You Don't Need A Money Tree

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

Planning an event is such a fun time. It allows you to tap into your creativity, explore new ideas and you learn new things about yourself. As you look at the cost of things, you go in the backyard and look for that money tree your parents always talked about. You know you want this event to be the cat’s meow and the dog’s bow wow, so your emotional self gets caught up in buying everything that fits your theme. If it’s over the top, jaw dropping, eye catching or a wow factor, you will want it. When the bank and credit card statements start coming in after the event, you will realize you spent way more than you anticipated. You are not going to believe this, but, you can easily spend $5,000 over your ideal spending goal.

Creating an event budget is your plan, your guide for spending. You wouldn’t go rogue when purchasing a car or home right? You walk in knowing what you want to spend. An event follows that same principle. Here’s the thing, creating an effective event budget is more than putting numbers on a spread sheet and taking a guess at what you will spend. This is a guaranteed way to set yourself up for budget failure. Creating the most effective event budget takes time and researching current pricing, especially if you have no other events to compare costs with.

No matter the type of event, you know how much you are willing to spend to make this event happen. The funny thing is, once you sit down and start researching actual costs, it becomes clear, it will be more expensive than you were anticipating. The amount you are willing to spend in each budget area shows what is most important to you. If you want your guests to rave over the food and enjoy an open bar, a larger percent of your budget will be placed in the Food and Beverage section.

Ok, so we have our magic number, I mean the real magic number after looking at actual costs. Now let’s create the budget. Most people put the bulk of their budget into the Big Three, venue, food and beverage and entertainment. These are the things that stand out the most in people’s memory. If the venue is nice and presents the right aura, food drinks are on point and the music keeps people grooving all night, you already have a successful event. As you think through the remaining elements of your event, attach the amount you are willing to spend. For example, the décor section, think about the number of tables and the type of lines you want. Do you want a standard polyester linen or a specialty linen that will cost more? What type of décor do you want on the tables? Will you need pipe and drape, uplighting, what other décor elements will you need to bring your event together? Don’t forget to have a calculator. You will need to subtract the amount you are placing in each category to keep track of how much money you have for remaining categories.

Don’t get me wrong, it is inevitable that you could still go over budget, I have been planning events for more than 10 years, it happens. I had a client who went over her budget by $2,300 for a family reunion, however, it would have been more had we not had an initial budget. It is important to review your spending on a regular basis, this will help keep you on track and you can make adjustments when needed.

When reviewing your budget, what do you do when you see you are starting to go over budget? Well, I’m glad you asked! The main thing is, try your best not to panic. Take a look at areas of your budget and see which area you are willing to do some cutting. You definitely don’t want to touch the Big Three, but, let’s say you were going to spend $8 for 200 take away gifts for guests, consider finding something that is just as relevant but cost $5. Instead of spending $1,600 you are now spending $1,000, see, you just cut $600. Instead of the $30 linen per table, use this on the guest of honor table only and a more affordable, complimentary linen on guest tables. Going through your budget and making these types of adjustments will amaze you and will help get you back on track or maybe not as over budget as you were.

Last thing, give yourself a contingency fund. Some clients put as much as 20% of their full event budget into this category. This is like an emergency fund in the event you go over the projected budget, a cushion so to speak. Don’t spend all willy nilly, thinking “oh, I have a contingency fund, I can get this,” you will blow through that fund pretty darn quick thinking like that.

Bottom line, be realistic when creating your event budget, follow it as true to the mark as possible, and don’t forget, this is a service that Exsiting Creations Event Planning provides. No need in stressing over creating an event budget, I’m here to help you.

Visit, make an appointment and let’s get started planning your next event.


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