The 10+ Year Club: Wehner Weddings

Welcome to the next installment in our blog series, spotlighting local wedding companies that have been in business for 10 or more years! Today we feature ceremony musician Kyle Wehner, of Wehner Weddings.

Kyle Wehner, Wehner Weddings Ceremony MusiciansWhat year did you start your business?
2000

What was your motivation? 

I have a degree in viola performance and wanted to supplement my income while doing something that I love.

How has your business changed over the years? 

My business has gone from just being me performing solo at a few weddings each month to having over 50 musicians and numerous ensembles working within Wehner Weddings, LLC and providing music to over 250 weddings per year.

Looking back, what do you wish you had done differently? 

I did not use a formal contract system in the first few years of business when I was playing solo. After getting burned on a non payment, I created a formal contract and have not had any problems since. My clients feel more secure with a formal contract on hand as well.

wehner3What are you most proud of? 

I most proud of all of my musicians being experienced, full time professionals with degrees in their instrument. I do not use students or hobbyists in my company.

Why do you think your business has made it while so many other small businesses fail in the first five years?

I think that your product is what sells your business along with the way you communicate to and with your clients. Simply stated, if you provide  a consistent, quality product and communicate with your costumers, they will spread the word to others and that is better than any print advertising you could buy. I maintain a quality product by using only professional musicians. I also never turn down an opportunity to work. If I am not personally available, I always have a professional within my company who is available and I still oversee all of the details. My website sound samples have also proven to be a great tool, as many of my wedding clients do not live locally and can still sample my music online before signing a contract with my company. As we all know, having a network of other professionals you trust is also key. That being said, a huge part of my business comes to me in thanks to the coordinators and venues who have worked with me and know my product.

wehner4

What advice do you have for a business just starting out in your industry? 

Really get to know your market and client base before starting your business. How many businesses like yours already exist in the area and how many potential customers are in need of the service that you provide? What makes you different than your competitors?

Do you have a most memorable wedding or funny story you’d like to share? 

My most memorable wedding happened on April 9, 2002. I was hired to play solo violin for a beach wedding in St. Augustine. The ceremony was set to start at 2:30AM…Yes in the middle of the night, because 2:30AM on the beach was the first time he ever said “I love you” to her. I arrived 30 minutes early, ready to provide prelude music for guests, but there were no guests at this wedding. Only me on the violin, the officiant, photographer and bride and groom. Instead, the bride handed me a bag of tea candles and asked me to arrange them in the shape of a heart on the beach. Keep in mind, it was not a full moon and there was no other light source anywhere near this part of the beach. Also, it was so windy that the tiny candles were covered by sand before they could even be arranged properly or have a chance to be lit. After that, the bride asked if she could borrow my gold pocket watch, as she did not have “something borrowed” for her wedding yet. I gave it to her and she promply dropped it down the front of her dress for safe storage. She also asked me to escort her down the aisle (a long boardwalk with stairs up and down leading to the beach) while playing the theme from Titanic as her processional…I relunctlantly agreed. When 2:30AM rolled around, the groom appeared out of the B&B, handed a 35 page prenuptual agreement to the bride and said we can get on with the ceremony as soon as she reads over the agreement and signs. This process took 30 minutes, so the wedding did not start until after 3AM. I did walk the bride down the aisle without issue (thank goodness I had all of my music memorized because it was too dark to see!). You could not see anything on the beach during the ceremony. You could just hear the officiant speaking and every 10 seconds or so, you would see a bright flash from the camera and your eyes would go numb. The wedding itself only took about 10 minutes, but it was very interesting. The bride retrieved and returned my pocket watch after the ceremony 🙂

wehner2