Behind every successful party is a planner who knows how to manage expenses. Costs can add up quickly, and without planning, the end result can be shocking. Below are a few tips to help you create a realistic budget and stick to it.
Tip 1: Use our free budgeting tool
Before you visit venues and start thinking of food and beverages, download our free budget worksheet. Without a budget in hand, you really have no idea of how much you can spend so why be tempted by the Ritz only to be disappointed when you can’t afford it?
Tip 2: Calculate a realistic budget
Before starting, estimate the number of guests who will attend your party. How many are you inviting? How many do you expect to come? You will need this information in order to calculate costs.
- Venue Rental: How much are you willing to pay to rent the venue? Some venues do not charge a rental fee if a certain amount of money is spent on food and beverage. Others charge a rental site fee that can range from $500 to $5000.
- Food & Beverage: If your event will be at a full service venue, you will probably have a per-person cost for food and beverages. Before meeting with a caterer or banquet manager, use your budget sheet to determine how much you can spend. Most caterers and venues offer a range of options from simple pasta to steak and lobster, so don’t be shy about asking for a lower cost option if needed. Also, plan for extra taxes & gratuities for the food and beverages. This cost can be higher than you think and goes up as food costs go up.
- Alcohol: Bevmo has a handy alcohol calculator that can help you determine how much alcohol you should have. That number will help you determine the price per-person and the total price.
- Decor: Will you be purchasing, renting or borrowing decor? Think about how fancy your decor needs to be and how much you can spend. If your budget is tight, ask family, friends, and volunteers for help locating items to borrow and for DIY ideas. If you are crafty, or have crafty friends, you can save a lot by making your own centerpieces, wall art and photo booths. Pinterest is a great place to find DIY décor projects to fit any theme.
- Music: Will you have a band, DJ or your own playlist? Good music is an important part of a party and not an item to skimp on. People will remember having a great time dancing more than what food was served. If money is tight, a good playlist on an iPod or phone app such as Spotify can work fine. However, a DJ or Band can add an amazing energy and get people up out of their seats.
- Favors: Not every party needs favors, but if you want to have them, do some research to find creative options that don’t cost a lot. Find out if your party helpers have any special talents that could be used for DIY favors. Consider seedlings, photos, or homemade cookies as eco-friendly, low cost gifts.
- Invites: There are a few options when it comes to invitations: have them printed, print them yourself or use an on-line service like evite. Online invites are great but receiving one in the mail has the advantage of being a constant visual reminder that guests can post on their refrigerator. If your budget allows, consider sending both, so your guests have two reminders and can easily access the party details from any location (including while they are driving to the event).
Tip 3: Know where to cut back
Take the time now to complete a budget worksheet. If the final estimate is a shock, review your costs and see where you can cut back. It’s okay to dream big, but now it’s time to get real. Go through each line item and determine which ones you can cut or reduce. Can you choose a less expensive dinner option? Find decor items in a secondhand store or on craigslist? Ask a music-loving friend to DJ? With a little creativity, you can save money and still wow your guests.
If you haven’t already, download our free budget worksheet now to get started.
Have some great ideas for saving money or creating a budget? Contact us!