Plan Epic Events While Staying Under Budget

image of party planning under budget

If you’re not a natural event planner, it can be hard to keep all your ducks in line. Especially when today’s industry has sophisticated the event planning profession to extreme heights.    

Nonetheless, it’s exciting to take part in planning a successful corporate party. To know that all these variables can come together in the culmination of a memorable experience can be quite fulfilling. 

Let’s be real though, we know party planning can be tedious. 

There are going to be times when all you’ll want to do is tear out your hair and rip every planner to shreds. Fear not though because we’ve got some advice that you’ll appreciate.

From planning huge corporate events to small company get-togethers, set down the right foundation and you’ll find that kicking off a great party will be easier than you expected.

Channel Your Inner Event Planner

event planning coordinator writing down ideas

The time has come.

The annual 3-day business convention that everyone has been talking about is on the horizon. Or maybe it’s a last-minute company social that someone thought would be great to schedule without warning. 

You realize that your one person planning crew seems to lack direction. In fact, your lone crew may even be lacking a starting point.

If we were to ask you what was one of the most stressful jobs out there, event planning may not be first to come to mind. That’s because event planning requires a lot of attention. 

Statistics have ranked event planning as one of the most stressful jobs since 2016. 

Now we’re not saying you should drop your job like a hot potato. But if you find that your lone event planning crew is lacking in direction, it may be time to think like an event planner.

Qualities That The Best Event Planners Possess

magnifying glass on colorful surface

Event planners have incredible attention to detail.

Their heads are always in the game from the smallest details like what chairs to get to the bigger items like hiring a caterer. They make sure that everything flows smoothly every step of the way.

If you’re creative, that’s great! If not, that’s fine too. What matters is that you know how to be adaptable.

Not every event is going to run as smooth as you would like. Someone is going to show up late, the sound system may shut down, the caterer may have forgotten the right order, etc. 

It’s your job as the person who planned the event to figure out how to fix it so that people leave feeling satisfied.  

Always keep some sort of planner handy because events require a lot of organization.


event planning organizational tools including calendar, planner, laptop, folders

If not a planner then you best hope that you have an extensive photographic memory. If you’re paying attention to every detail, the first step is going to be remembering said details as the event draws near.

Interpersonal skills are not only valuable in any position, but they are especially crucial for event planning. They are a must if you want to keep lasting relations that you can carry on in the future.

In a study conducted with over 1000 participants, over 80% said that interpersonal skills were crucial to event planning.

You’re reflecting yourself as an individual on behalf of your company. Being able to collaborate well with others shows that you’re a team player.

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Set Up A Game Plan

So you have an inkling of what it takes to plan an event like it’s your full-time job, but you still don’t know where to start.

First things first, start out by coming up with a list of costs and expenses. In other words, create your budget.

The Budget

event planning a budget with a calculator

To create a budget, the first thing to do is determine what you are budgeting for. This is where you make a list of everything that an event is going to call for.

Here’s a list of elements you can expect to budget for when event planning:

  • Venue
  • Catering
  • Music
  • Security
  • Entertainment
  • Decoration
  • Cleanup crew
  • Marketing
  • Staff
  • Equipment rental costs

The next step is to calculate your actual costs.

Think about this for a minute. What do you absolutely need to know to create a detailed list of expenses?

The more detailed you are the more exact your projected expenses are going to be. Add as much description into the budget list as possible, that way anyone looking at it will know exactly what you are referring to.

For example, say you were budgeting for decorations.

If you’re thinking about decorations then what would that entail? How much would you need, what color, what type, etc.  

When calculating your projected costs, it’s best to be as exact as possible.

Look back on the records kept for past events. What was the cost of the venue and entertainment then? How does your event differ or correlate with past events?

Getting quotes from prospective vendors can also give a realistic estimate of budgeting costs. They can factor in any extra costs that may have bypassed your attention like gratuity or cancellation fees.

Lastly, determine your projected revenues. This is where you factor in cost per attendee and compare that to ticket prices.

Or if you don’t intend on making revenue from ticket sales then factor in contributions from sponsors, donations, or money made at the bar.

