9 Easy Ways to Make Extra Money Working Wedding Gigs
Nearly 2 million couples tied the knot in 2021 — but 2022 is projected to be even bigger, with the most weddings since 1984.
That means lots of opportunity to work a side gig helping couples throw their grand affairs.
9 Easy Ways to Make Extra Money Working Wedding Gigs
Here are nine side hustles and weekend gigs to earn some extra cash while love is in the air.
1. Take Engagement Photos
If you’re a shutterbug, this is a great way to build your portfolio and earn extra cash.
Your friends may want to hire a professional photographer for the wedding itself, but they might like to save a little money on their engagement photos.
Be sure to look at professional engagement photos beforehand to get ideas for poses, and then upload the edited shots to a photo-sharing platform so the couple can easily download them and order prints.
If you’re an experienced photographer, you probably already have what it takes to start your own wedding photography business.
2. Address Envelopes
Many couples want the address on their save-the-dates, invitations and thank you cards to be perfect. And many are willing to pay top dollar for perfection: professional calligraphers charge $3 to $4 per envelope!
If you have good penmanship, offer to address envelopes for a fraction of the price.
Even at $1 per envelope, you’ll still earn $100 for a 100-person wedding.
3. Bake Desserts
Wedding cakes cost an arm and a leg. If you’re talented in the kitchen, here’s an area where you can definitely profit.
Choose a dessert you excel at making, or one that’s meaningful for the couple.
Cupcakes are an obvious choice — they’re cheaper than a cake, easier to transport and trendy. Bake a few different flavors to please the varying tastes of the guests, and decorate them to wow the crowd.
4. Provide Musical Entertainment
Help make the day special with your musical talent.
If you’re a guitarist, play and sing while the bride walks down the aisle, or during the cocktail hour. If you have a band, get the crowd going at the reception.
Love to sing? Consider working weekends as a wedding singer to earn $400 and up per gig.
Or if you have the gear, spin up a wedding DJ side hustle.
Nick Smith from Southwest Indiana bought his first set of DJ sound equipment when he was 20 years old from a local bar that was closing down.
Sixteen years later, Smith runs his own successful wedding DJ business where he pulls in upwards of $1,000 a gig.
DJing involves some initial upfront costs, like music licensing fees and reliable transportation to move your gear.
But finding work is easy, Smith said. He’s performed at over 200 weddings, most of which came from friend referrals and word of mouth.
5. Create Decorations
Crafty people, rejoice! Weddings provide an abundance of opportunities for you to get your glue gun on.
Everything from centerpieces to place cards to favors is cheaper to make than to buy, so offer to design and execute all decorative needs for the wedding.
Shop at discount stores and buy in bulk to save money on your supplies.
6. Pick Up Catering Gigs
With wedding season in full bloom, now is a great time to find catering side gigs.
From bartenders and cooks, to servers and general kitchen staff, catering gigs run the gamut. Most shifts take place on the weekends and last seven to 10 hours per shift.
Catering staff tend to get paid better than restaurant staff. Expect to earn around $13 to $17 an hour, with some high-end events netting upwards of $25 an hour.
7. Do Wedding Makeup and Hair
Every bride wants to look beautiful on her wedding day. That’s why people who do wedding makeup and hair earn big bucks.
If all your friends come to you for beauty advice, this might be the perfect job for you.
Be sure to do a test run a few weeks before the wedding. This gives you and the bride a chance to agree on a style, and helps avoid unwanted surprises on the big day.
If you want to take your bridal makeup business to the next level, get licensed and obtain limited liability insurance.
Make sure to Google the cosmetology laws in your state as well.
8. Love to Sew? Do Alterations
Sewing is a rare skill these days, but if you know your way around a needle and thread, you could earn major money altering clothes — specifically, wedding dresses.
Brides want their dress to fit like a glove — but don’t want to pay the high alteration fees charged at bridal shops.
Market yourself as an independent seamstress who can offer the same quality at a lower price, and you’ll have brides knocking at your door in no time.
9. Be an Officiant
If you aren’t shy around large groups and don’t mind delving into a few state and local laws, becoming a wedding officiant could land you a few hundred dollars per gig.
Becoming ordained is simple. It takes about five minutes and is usually free.
But according to FindLaw.com, Alabama, Connecticut, Virginia, Tennessee — and certain parts of Pennsylvania, New York and Las Vegas — don’t recognize online ordinations.
To be certain, you should ask a clerk at your county courthouse. You can also use this interactive map of state licensing requirements from the American Marriage Ministries.
If you want to start performing ceremonies on a regular basis, you will need to set a rate: $75 to $100 is a good starting point for officiants on average.
Rachel Christian is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance and a senior writer for Codetic.