Creating a budget should always be the first step when planning an event. The hardest part about staying in the budget is to be sure to include a line item for EVERYTHING you’ll need. This is an important step in order to stay on track of creating a realistic budget for your event. It really isn’t as challenging as you might think. Before you begin open up Microsoft Excel or Google Docs to create a spreadsheet.
Step 1. Create all your columns with various details you will need when planning such as; item, estimated cost, actual cost, etc. If you are lost please look at the example below:
Step 2. Research every item on your list. Once you have found approximate average costs of each item you will be able to decide what you would feel comfortable spending within that. Once you have that number place it into your estimated cost.
When creating a budget you need to include everything and anything where money could be spent. Every detail needs to be line-itemed in your event budget spreadsheet.
Step 3. Enter a description for each item and the amount needed. For example enter in the number of guests you will be having, how many tables you will need to set them etc. If you have anything specific you need for the item be sure to add it into the description column.
Step 4. Add up your estimated cost column. The number you end up with will be your best estimate for your event budget. If the number is too high take a look into items you may not need.
You may be able to use less floral or decor if you already pick a beautiful venue instead of picking a plain ballroom. Another very common budget trimming trick is to switch from a full open bar to a wine and beer only open bar. These tips can save you a considerable amount of money.
Step 5. It is crucial to pad your budget for unexpected expenses. Most event experts suggest somewhere around 10% to ensure you can cover any unexpected last minute expenses. At Endless Entertainment, we always encourage our clients to have a “safety net” — available funds for last minute emergencies. We also ensure there are no hidden costs with estimates we send to our clients so they are able to allocate the proper funds to cover the expense.
Step 6. Congratulations! You have now successfully created your item list, descriptions and cost! You only have 1 more column to fill in, the actual cost. When you find your vendors and items this is where you will put your ACTUAL cost in. Be sure to track these costs closely to ensure you are staying on budget.
Below are some things to keep in mind while building your next budget.
- Some venues require specific permits to host an event. Make sure that you have included a line item that covers permits such as fire, street closures, alcohol and sound.
- For any event to be successful, the proper amount of power must be allocated and of course, this does not come free. Always over-allocate funds for power — You never know if a vendor will need more than anticipated!
- Make sure you calculate the number of staff needed based on the highest expected attendance! You can always cut this number down when the event gets closer.
- Tax is the easiest cost to be overlooked. Make sure that all of the estimates you receive from your vendors include tax. And remember, some vendors in certain cities can have a higher tax rate than yours!