Reach Out To Sponsors For Your Event

event planning by shaking hands across table

Pitching your company, your ideas, and events to potential sponsors can be intimidating.

What if they refuse, what if they’re not convinced and want to hear more before they commit to a deal?

The best you can do is set your facts straight and sell yourself right. 

Start out by getting your demographic and purpose across. 

Sponsors want to establish who is going to see their brand and what cause they’re investing in. If they don’t feel that the demographic is right then they’re going to move on to a better deal. 

Come up with an awesome proposal and give your potential sponsors an offer that they will have a hard time refusing.

As focused as you are on how a sponsor will benefit your event, sponsors want to know what’s in it for them as well. 

Add an emotional element to your proposal. Does it give back to the community and if so how?

Offer them a concrete deliverable

They want to feel secure in their investment and numbers have a tendency to offer such security. If Millennials make up half of the guest list and it’s proven that they have a large percentage of purchasing power, let your sponsors know. 

Don’t sell yourself or your company short and don’t be afraid to ask for an adequate amount of money. 

Let’s not get too out of hand with the asking price. But keep in mind your value and how that value carries over in the eyes of a sponsor.

Get The Event Planning Logistics Down Pat

We’re talking about the who, what, when, where, how, and why of the gritty details. This task is like jumping over a measly twig compared to jumping over fallen trees when creating budgets.   

This is the most basic stuff that you can set straight without stressing too much over it.  

Let’s take care of the obvious first.

Where Will The Event Be Held?

If it’s difficult to get to, is the company going to expense the cost of transportation for their employees? If so then this is an extra cost that you need to factor in.

Will it affect attendance if the location is in a more remote place than a downtown studio for example?

What Time Is The Event Going To Be?

If it’s after dinner then how will this impact the catering menu? Drinks are customary after dinner so the booze menu will need particular attention in this case. 

Or if it’s an afternoon convention then this may require an hour break for lunch. And of course per popular demand, coffee options are a must for any events in the morning.

What Day Is The Event Going To Be?

event planning calendar with day circled

The calendar day is essential to avoid any collisions with notable circumstances.

What if you scheduled a company convention the same day that 5 other companies had theirs? The chances of this happening are low but you get the point. 

Now you’re all vying for attendees and no one goes home happy.  Instead of competing for attendees, pick a day where your event is the only one claiming attention.

Who’s Going To Be There?

What is the attendee list going to look like? These are vital details to get across to any potential sponsors. 

The guest list can also influence elements like music or entertainment depending on what the demographic looks like. 

It can help to have all guests RSVP beforehand so your attendee number is as accurate as possible.

Let The Event Planning Begin

folded napkins in wine glasses for great event planning

Once you’ve taken care of the logistical aspects of your event planning, it’s time to move on to the fun stuff.

Think about how you are going to market the event

Come up with creative invitations that you can send out in a weekly newsletter or in the mail to your recipients. Leverage any social media accounts and CRM databases to reach potential guests. 

How about libations and snacks, what are your best options for beverage deliveries?

Food and beverage is something we take very seriously here at Office Libations. Reach out to vendors and caterers alike to compare the best prices and find the best value for your budget.

Try to be inclusive and offer a PG menu for the designated drivers and those who like to keep their sobriety in check. Cocktail ideas can be fun as well as figuring out what kind of alcohol is best for which kind of event.

And if you want to be really creative, try initiating a potluck for smaller group socials. This way your guests are more involved and it will keep costs to a minimum by cutting out the catering option.

Speaking of audience engagement, what are attendees going to do at your event?

If it’s a multiple day convention, consider having a line up of important speakers. Or if it’s a small party/social, consider hiring a DJ and offering plenty of time for networking.

Let’s Wrap Things Up

Take a hint from the experts.

According to Michaela Alexander, a strategic field marketing manager, there are two types of strategies to pursue. 

The first is to pay attention to all details so that they connect flawlessly. The second is to never lose sight of the purpose of your event. 

Combine the two and you will host an event that will hit it off without a hitch.

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