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It’s the first word that comes up when planning an event. It’s the word you keep referencing until the big day. It’s the word no one wants to talk about but you must – budget.

Creating an event budget is a must to help you track costs and know what you have left to spend. Here are three areas that will help you account for every last detail and stay stress free!

Identify Overall Range

Event budgets can be stressfulAs you begin, it is important to first answer the big questions so that you know if the amount you have in mind is realistic for the size and scope of your event. Some things to consider include the following:

  • How many people will attend the event?
  • Where would you like the event to be held?
  • What costs will the company cover versus the attendee?
  • Will there be a profit from any sponsorship dollars?

Once you have answered the appropriate questions, identify a range you would like to stay in. Set your budget at the low end of the range, but know what the max amount is you could spend if you needed to. When you create a range, you keep some flexibility for those unexpected expenses.

TIP: Make sure to include ALL costs, including taxes and tips. When looking for vendors or providers, you may see an initial cost that you think is reasonable. However, you haven’t accounted for the 20 or 30 percent that might be added on at the end!

Create Estimates for Each Category on Your Checklist

Next, create an event checklist to make sure all of the important areas are accounted for, and associate estimates with each. I find it easiest to break down the event into main categories and determine what individual costs will need to be covered for each. Below, I’ve identified a few of these top categories for a typical event, as well as the buckets usually associated with them:

  • Hotel / Venue
    • Room rentals
    • A/V costs
    • Food and beverage
  • Speakers
    • Fees
    • Travel, hotel nights, meals
  • Entertainment
    • Additional venue costs
    • Decorations
    • Band, celebrity appearances, games

Of course, it will be almost impossible to identify each cost at the beginning, but this is where you will continue to add or delete items as they come in. This is also a good place to track spending and keep a running total. It will also be a good reminder for the things left on your checklist. Use your checklist daily. If you do so, you will thank me at the end of your event!

TIP: If you are able to book with the same company or use the same vendor for more than one thing, they will often times negotiate their price or offer a discount.

Always Plan for the Unexpected

Even Budgets get blown up by the unexpectedRepeat after me, “Always expect the unexpected.” Once you are in the thick of planning, there will always be something for which you did not anticipate. You might find a vendor who is far over your original estimate but you want to splurge on. You might find yourself in an emergency situation that you have to spend additional dollars on. By leaving some wiggle room in the budget for contingencies, you will allow yourself those extra funds without going over budget at the last minute. When these situations come up – and they always do – you will already be ready to sacrifice certain items or know you can spend without breaking the piggy bank.

TIP: Being able to work within your budget range ensures you can stay on track or possibly cut corners without sacrificing quality.

Going over the event budget could quite possibly be one of the worst feelings as an event planner, and having to speak to or account for items that were not originally included and are out of the budget range will inevitably fall back on you as the planner.

Set your budget plan at the very beginning, and continue to keep up to date with your checklist. Keep track of all your expenses and check items off the list as they are paid for, always deducting from the final total. One small hiccup or add-on can make or break the entire outcome, so keep organized and monitor throughout!

Don’t let event budgeting give you the blues. Contact our team of professional event managers to learn how we can help you create – and manage – the perfect budget for any size event.