So you’re interested in holding a wedding on your land as a way to boost your income. Fab! Weddings are fun to host with family and friendships being very much at the heart of every wedding. Although they’re a lot less complicated than festivals and other large scale events, there are some serious considerations you’ll need make.
It may seem obvious but you’ll need to consider how the space will work. Is there good drainage if the great British summer lets us down? If you plan on holding large marquee weddings, the space must have good wide access on to it (marquee trucks are large!). It must be fairly flat, and will be able to withstand a tent, large numbers of people and vehicles on it.
Is there water? Is it bore hole or mains water? What about electric? Generators and water can be brought in by caterers, bar companies, toilet companies, and marquee hire. It’s therefore not essential to have these on site. If you choose to offer water or electric, ensure you work that cost in to your price.
Remember, no one knows your land like you do. Make sure you point out things like overhead power lines or underground cables that may be affected by marquee pegs/poles. Are there any public rights of way?
What level of support are you prepared to offer those using the land? Will you help tow cars out of muddy fields? Supply hay bales for seating?
When considering whether your land is suitable for weddings, think about how noise and traffic may affect any neighbours. Even if you only hold a few weddings a year, you’ll have to live with your neighbours all year round, so you’ll need to stay on their good side!
Consider traffic. Will there be an over flow of cars preventing neighbours from parking near their property or blocking roads. Will increased traffic flow to a small lane create grid lock for local residents? Remember you’ll need to make sure blue light services can access not only your site but also that of your neighbours at all times.
Will you ensure all music finishes at 11pm? Will all guests need to have departed the site by midnight? How will you monitor this if you’re not on site? Are guests going to be allowed to camp on site, potentially making noise into the small hours?
Dealing with the couple
Couples who are interested in your land will generally require a few hours of your time before they book. It can be really lovely to build up a rapport with a couple who are getting married. They’re excited and nervous, and sometimes all the family want to get involved!
It’s worth remembering that couples planning weddings have usually never planned a large event in their life. They can be very over whelmed by the process and the expense. They want the day to be perfect, obsess over the weather and the tiny details. Being patient, friendly and approachable will go a long way with a stressed couple.
Your couples will get in touch via an initial enquiry email. This will be followed by perhaps another email or telephone conversation to discuss things further. They will want to come and see the space and be shown around it, where questions can be answered. Once they’ve booked, they will need to communicate arrangements they’ve made with you.
If you are happy to be on hand to chat everything through with a couple and be available on the wedding day, that’s wonderful. However, if you feel you may struggle for time to give them the attention they require, you can make arrangements with local wedding planners or event coordinators. They are highly experienced and knowledgeable with regards to running weddings and large events. They would deal with the couple, from enquiry to wedding on your behalf. They charge a percentage fee for their services.
Health and Safety, Insurance and Contracts
As the land owner you will ultimately be responsible for people’s safety. Although it may be common sense, take some time to become familiar with Health and Safety rules to make sure your space is safe for the public. You should risk assess your space and if nothing changes, an annual review is all that’s necessary to keep it up to date. There’s plenty of support online to help you do this.
Make sure you have the relevant Public Liability insurance to cover you. A broker can often get you the best deal.
Have a legal contract drawn up that your couple can read and sign to ensure they pay on time and leave your land in the condition you agree. You can take a small refundable damages deposit if you wish to cover any clear up you may have to do.
It’s always best to speak to your local authority planning department if you’re considering having weddings on your land. If you keep the number of weddings and events on your land to under 28 days in total, you’re not going to have to apply for ‘Change Of Use’ planning. However, depending on your circumstances you may need a Temporary Event Notice (TEN). Upward of 5 of these notices can be applied for each year and cost £21 per notice.
If you decide to go for ‘Change Of Use’ you can also apply for a ‘Permanent Licence’ which enables you to carry out licensable activities on your site all year round.
Make a good impression!
There’s not much repeat business in weddings. However, suppliers always remember where they’ve worked. If you can make sure your space makes a good impression, with the right location, ethos and access, the suppliers are much more likely to recommend you to the couples they work with in the future. Spend a bit of time getting the space right and you’ll make sure you keep on getting bookings year after year.
Images thanks to Enchanted Brides and Jenny Wren Weddings and Events