“I’ve been told the first thing you need to do when planning an event is determine your budget? How exactly do I do that?”
Having a budget to work within is the best way to start formulating a “plan.” Typically, a client will have an end number in mind that they are comfortable spending. This number is one they hope not to exceed. It is very important to start here – it will help you choose your venue. If your total budget is $35K and you are in love with a venue that has an average spend of $30K on a Saturday night, then you will know right off the bat that this is not the right venue for you! (Our team can easily make suggestions of venues that can fit your budget!)
Start with the most obvious numbers first and begin backing out of your target spend. These would be Venue, Food & Beverage, Entertainment, Photographer/Videographer and Decor. Once you have subtracted for the priorities, then you will know what you have remaining for rentals, souvenirs, activities, invitations, lighting, sweet treats, etc.
The best planners always build in a “miscellaneous” line item for overages and last minutes add-ons. We recommend saving at least 5% of your total budget for the “just in case” category. If you spend it, at least you were prepared for it.
If you choose to work with a planner, they will know the costs and will be able to easily help you build a team of professionals that will fit your vision and budget. Planners also have the ability to identify items that, if eliminated, will not impact the integrity of the event. If you are planning on your own, a clear budget will save you time as you begin making calls and collecting prices. Be sure to ask about set up and delivery fees and overtime rates. Some industries do not include these figures in the initial quote.