Event Planning

Events & The B Word

The Dreaded B Word: Budget.

The most commonly dreaded part of planning an event is budgeting. In every aspect of event planning, the number question is, “How much is that going to cost me?” and then the panic begin. I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to spend a lot to have a great event, but you must have a strategy to control your costs. Open up Excel and get your budget sheet started because you will live in it, even after your big day. I’ve created a totally fake event budget below as an example.

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Determine Your Budget

Before you get your hands dirty and start a shopping spree you may regret, you must determine what the overall budget is for your event. Take that figure and then subtract elements of your event that you know will come at a cost. For example, lets say your total event budget $20,000…How much from that total is going to catering, the venue etc. Create an excel sheet to outline these costs and stick to 3 columns: Budgeted, Estimated, Final. At this stage you would tackle the budgeted column. Its a perfect overview of costs and when you are shopping for certain items, you already know your price point when speaking to vendors.

Item  
Budgeted
Estimated
Final
Catering
7,500
 
 
Venue
8,000
 
 
Decor
4,500
 
 
Total
20,000
Estimate what you Anticipate 
 
Ok that wasn’t so bad…Now that you have your budgeted figures in order, its time to reach out to venues, suppliers and vendors to get service quotes.  Get as many as you can, ask a lot of questions and always review cancellation terms carefully (That’s another post for another day).  Once you select the suppliers you want, plug those figures in your estimated column. You may find that your saving on one item, but not another, that’s fine so long as you don’t go over budget. It always best to save no matter what, but if its a must-have, add that savings to another line item in your sheet.
Item  
Budgeted
Estimated
Final 
Catering
7,500
7,000
 
Venue
8,000
7,500
 
Decor
4,500
4,000
 
Total
20,000
18,500
The Final Bill
We often forget that the final bill includes other fees:  Taxes, Service charges, set up fees…Its a cruel world. Your estimated costs should include these fees, otherwise you WILL go over budget.   Add your final tabs in your budget sheet and pray for a savings!
Item  
Budgeted
Estimated
Final
Catering
7,500
7,000
6,895
Venue
8,000
6,500
6,000
Decor
4,500
4,000
3,756
Total
20,000
18,500
16,651
Savings:  $3,349 – In the end, a savings is a savings regardless of how much.  Another big tip to keep in mind, if your guest numbers are smaller then you anticipated, check you contracts to see when you can lower catering guarantees. This could save you so much so be stern with your RSVP’s!
Overall, take the time to keep your figures in check.  It could save you lots!

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