What Are the Legal Procedures to Start a Wedding & Reception Business?

Help couples plan their weddings by starting a business.
Help couples plan their weddings by starting a business. (Image: wedding day image by Mykola Velychko from Fotolia.com)

Helping couples plan and execute their big day can be rewarding emotionally as well as financially. According to theweddingreport.com, more than 2 million couples marry each year, so starting a wedding and reception business could be lucrative. Before you open your business, there are a few steps you must take to ensure that your business is legally recognized and protected.

Business License

In most cases, the owner is required to apply for a business license to open and operate a business. A business license may be obtained by contacting your local city hall or courthouse.

Building Permit and Certificate of Occupancy

Before opening your business, you must acquire a permit from your local village or city government that allows you to operate out of a particular building or space. This ensures that the building has been cleared for the type of functions that will be held. Once the building permit is obtained, be sure to display your certificate of occupancy in a prominent place.

Food Handler's Permit

If you plan to open a full-service reception hall, a food handler's permit is required to serve food. You can apply for this type of permit by contacting your local public health department.

Liquor License

A liquor license is required to serve alcoholic beverages. You will not be able to provide alcohol or have any wedding guests consuming alcohol on the premises without a liquor license. Apply for a liquor license by contacting your state's liquor commission.


Purchasing insurance is a vital step in the success of your wedding and reception business. Insurance will cover the cost of equipment repairs and protect you against liability if a wedding guest or employee is injured during a function. Additionally, insurance will cover the cost of rebuilding if the building is damaged or destroyed by fire, flood, or another type of natural disaster. Companies offering this type of insurance can be found online. Compare quotes in your area by visiting sites such as localinsurance.com and netquote.com.

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