7 Tips for Planning an Event Budget that Works

Event planning is a costly process and requires a detailed budget breakdown. Many individuals and organizations are looking for ways to plan events in the most cost-effective way possible as they do not have the budget to spend much money on this type of activity. We’ve got some budgeting tips just for you!

One of the biggest hurdles of making an event budget is figuring out your target budget amount. It’s not realistic that you can have a $1200 event budget that needs to include food, beverages, decor, venue rental, furniture rental, etc. So you need to do some research first.

1. Get a Good Handle on Your Event Financials.

To get a good idea of your event costs, its good to break items down into categories:

  • Attire (Wedding Event) – i.e. wedding dress, tuxes, bridesmaid dresses, etc.
  • Beauty/Grooming (Wedding Event) – Hair, nails, makeup, massages, etc.
  • Decor & Florals – Linens, centerpieces, floral arrangments, bouquets, candles, name tags, etc.
  • Food & Beverage – Appetizers, main courses, bar service, desserts, etc.
  • Gifts/Giveaways – Gift bags, conference ribbons, gifts for bridal parents, bridal party, etc.
  • Hotel Bookings (for yourself or guests)
  • Invitations/Announcements/Signage – Directional signage, checkin signage, seating charts, thank you cards, guestbooks, etc.
  • Photography/Videography
  • Venue Expenses – Staff costs, Security, venue rental, lighting, tents, furniture, audio and visual, etc.
  • Program Expenses – DJ, officiant, keynote speakers, band, cocktail music, slideshows, etc.
  • Transportation – car rentals, bus rentals, etc.
  • Misc. – Anything that doesn’t fit anywhere else, or is a special use case (i.e. child care, marriage license, special permits, emergency fund, etc.)

This may seem like a lot of categories, but dividing up your budget in this way ensures that you don’t miss anything. You can grab this handy event planning checklist to get you started.

We at Blue Phoenix Events, already have our online budgeting system set up for you, you just need to log into your client portal and enter your budget and actual costs!

2. Watch Your Expenses Closely

As you continue through your event planning journey, remember to continually check in on your budget and see where you are at. Are you hitting your targets? Are you going over? Where can you trim back if you need to? What can you eliminate, yet still pull off the event you want?

Asking yourself these questions can help you keep your budget under control.

3. Factor in the Cost of Attendees

Breaking down your budget to a “per attendee” cost can help you see the value of your event, compared to what you are spending.

If you are charging for your event, make sure to build a profit margin. Let’s say your cost for the event is $125 per attendee, so marking that up 25% (which makes the ticket price roughly $156), will give you a profit of around $31 per person. If you have 500 attendees, that is a potential profit of $15,500!

Not only did you cover your costs for your event, but you made some extra money. If this is a recurring event, it’s a great way to have some starting money for the following year’s event!

4. Build Some Room into Your Budget For Unforeseen Expenses

It’s going to happen. Not if, but when. Costs go up, numbers fluctuate, there is a myriad of things that can go wrong.

But having a backup plan for them is crucial. Build an emergency fund into your budget, if you are able to. This will give you a bit of a buffer to use in case something is out of your control.

Food and beverage can always be a spot that can get out of hand quickly. Especially if people didn’t RSVP, but show up anyways. Make sure you plan for a few extra guests in your food and beverage category. If you plan on having 250 guests, plan food for 260.

5. Include Taxes and Gratuities as Part of Your Budgeting Process

Don’t forget taxes and gratuities! Venues and caterers especially can have taxes and gratuities built into their costs. So make sure you check your contracts closely. Some places even build in fees for late payments, so make sure you understand your obligations according to your contracts.

6. Remember That You’re the Final Say

You don’t need every item for your event. Yes, it will make it an amazing event. But at some point, you need to say no so that you’re not going overboard. Let your budget be your guide and master the art of saying NO!

7. Have Fun

Don’t forget that this is a fun event. So don’t drive yourself crazy and get stressed out over every single tiny teeny little detail. Make sure that you take some for self-care to recharge and re-energize your mind and body.

Or, you can just hire us! Contact us today for a free event review!

7 Tips for Planning an Event Budget that Works
7 Tips for Planning an Event Budget that Works

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