Here Comes the Profit
The wedding season kicks off officially in May but with nuptials now popular all year round and costing an average of £22,858 each in 2013, it’s a lucrative market. Take Stock looks at how saying ‘ I do,’ gets tills ringing.
“We make a huge amount of profit from weddings – mainly from the food and drink,” admits Zoe Harker, wedding co-ordinator at The Alma Inn, Laneshawbridge. The pub started catering for weddings five years ago. “The profit doesn’t just come from the day though. We get a lot of repeat business from wedding guests and because we have a designated room separate from the pub area, the weddings don’t affect normal trade.”
The Alma Inn is booked for weddings every Friday and Saturday this year but other days of the week have become popular too. “With an increase in the number of remarriages, we are finding that couples are wanting a more low key affair and are therefore happy to get married on a normal weekday.”
Tips of the trade
Wedding caterer Julie Gray of Bovingdons and expert on The Wedding Community website offers tips for venues that are new to the business.
Size doesn’t matter
Not everyone is after a big, fancy venue. Sometimes a smaller venue with the personal touch can be far more intimate.
Keep it simple
Create a menu with simple ingredients. A choice of at least one fish, meat and vegetarian option and traditional flavour combinations is fine. Her top selling menu options are: canapes – mini Yorkshire puddings with rare roast beef, and mini bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese; breast of chicken marinated in lemon, thyme, olive oil mash and roasted vegetables and molten chocolate fondant with vanilla mascarpone and black cherries.
Champagne is a thing of the past with Prosecco becoming much more popular – especially served as a Bellini with fresh peach juice. Fruity, flavoured alcoholic punches such as Jeeves are popular for women and bottled lager for men.
Be flexible and offer weddings at different times. August is currently the most popular month to get married in and January the quietest, so why not offer discounted rates and cash in on the quieter months? Or, offer weddings at alternative times of the day. In 2013, 53% of all weddings took place in the afternoon with 31% in the evening and just 16% in the morning.
Let me entertain you
In a recent survey by NCC Wedding Planning Courses, 78% of brides said they wished they’d made entertainment more of a priority and hired a band instead of a DJ, or something entirely different. Offering a range of entertainment options could win you wedding business.
To hold a wedding at your venue you need to apply to your local council for a license. Any rooms or outside spaces should be listed, but there is no limit to the number. The average cost is £2,000 for three years.
Typical 2014-style wedding menu
Hand carved smoked salmon with homemade fennel bread
Breast of duck on rosti potatoes with rich cognac and orange sauce
French coffee, served strong