Most event planners agree that anyone planning an event needs to create a realistic budget and, unless they have unlimited funds, stick to it. Nothing is worse than waking up the morning after your party, wedding, conference or other event and realizing that you overspent and now must face the consequences, which might be as drastic as losing your job when your boss sees the bill.
Those not adept at planning events within a budget tend to overspend in several common ways. One of the most common is by making impulse purchases. Pinterest is enormously popular for its creative ideas, which can lead to many unnecessary purchases. Love those vases? Why purchase one when you can get a deal on an entire dozen? But what if you don’t use them? You can always sell them, right, but probably for much less than you paid for them. And rarely will you recoup the shipping costs you paid.
Another problem is not finding out exactly what your merchants and venue do and do not provide. In a previous article I talked about the hidden costs of planning an event, which can include not accounting for sales tax, delivery fees, parking and other costs. When interviewing merchants and venues, be sure to ask plenty of questions and get every detail in writing.
A problem with budgeting for social events is often an out of control guest list. You have your list; your mother has hers; your sister has another, and Aunt Susie has yet another. It is easy for the party for 100 to escalate to twice that many. Unless each person is willing to foot the bill for their share of the guests, you may have to cut deeply, thus compromising your vision of the event.
At a recent event, an insistent mother nearly doubled the guest list yet didn’t offer to help pay for the additional costs. The hosts ended up having to forego catering to cover the cost of additional tables, chairs, linens and centerpieces. Could they have refused? Yes, but they chose not to create a family rift. Did the mom fully understand the stress and frustration she caused? Probably not and if she did, she didn’t care. Cake and punch anyone?
Yet another budget breaker is not staying within your planned timeline. Failure to do so will incur overtime charges. People tell me that weddings never start on time. Mine do, however, regardless of whether Aunt Susie won’t arrive to another 20 minutes. Failure to stay on time creates a domino affect. The caterer is ready at a certain time. You are late, you eat cold food. The DJ, photographer, videographer, band members and other merchants are usually paid by the hour. If you run late, you pay for them to sit around waiting. If you paid for a certain number of hours at your venue, you may need to leave before you complete everything you planned.
When planning a special event that will cost hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars, take your time, make a realistic budget and stay within it. If you aren’t sure how, contact an independent event planner and arrange for a consultation. You may find that she can save you money by helping you make the best choices to fit your budget.