The Most Exciting Topic Ever…..Event Budgets

Event Budgets

When you talk about the exciting world of event planning, budgets are not the sexiest topic, but one of the most important elements that significantly impact an events success. 

Lucky you I was an accounting major and my favorite class was Cost Accounting, which is basically budgeting. And yes, that is a weird favorite class, but everyone’s got a geeky side😉.

So, let’s move onward to creating a budget.  Keep in mind two things during the budget planning process:

It forces you to research the real cost of hosting an event

Gives you a clear picture of what you’re willing to spend.  Which then provides restriction, so you don’t spend more than you want

Below is a list of potential costs/expenses.  Depending on the complexity of your event you can expect these basic expenses:

  • Advertising/Marketing the event

  • Audio/Visual Rental Equipment & Labor

  • Beverage

  • Décor

  • Entertainment

  • Event Insurance

  • Food

  • Giveaways/Promo Items/Samples of product

  • Invitations – unless its high-end go electronic and that can be free

  • Miscellaneous Expenses –pad the budget for unexpected costs (and there always is)

  • Parking & Valet

  • Permits & Licenses

  • Printing

  • Rental Equipment

  • Venue

Click here to download an excel spreadsheet of a basic budget with some notes to help you out.

The top three expenses are usually:

  • Venue

  • Food

  • Beverage

However, in blog post Why Are You Really Hosting an Event? , I discussed the Top 3 Event Elements.  These three elements are what your company finds important to achieving a successful event. AND where you spend most of your time and money.  Look back on the blog post if you have not set Event Goals (should be the very first step in the event planning process).


Below are some tips on how to save money.

  • Rental Equipment.  If you have a weekend event, ask the venue if the rental equipment can be picked up on Monday (Sunday pick-up costs more)

  • Rental Equipment.  If it’s a small order consider picking up the items directly from their warehouse and save the money on delivery fees

  • Consider using local vendors, they have a vested interest in the success of a fellow local business owner and may provide discounted/complimentary services in exchange for marketing mentions during the marketing and at the event

  • Food.  Ask for in-season produce and lower price point food (i.e. certain cuts of beef are cheaper, catfish is cheaper than salmon).  The caterer can give options.

  • Beverages.  Instead of hosting a full bar, provide wine, beer and a couple pre-batched craft cocktails.  This lowers the cost and the line at the bar.

  • Ask for a discount from everyone.  Even if its 2% that could be a big savings across the board.  The worse they can do is say no.

IMPORTANT:  Don’t base the decision to hire a company purely on price.  The saying “You Get What You Pay For” is not something you want to experience on day of event.  Check online review and ask for referrals from colleagues that have used their services.  Do your due diligence.


Please don’t be the company that doesn’t plan appropriately and either spends twice the anticipated amount or did not budget enough and the event was a complete dud.

Kim RugglesComment