When you begin to organize an event, the first thing you should do is determine exactly how much you can spend.
Creating a budget plan is a crucial part of the event planning process, but it can also be extremely stressful. Here are some helpful tips to reduce costs and host a memorable event – even if you’re on a tight budget.
Define Your Priorities
Evaluating which elements of your event are crucial and which can be paired down is vital to ensure your event’s success.
With your goals and event type in mind, determining which aspects are the highest priorities should be easy – allowing you to spend on what really matters. Where you focus the majority of your budget will largely depend on what kind of event you are hosting. For instance, if you are hosting a music event, you can’t cut corners on entertainment.
Organize Your Venue Early
As far as event planning goes, the venue you choose to host it at is usually the largest and most important expense – and the venue you choose will have an enormous bearing on your budget.
Finding the venue early and booking it well in advance can help you reduce booking costs, but so can the date you choose. Find out if the venue you are interested in has off-season discounts, and if it does, consider planning your event around the most cost-effective date.
Something to bear in mind is that the location of your event can ultimately make or break attendance. Making sure that transportation is available to and from your venue and that parking is available is an absolute must.
For events such as conferences or workshops that require connectivity, make sure that your venue has a reliable WiFi connection and any other equipment you may need.
Rethink Food and Beverage Costs
Catering is important for events, but providing excellent food and drinks doesn’t mean you have to spend exorbitant amounts on gourmet caterers.
Having a small budget for your event doesn’t always mean choosing the cheapest option – this is especially true for catering. Think outside the box to find a cost-effective solution. For instance, you can set up a DIY taco bar for your attendants at a fraction of the cost of an à la carte menu, and you can provide a list of signature cocktails instead of stocking an entire bar.
Plan for Extra Expenses
One of the biggest mistakes event planners make is underestimating small costs in the budget plan. There are hidden fees and surcharges in catering, venue hire, and vendors.
Always plan for around 10-15% extra of the total budget to allow for unforeseen expenses, and always pay your suppliers on time to avoid interest or penalties.
Leverage technology like social media to promote your event instead of running up printing costs. Anything that you can print – like fliers, schedules, and registration forms – can be digitized. Consider a mobile-optimized website for your event that provides all the information your attendants need.