When planning an event, the first thing you should do is plan your budget. Events always require a serious financial investment. Create a rough estimate of the costs of the event. Make sure you get your budget approved by any necessary higher-ups before you get too deep into the planning of your event.
Get preliminary estimates from potential suppliers early in the planning process. You can firm up these estimates after your preliminary budget is approves. Remember to err on the side of caution – if you are given a range of prices, use the higher estimates just in case.
Your preliminary budget should include the biggest costs for the event. These include:
Accommodation and transportation (if necessary)
Food and drinks
Invitations, place cards, and other printed materials
Sound and lighting requirements (if any)
Power requirements (if any)
Insurance (if required)
Security (if required)
Make a complete list of all possible expenses. Highlight any “must have” items from that list. These must have items should be included in your preliminary budget. You should then contact possible suppliers to get ballpark estimates for these items.
Once you have your preliminary cost estimates, compare it to your overall budget. If your list of “must have” items costs more than your budget, you may have to re-think your event. If your preliminary cost estimates is lower than your budget, then you can begin to add in optional items.
After working through your budget, you should always seriously consider whether you can afford to hold the event or not. It is usually better to put off an event rather than go forward with a shoddy event on a low budget.
As you continue to plan your event, create a spreadsheet or list of your event’s expenses. This will let you see what items have been included and keep you within your budget. It will also clearly show you how you are spending your money. You may choose to make different choices once you see how your costs compare. For example, you may decide to abandon the floral arrangements you selected in order to put the money saved towards a string quartet. Review this spreadsheet every day. You don’t want to find out after your event that you were way over budget.
Because every event is different, there is no magic formula or cost sheet. Just walk through the event in your mind from start to finish, writing down as many details as you can. Go back and fill in the costs. Remember, always get written estimates and not verbal quotes. Again, you don’t want any nasty surprises.