, you’ll need to understand the business launch process. Fortunately, everything you need to know can be found in this step-by-step guide, which will prepare you to start your successful wedding rental business.

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons

Starting a wedding rental business has pros and cons to consider before deciding if it’s right for you.

Pros

  • Share Joy – Help make wedding days special
  • Good Money – People spend a lot of cash on weddings
  • Growing Market – Wedding services are heating up post-pandemic

Cons

  • Investment Required – Purchasing a variety of items to rent costs money
  • Bridezillas – Brides are very selective about their wedding needs

Wedding rental industry trends

Industry size and growth

  • Industry size and past growth – The US wedding services industry was worth $56.7 billion in 2021 after a sharp 35.7% contraction in 2020.((https://www.ibisworld.com/united-states/market-research-reports/wedding-services-industry/))
  • Growth forecast – The US wedding services industry is projected to grow modestly over the next five years.
  • Number of businesses – In 2021, 336,725 wedding services businesses were operating in the US.
  • Number of people employed – In 2021, the US wedding services industry employed 923,123 people.
wedding rental industry size and growth

Trends and challenges

Trends in the wedding rental industry include:

  • Items like portable bars and dance floors are becoming popular rental items for weddings.
  • Weekday weddings are becoming more common, presenting more opportunities for wedding rental services. 

Challenges in the wedding rental industry:

  • Many people are downsizing their weddings, meaning they need to rent fewer items.
  • It’s more important than ever to thoroughly clean and disinfect wedding rental items, as people are still concerned about contagion.
wedding rental Trends and Challenges

How much does it cost to start a wedding rental business?

Startup costs for a wedding rental business range from $16,000 to $32,000. The largest expense is the items that you’ll rent, so costs depend on what you decide to purchase. You’ll also need to rent a shop space or at least a storage space for items, and a truck or van to transport items to the wedding venue.

Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Setting up a business name and corporation$150 - $200$175
Business licenses and permits$100 - $300$200
Insurance$100-$300$200
Business cards and brochures$200 - $300$250
Website setup$1,000 - $3,000$2,000
Shop or storage space rental$1,500 - $3,000$2,250
Items to rent$10,000 - $20,000$15,000
Truck or van to transport items$3,000 - $5,000$4,000
Total$16,050 - $32,100$24,075

How much can you earn from a wedding rental business?

The average amount spent on wedding rental items is $650, but that number can be as much as $2,000 or more, depending on the items. Your profit margin after your rent and overhead costs should be about 40%. 

In your first year or two, you could rent items for three weddings a week, bringing in $101,000 in annual revenue. This would mean $40,000 in profit, assuming that 40% margin. As your business gains traction and you get referrals, you’ll add more items to your inventory, and you might outfit six weddings a week. With annual revenue of $203,000, you’d make a healthy profit of $81,000.

wedding rental earnings forecast

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry for a wedding rental business. Your biggest challenges will be:

  • The startup costs of the wedding rental items
  • Competing with established wedding rental companies

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Step 2: Hone Your Idea

develop a business idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a wedding rental business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.

Why? Identify an opportunity

Research wedding rental businesses in your area to examine their products, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a wedding dress rental business or a wedding décor rental business.

You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, such as party tents or wedding arches.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away. 

What? Determine your products or services

There are a number of items you can purchase to rent for weddings including:

  • Wedding décor
  • Wedding dresses
  • Party tents and chairs
  • Tent accessories
  • Party equipment such as audio equipment
  • Photo booths
  • Portable bars
  • Portable dance floors
  • Dinnerware and glassware
  • Table-toppers
  • Wedding arches

You’ll also be able to rent some of your items for corporate events or other special events so that you’re not limited to just weddings. 

How much should you charge for wedding rentals?

Prices for wedding rentals vary by item. A tent might rent for about $300 while dinner place settings might rent for $6 to $7 each. Check prices in your area to make sure you’re competitive. After the cost of shop or storage space rent and overhead, you should aim for a profit margin of about 40%. 

Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

Your target market will not only be people getting married but businesses for corporate events and basically anyone who might hold other special events. You should spread out your marketing to include sites like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

You could also partner with wedding planners to get referrals.

Where? Choose your business premises

In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low, but you may need to rent a storage space or want to open a shop at some point. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:

  • Central location accessible via public transport
  • Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
  • Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
wedding rental business idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Wedding Rental Business Name

Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “wedding rentals” or “event rentals”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “Grand Occasions Rentals” over “Boho Chic Wedding Rentals”
  • Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
  • Use online tools like the Step by Step Business Name Generator. Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.

Step 4: Create a Business Plan

Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:

  • Executive Summary: Summarize your wedding rental business’s mission to provide a wide range of high-quality, stylish wedding items for rent, including decor, furniture, and lighting.
  • Business Overview: Describe your business’s specialization in renting out wedding-related items, catering to couples looking for convenient, cost-effective solutions for their big day.
  • Product and Services: Detail the range of rental items offered, like ceremony and reception decor, chairs, tables, linens, lighting, and custom pieces.
  • Market Analysis: Assess the demand for wedding rentals, identifying target customers like engaged couples, wedding planners, and event venues.
  • Competitive Analysis: Compare your rental options and services to other local wedding rental providers, focusing on your unique offerings like exclusive items or comprehensive wedding packages.
  • Sales and Marketing: Outline your strategy for attracting customers, using tactics like bridal expo participation, social media campaigns, and partnerships with wedding venues.
  • Management Team: Highlight the experience and qualifications of your team, especially in event planning, customer service, and inventory management.
  • Operations Plan: Describe the operational process, including inventory management, client consultations, delivery, setup, and post-event retrieval.
  • Financial Plan: Provide an overview of financial aspects, covering startup costs, pricing strategy, and revenue projections.
  • Appendix: Include supplementary documents like catalogs of rental items, client testimonials, or detailed market research to support your business plan.
what to include in a business plan

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you’re planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to wedding rental businesses. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your wedding rental business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
types of business structures

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have. 

