Wouldn't it be lovely if we all had an endless flow of money to put towards our next big event? While there may be some lucky folks out there for which this statement rings true, the majority of us need to work within some sort of budget. Here are 5 simple steps to help you make the best of what you have.
1. Do a little research
Don't go into the planning process blind. Spend some time doing general research regarding the average cost of each element. You do not want to go into a meeting thinking the cost of that service is $500 when the average cost is $5,000. You don't need to be an expert, but having some working knowledge will put you in the driver's seat and help you stay in command of your budget.
2. Make a list and prioritize
Take a quiet moment and start to envision your event. What elements do you need to pull the whole thing off? Start creating a list of the different vendors you may choose to hire or items that you will need to purchase. This could include such things as your venue, caterer, invitations, decor, entertainment, and favors. Once the list is created you can make a notation of average price of each element to see what it would cost if you included each of these elements. adjustments.
Using the same list prioritize what elements are the most important. Are you a foodie and therefore the catering is going to rise to the top of the list? Or perhaps you have your heart set on a particular venue and won't budge on location. Maybe a talented photographer is a non-negotiable. Knowing what your must haves are will start to help to set up your skeleton outline for the event and help you know where to make adjustments.
3. Assess your wiggle room
Now, sum up the list. How is your dream event matching up to your target budget? Are you generally on track or do you need to adjust? When adjusting you have two options. You can either I increase your budget or you start making cuts. It is vital to understand whether or not you have wiggle room within your budget or if you have to adhere to a strict budget. If you do have wiggle room to increase your spending, it is vital to know how much and reassess. Additionally, we suggest creating some padding with your estimates or having some sort of contingency fund. Can you give yourself a 5% or 10% reserve for overages? There are often unexpected costs for last-minute purchases that can leave us feeling strapped for cash or unable to stay on budget. We highly recommend planning for these!
4. Cut the fat
It is never easy to cut out items from a wish list, but if you don't have the money to pay for them, that's all they are - wishes. It is time now to go to your list with a red pen and start cutting. We recommend starting at the bottom of the list and start assessing your needs with the lowest priority items. It’s the easiest place to start cutting. It may mean that you need to cut a line item all together or it may just mean a simple modification. Do you really need the seven piece band or could you get away with a five piece? Can you find a flower in season locally instead of having an out of season varietal shipped from halfway across the globe? What concessions can you make that won’t impact the integrity of your event?
5. Let it go
Once you have made a decision on what to cut or alter, let the original idea go. Continuing to daydream about what you couldn’t afford only works against you. Don’t dilute the joy of your big day by fretting over what could have been. If it is really that big of a deal, then perhaps reassessing your priorities or budget may be in order. Plus, you are probably the only one that is going to notice the changes.
Finally, we suggest reaching out to a planner to help you with the process. Working with a planner may be an additional upfront cost, but they can help you manage your expectations and expenses. A well experienced event planner will know areas to scale back on or skip altogether when budget crunches are in order, that you may not think of. Additionally, you can often save money by hiring an event coordinator who provides in house services like rentals because there is not a middle man that is needed to negotiate through. Not only will working with an event planner help decrease the stress, it can often save you money in the long run.
We’d love the opportunity to discuss your next event with you. Please reach out for a consultation with one of our wonderful staff members.