How You Can Make Extra Money Before and After Retirement – Running a Wedding Venue on Your Property

Retirement is a scary word for some of us, why? Because you and I are not ready! I’ll be honest, my parents didn’t plan for retirement and hubby Les parents didn’t either until very late in their lives.

Is that an excuse for us, we didn’t have the training? Nope! We had to figure it out on our own. Did we wait until the last minute to do this, umm, yes? Les and I just turned 59 and we only became serious about retirement last year.

It’s hard to think about retirement when you still have children at home. That was our excuse anyway, no extra funds to put towards retirement. Do you have an excuse?

But… should of, could of, would of… time has run out. Our plan is now in place, is yours? You might enjoy this post on How our Wedding Venue Business got Started.

I guess I could just be mad about the whole retirement mess, like that is going to help? No, God in his grace has given us an alternative to anger and disappointment. Will it require hard work, yes!

Friends, I do not want to sit in front of a T.V. in my senior years anyway! I now get to bless brides, their families, and vendors every weekend during the summer months – at our backyard wedding venue.

Les and I are very active outside all summer and I chalk that up to better health and longevities, yes? Let’s look at what kind of requirements will be needed to start a venue.  Earning extra income needs to become a reality, we are not getting any younger, ouch! 

Do you and your spouse agree on the business 

This is “always” the first question I ask. You cannot do this business alone, period! If you want to hire help, okay. However, our goal is to pay off our mortgage so we can retire.

If we get to big, or need to hire help, we have less profit. Right now, our business supplies enough income for us to meet our goal of having our mortgage paid off by 2027. 

Is it legal to run a business on the property? 

The legalities must be the first consideration. Check with your county and city ordinances about a business on your property before you start anything. The state or county can dictate if you can start a business on your own property. Sadness, I know.

Do you have the space? 

A wedding venue does not have to take up a large area. The venue capacity will determine how much space you will need. Denison Ridge has a capacity of 200 max. and we use approximately five acres of our 20 acres. That includes the parking area.

This post – Is My Backyard Big Enough for an Outdoor Wedding – outlines event considerations.

Small or large venue

 The county will sometimes dictate (don’t get me started) on how many guests you can allow on your property. Or hopefully, you can decide for yourself how big, or small, you want the venue to be.

The county only allowed our venue to accommodate up to 200 total guests at an event. And… while I was very upset about this it turned out to be a good thing.

A good thing in that we found out quickly that 200 was a lot to deal with for us. We would have found this out for ourselves in time anyway.

You need to know the county was not looking out for our interests though. We could have decided to go through a process to be allowed more guest, costing us $1000.00 or more and we chose not to.

Do I sound bitter?   ?  Really, I’m over it, it just seems wrong when the county can tell you what you can and can’t do with property you paid for.

Family run or hire employees 

To hire or not? While keeping your venue small will require less help, even then there might be some additional help required. We have been blessed to be able to keep our work load – in the family.

Whatever you decide to do, count the cost and always think of the safety issues as well. If you as the owner get hurt everything will suffer. Which brings me to the next item. You will always need a backup plan in case of emergency. 

Year round or seasonal? 

Our venue is considered seasonal. We are open end of May, through the first weekend in October. To have winter weddings would require a heated facility and that would cost a pretty penny.

That would not help use reach our goal faster and would probably actually set us back. Your situation could be completely different and winter weddings might be a great option.

Do you enjoy yard work? 

Running an outdoor wedding venue will require beautiful landscaping. And while the initial cost of landscaping might be expensive, you can plan for a lot of maintenance required, or a little. 

Office duties 

As with any business there will be bookkeeping and accounting. But… now there will also be social media to keep up with, contracts to prepare, venue insurance to purchase, venue tours to schedule and bookings to organize.

Website maintenance is a must also, and really this list just keeps going, lol! However, once you get office duties organized, it will just require a bit of regular maintenance. 

Venue showings 

You’ll need to be on top of scheduling tours. Will you do it during the week, on weekends or set aside a strict schedule on when you are available.

This is important! You can run yourself ragged trying to accommodate everyone. Consider how much time it will take you to get ready for each client. If you are using space for other things, there will be cleaning to do each time?

In conclusion: 

Having the Venue on our property has made owning our home on 20 acres profitable. We did not go into debt to start the venue and have made improvements as the cash started to come in.

The first few years we put most of the money from the business, back into the business. But as time went on the venue switched to maintenance mode rather than needing new “projects or stuff” all the time.

We do continue to add landscaping and décor items but only if we have met our important goals for the year first. Our big picture has us holding the title to our house, and not the bank. If you have been following our story you know this is in the works.

So, I ask you – do you need extra cash before or after retirement? If the answer is yes, get my eBook – How to Start and Run a Wedding Venue in Your Own Backyard. Can our story help your story get started? Oh yes!

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