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Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you’re completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

  • Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
  • Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a wedding rental business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept. 

types of business financing

Step 8: Apply for Licenses/Permits

Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a wedding rental business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your wedding rental business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.
types of business insurance

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

Launching a Business

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks. 

You may want to use industry-specific software, such as Good Shuffle, EZ RentOut, or InTempo, to manage your bookings, inventory, schedule, and invoicing. 

Accounting

  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.

Develop your website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.

You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google.

Marketing

Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:

  1. Strategic Partnerships: Forge alliances with local wedding planners, photographers, and florists to cross-promote services and create bundled packages, enhancing value for couples planning their special day.
  2. Social Media Influencers: Collaborate with popular wedding influencers on platforms like Instagram and TikTok to showcase your rental items in styled shoots, reaching a wider audience and generating buzz around your offerings.
  3. Showroom Events: Host open-house events at your showroom, allowing engaged couples to experience your rental items firsthand, ask questions, and make informed decisions—creating a memorable and personalized connection.
  4. SEO Optimization for Local Searches: Enhance your online visibility by optimizing your website for local wedding-related keywords, ensuring that your business appears prominently in search engine results for couples in your area.
  5. Referral Programs: Implement a referral program that incentivizes past clients, vendors, or even employees to refer engaged couples to your business, offering discounts or exclusive perks for successful referrals.
  6. Interactive Content: Develop engaging and shareable content on social media, such as polls, quizzes, and interactive posts, to not only build brand awareness but also to foster a sense of community around wedding planning.
  7. Seasonal Promotions: Capitalize on wedding seasons and holidays by offering themed promotions or discounts, creating a sense of urgency for couples to book your rental items for their upcoming weddings.
  8. Testimonials and Case Studies: Showcase success stories from past clients through testimonials and detailed case studies on your website, highlighting the positive experiences of couples who chose your rental services.
  9. Email Marketing Campaigns: Build an email list by encouraging website visitors to subscribe for updates and exclusive offers, and then send targeted email campaigns featuring new inventory, promotions, and helpful wedding planning tips.
  10. Community Engagement: Actively participate in local community events, sponsor wedding-related workshops, or contribute to bridal shows to establish your business as an integral part of the wedding industry in your area.

Focus on USPs

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your wedding rental business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your wedding rental business could be: 

  • Traditional or not so traditional weddings – we’ve got you covered
  • Your one-stop shop for all your wedding décor
  • Top-notch wedding rentals for less
unique selling proposition

Networking

You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a wedding rental business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in wedding rentals for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in wedding rentals. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. 

Step 12: Build Your Team

Building a Team for a New Business

If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a wedding rental business include:

  • Shop Clerks – assist customers with selecting rental items
  • Delivery Drivers – deliver items to wedding venues
  • General Manager – scheduling, ordering, accounting
  • Marketing Lead – SEO strategies, social media

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Run a Wedding Rental Business – Start Making Money!

Running a Business

Wedding days are special events, and people want their wedding venue to be beautiful as well as functional. Wedding rental businesses contribute to making the venue meet the needs of the bride and groom. If you have a passion for making dreams come true, you could build a lucrative wedding rental company. 

You’ve checked your business homework off your list now, so it’s time to go shopping and get your successful wedding rental business off the ground!

Wedding Rental Business FAQs

Is a wedding rental business profitable?

Yes, a wedding rental business can be profitable. You’ll just need to select desirable items to rent and provide your customers with an excellent experience, and you can be successful.

How should I price my wedding rentals?

Prices for wedding rentals vary by item. A tent might rent for about $300 while dinner place settings might rent for about $6 to $7 each. Check prices in your area to make sure you’re competitive.

How can I effectively market and promote my wedding rental business to attract clients?

To effectively market and promote your wedding rental business, focus on building relationships with wedding planners, venues, and other vendors in the industry. Utilize social media, email marketing, and paid advertising to showcase your products and services, and offer special deals and promotions to attract new clients.

How do I manage the logistics of delivery, setup, and pickup of rental items for weddings?

To manage the logistics of delivery, setup, and pickup of rental items for weddings, create a detailed schedule and checklist for each event, and communicate clearly with clients, vendors, and staff. Hire experienced delivery and setup crews, and ensure that they have the necessary equipment, tools, and resources to handle any challenges that may arise. 

Can I start wedding rental business on the side?

You can easily start a wedding rental business as a side hustle, since most of your time will be spent on the weekends. It may, however, take some juggling to handle new client appointments.

How do I handle contracts and agreements with clients for renting out items?

To handle contracts and agreements with clients for renting out items, create clear and detailed contracts that outline the terms and conditions of the rental, including payment terms, delivery and pickup dates, and any special requirements or restrictions.

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How to Start a Wedding Rental Business