How You Can Bootstrap Your Wedding Startup

Whether you want to sell bridesmaid dresses, photograph weddings, or blog about and recommend wedding vendors, starting a business is fun, but it takes a lot of work. Starting up a business can also be expensive. On average, startups will cost around $30,000 between equipment, permits and licenses, advertising, SEO, marketing, and so on.

Despite the cost of the average startup, there are things that you can do to bootstrap—start your business with no money or as little money as possible—and still get your wedding business off the ground and thriving. Although it may be tight and require certain sacrifices, bootstrapping will help you keep more money in your pocket, make the most of your resources, and help you make more meaningful and effective decisions.

So, whether you sell dresses and gowns, blog, photograph, start a wedding catering business or any other type of business in the wedding industry, here are some tips to help you bootstrap:

Work from Home or Find a Cheap Office Space

Working from home isn’t always easy—there are tons of distractions to keep you from getting work done. So, if you’re not able to focus at home, you may want to consider looking for office space. While you may not be able to afford an entire office building/suite on your bootstrap budget, there are a lot of shared office spaces or executive suites available these days where you can rent out a single office at a reasonable rate. This will help you stay on budget, but enable you to focus, get work done, and keep your work and personal life better separated.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help (for Cheap or Free)

A lot of people feel like they’re begging when they ask vendors, suppliers, or even friends and family to help them out at a discounted rate or pro bono. While it may feel uncomfortable to you, most people don’t mind you asking—a lot of companies are more than happy to give away free samples or discounts—and, if they can’t do it for some reason, they’ll tell you so. If they can’t do it on the specific terms you’ve asked, they may be able to negotiate until you’ve reached an agreement. Either way, you won’t know if you don’t ask so it’s important to take advantage of all of the resources around you and get the help that you need at the price you can afford.

Take Advantage of the Free Tools that are Out There

Starting up a business requires a lot of tools and resources. You’ll need a website, logo, marketing plan, and so much more. There are tons of tools available to help entrepreneurs get their startups off the ground, and although some of them require a subscription or cost money, there are a lot of free tools you can take advantage of too. From tools that help with project management and communication to tools that help with scheduling and hiring, there are a lot of free options out there.

Do Everything You Can Yourself

When you’re the only one working on something, it can feel like you’re going crazy, so although you shouldn’t push yourself to your limits, try taking on as much as you possibly can—it will save you money while you’re in the bootstrapping stage. If you know how to balance the books or can learn, do. If you have a background in marketing, do as much of the marketing you can on your own instead of hiring someone to do it for you. There are a lot of different websites that offer free classes for you to learn certain skills, so if you can do (or learn to do) something yourself, do.

Look for Used Equipment

Whether you need equipment for your catering service, photography business, or need a computer and printer to work off of, finding used or refurbished equipment is a great way to go when bootstrapping. Although not all used equipment is in good shape, you might be surprised at the gently used and high-quality pieces you can find through classified ads Facebook or even from asking around the neighborhood. Even if your neighbors don’t have something you can use, they may know someone who does.


Budgeting is a major part of bootstrapping successfully. If you’re not watching your money carefully and spending purposefully, you could find yourself in a tight spot. If you have to check your bank statements and books every day, do it. It may take some effort to create a budget and make sure you stick to it, but it will pay off—especially while you’re bootstrapping.

Final Thoughts

Startups can be expensive, but don’t let the cost keep you from pursuing your dream. Whether you want to start a wedding blog that you can profit off of, or plan to offer a service like catering or photography, you can start out by bootstrapping. As tough as it may be at first, it will save you a lot of money in the short and long run and will pay off.

What type of wedding business do you plan to start?