Planning An Event On A Budget

Planning An Event On A Budget

Planning an event on a budget? We’ll discuss various budgetary tips and tricks to cut down on unnecessary expenses or avoid costly mistakes.

Let’s be honest, since the COVID-19 pandemic started, everyone’s been feeling its effect on the wallet. The world has become a bit more cautious with spending, and so should you.

Whether you wish to host an event in-person, online, or both, be conscious of all the hidden figures and unforeseen costs that accompany these events, especially in the current economic climate. One cannot afford to be surprised by something that wasn’t accounted for— let’s try and avoid that.

Related: The Absolute Best Free Wedding Budget Template

Cash symbolizing planning an event on a budget
Photo by Vitaly Taranov

What Are You Trying To Achieve With Your Event?

Before you start planning an event on a budget, you should have a good idea of what you want to pull off. This should include a basic overview of your budget, an estimate of the potential costs, which would refer to the event duration, the location or platform you wish to use, and the event theme. Not only will this ensure that you know what you’re getting yourself into, but it can help you be prepared when the time comes to host the event. 

Create a rough sketch of your event. You can easily separate it into components, see where you might have to be more thorough, or less so, and allocate funds and effort accordingly.

The 3 W’s Of Planning An Event On A Budget

Once you have a good idea of what event you want to materialize, you have to ask yourself 3 critical questions: What, When, Where.

What primarily refers to the type of event you are undertaking, including the unique features and team you have. 

  • Try and make use of lesser-known vendors. They could be more affordable and might bring something new to the table.
  • Presentation is everything, but less is more. Consider a minimalist decorative aesthetic.

When might be one of the most important aspects of any event. It drives the type of event you can host and the availability of guests/attendees. It also can alter the costs of the venue.

Make sure when setting a date for an event that you take the following into account: 

  1. The event’s theme vs. the season— unless you really want to have a black-tie event in the middle of summer.
  2. What month of the year you plan on hosting the event— “Sorry, I can’t make it. I’m in Bali.”
  3. What day of the week you plan on hosting the event.
  4. Yes, of course, the day of the week should be noted. This aspect relates to your crowd, as attendance of your event should be convenient and not a hassle.

And finally, the Where

Where matters because if you don’t have a venue, be it physical or digital, you don’t have an event.

  • Don’t rush into choosing a venue, but rather browse options when planning an event on a budget. You might find the perfect venue at the ideal cost.
  • Ensure that you quickly book a time and date to avoid missing out once you have a suitable venue.
  • If you want to be adventurous and approach a location that might be perfect for your type of event, take a chance and make some friends.

Just keep an eye on your event schedule because venue overtime fees can add up really, really quickly.

Related: 5 Questions to Ask on a Venue Walkthrough

Rely On Your Network

If you have previously planned an event on a budget and used similar decor and vendors, you know what to expect. Make use of previous data and information to strategically remove unnecessary components or bolster lacking additions. You’ve been there and done that.

The bonus of having planned an event previously is you already know the various vendors or catering companies you had used and could use them again. Don’t be afraid to ask your regular staff, associates, or colleagues if they can cater to the style of your event.

Working With Sponsors

Try and make contact with possible event sponsors or brands. This might produce the funding you need to make your event memorable. 

Sponsorships act as a means of capital injection. By presenting the various sponsors or brand partners to the audience/attendees, you gain vital funding. Think of sponsors as collaborators who will want to work with you again in the future.

Related: Virtual Event Sponsorship Is Risky. Here’s What Organizers Can Do About It.

The Emergency Stash

Planning an event on a budget, one must be prepared for the unforeseen— this is where the emergency fund comes in. This fund should technically not be touched, ever, unless it is to pay for something that your original budget did not account for. Obviously, it’s easier said than done to just have an ample amount of money lying around for in case, but it doesn’t have to be a fortune. 

Don’t allocate all your available money towards the event as a whole, possibly under- or over-estimating the event budget. Categorize the individual components and make sense of where your money and time should be going. These components could include venue hiring costs, decorations, catering, service/servers/hostesses, sound and visual technologies, salaries/vendors payments, etc. This will give you a good idea of how much emergency funds you need to stay in the clear and not break the bank.

Marketing Your Event On A Budget

The best way to keep your marketing and advertising costs low is an obvious choice, the internetOnline marketing is the most cost-effective way of spreading the word on your event, and it’s really fast. By posting information or invitations on various multi-media platforms, or even as sponsored content, you can reach a far greater amount of eyes than you would in the newspaper, for example.

The internet not only provides low-cost alternatives to advertising but even free options.

Keep it Local

Having already made your choice of venue, try and explore the local businesses that are on offer. This might be a shot in the dark. Still, by using enterprises in the immediate area of the venue, you can avoid issues related to service delivery, travel expenses, and pricing. Local business owners would be more than willing to go the extra mile and increase the chances of getting much-needed discounts.

Something that you could also benefit from is using local DJs and musical performers. Try to locate nearby universities or music schools, and ask around for any possible musicians. 

Cocktail Hour

Depending on your event of choice, consider narrowing down the alcoholic drink options. Focus your drinks menu on a particular type or style of beverage, such as cocktails or craft beers; you can partner with a brand and ensure that your event will never run dry.

You’re A Natural

If there’s one thing we know about event planners, it is that you’re endlessly innovative when it comes to event planning. You’ll rely on your creativity, get-it-done spirit, and an excellently efficient event task list to keep everything on track. You got this!