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  • Writer's pictureLisa Flahant

Venues - increase your client base (and income stream) in one easy step!

Updated: Nov 27, 2019

Just for a change, this week's blog is for venues! Big venues, small venues, licensed venues, unlicensed venues. Whatever kind of venue you are, if you have space for a celebration, and you’re looking to improve your revenue, you might like to read on.

Rustic wedding table arrangement

I was browsing the website of one of my favourite licensed venues recently, and I noticed that on the page promoting their wedding ceremonies, they had listed the contact number and email address of the local register office. And as I read on, I saw that on the pages for renewal of vows and naming ceremonies, the number and email address of the local register office was also listed.

Now that’s funny, I thought to myself. This venue is automatically assuming that their clients are only interested in the services of the Registrar. And while this might be the case for the majority of folk, there is a definite movement of couples seeking out personalised, tailor-made, unique ceremonies delivered by professional, independent celebrants.

And it got me thinking about how many venues are probably in the same boat. And equally, what the possibilities are for those venues who, for whatever reason, are NOT licensed for legal weddings – and how they could really capitalise on celebrant-led ceremonies.

So why do people choose a celebrant-led ceremony?

Gosh, there are so many reasons! Here are just a few:

- The couple has set their heart on a venue which is not licensed for weddings. It might be their favourite hotel, or pub, or beachside bar... but if it isn’t licensed as an approved venue, the Register Office won’t be able to legally marry a couple there. Solution - they have their simple, legal ceremony at the Register Office beforehand, and then the wedding they dream of, led by a celebrant, in the location of their choosing. (This is an especially important point for venues which are not licensed for legal weddings – by promoting celebrant-led ceremonies, it could be a fantastic new income stream for you!)

- The couple has booked their licensed venue on a popular day of the year, only to find out that the Registrars are not available on that date, or at that time. This happens A LOT in the summer months – and couples usually end up compromising by holding the wedding at either a different time than they would have liked, or on a different day. Whereas instead, they could have the simple, legal ceremony at the Register Office, and then have a celebrant deliver a bespoke, unique ceremony at their preferred venue, on their preferred date and at their preferred time. Imagine how much happier your clients will be when you tell them this!

- The couple want to hold their ceremony outside, under the sun, the sky or the stars. But in the case of a Registrar-led ceremony, the legal requirement is that it needs to be under a permanent structure, as well as in an approved designated, licensed area. Of course a celebrant-led ceremony has no such restrictions, so as a venue, you don’t need to worry about having the required structure, or even a licence!

- The couple want to incorporate some form of religion or spirituality into their ceremony. This is increasingly common with mixed faith couples, but is a big no-no for a Registrar-led ceremony. No religious content, no hymns, no angels, no prayers, no hand-fasting. The celebrant-led option is the only solution here!

- The couple want to serve alcohol, perhaps just a glass of celebratory champagne, either before or during the ceremony. Yet the licence attached to a legal ceremony delivered by a Registrar does not permit the serving of alcohol in the designated ceremony area. You know what I’m going to say….

So my advice to venues is to ensure you promote ALL the options to couples looking for ceremonies for weddings, renewal of vows and namings. In focusing purely on the Register Office, you might be closing off a growing market. And while Registrars are definitely the ones to contract a legal marriage, this can be done quickly, simply and relatively cheaply in the Register Office, leaving couples free to work with an independent celebrant to deliver the ceremony exactly as they want it, with no restrictions or compromises. And in the case of renewal of vows and naming ceremonies, there is NO legal paperwork to complete, so it doesn’t matter whether you have a licence or not, or whether the Register Office leads the ceremony or not – any venue can host these ceremonies.

Any questions? Drop me a line! And of course if you are looking for a Celebrant in Cornwall to assist you with developing your celebrant offering and increasing your ceremony business, I would love to hear from you.

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