Tips For Making The Most of Your Event Budget

By Kristen Vergine,

  Filed under: venues
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No matter what type of event you’re planning, there’s no doubt that you’re under pressure to deliver amazing results on a small budget. You don’t want to cut corners, but at the same time you need to raise your budget to get the most out of your event. Budgeting for any occasion is far from easy. In addition to the initial venue costs, there are many extra rates to consider, including the venue, catering and entertainment and many more. Keeping an event budget will help you stay organized and prepared for any client inquiry as well as help you avoid going over your budget. As an event planner, you’ve got to be creative and passionate in order to transform any ideas from theoretical to concrete. At the same time, you need to be analytical, logical, and disciplined in order to lay the foundation to help make your event successful. Follow these tips to make the most of your event budget.


Locate & Review All ExpensesIn the first stages of planning an event, it’s important to review all areas of your occasion starting from the venue contract, to entertainment fees, catering and more. Every single piece of your event requires a checklist to make sure it is tackled. In addition, you will need to understand how each item requires payment. Will you need to pay the item upfront and in full? Or will you have to pay in pieces or at the end of your event?

Make sure you keep a list of all vendors you work with. Usually, you will find yourself working with the same vendors over and over again so it’s helpful to keep a list of every person you work with as well as their payment preferences. Since each vendor is different, staying organized with a main list will help you save time by not having to repeatedly ask for the venue’s information and details.


Measure the Return on Investment (ROI)Once you have created a list of every item you think will be required in the budget and you’ve put your list of vendors together, you can begin to review the projected income necessary to balance the budget. If the event is ticketed, then a percent should be developed into the figures to show what profit was made. Be sure to report all areas where you may make a profit from your event. Always keep track of what you’re spending and always keep your budget sheet available. Also, make sure you update the budget and check your objectives daily.

Confirm that there is a purpose to each purchase you make. Going over budget is never a great feeling and ultimately you as the event planner will be held liable. After noting down all possible areas of spending, you’ll end up with your estimated total budget. Take into account the cost of your venue, the time it’ll take to organize and accomplish your event as well as the additional costs of smaller things like snacks, goodie bags and more to help create your total budget, then plan what you hope to complete from the event.


Be Flexible: The slimmer your requirements are of your event, the harder it will be to fulfill them on a small budget. Never take the first offer. It’s important to know what you want going in to the planning process. Figure out exactly what you need from a vendor or supplier beforehand and get straight to the point of what you’re trying to accomplish.

Plan to have at least three alternatives to each vendor. Your goal is to create a sense of competition. Creating a list of alternatives not only gives you more opportunity to negotiate, but also provides you with a backup plan just in case something falls through with another vendor. You’ll be more willing to walk away if a deal goes in a direction you dislike and in most cases, vendors will be a lot more willing to take action in order to keep you. This is also good if one of your vendors backs out at the last minute.


Negotiate: In most cases when you ask for a lower price, the worst that can happen is someone says no. On the bright side, the best-case scenario saves you money, so when weighing the risk vs. the reward, it only makes sense to negotiate.

No matter what type of event you’re preparing, you’re going to need to talk to at least a few vendors or suppliers to ensure you have all the equipment necessary to run your event. This characterizes the most significant cost for any event’s budget, which means that you should do everything in your power to reduce your spending in this area. Shopping around will help you see what the pricing looks like for each sector you’re working with, and try to avoid asking for a price that’s way outside market value. Be clear about your budget, and upfront if you have another vendor who is ready to do the same work for less money. Someone you like more might be eager to match their competitors’ rates.


Use Free Tools: Before the event, you can do most or if not all of your promotion through social media and email marketing, without increasing your budget. Paper invitations, event programs and attendee lists are not only outdated and a huge irritation to produce, they are also expensive to print. Social media is a great way to keep guests engaged during the occasion and allows you to get their feedback on various parts of the event without having to cost you a dime. Using free online marketing tools to deliver event information and details will allow you to save time and money and will please the attendees by giving them everything right on their phones.


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