Event planning is never easy. From expensive venues to flighty vendors, organizing a successful event is an art that is extremely difficult to master. One of the most frustrating parts of planning an event is the massive price tag that comes with it.
Saving money and cutting costs are two tasks that are never simple. However, there are a few things every event organizer should know before starting to plan.
Here’s 10 tips every event planner should know before organizing an event.
1) Be strict with your budget
When planning an event, you need to have a solid budget before you do anything else. Without a well thought out budget, you won’t be able to determine how to properly allocate your funds. Before you start making tough decisions, you should have a good idea of how much money you want to spend on each aspect of your budget.
A popular rule of thumb is to hold 5% of your budget to allow for unexpected expenses that may crop up in the midst of planning. This gives you space for anything that could potentially go wrong while organizing your event.
Here are some recommended budget templates:
- The Event Budget Workbook from Guidebook
- The Party Budget Worksheet by Spreadsheet 123
- The Event Budget Template by Tidyform
2) Don’t be afraid to negotiate
You don’t have to be a contestant on Shark Tank to be an amazing negotiator. Although it can feel awkward at times, you need to make sure that you are getting the best deal you possibly can. At this point in the event planning process, you are the customer and these vendors need to impress you.
For tips on how to negotiate like a professional, check out this article from Forbes.
3) Promote your event
By far one of the most cost-effective ways to save money while planning an event is to actively promote yourself. Social media websites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin are all great ways to advertise your event while not spending insane amounts of money on marketing.
Social media posts make it easy for people to share the information for you by liking, commenting, and re-tweeting. This increases your visibility to other potential attendees and doesn’t cost you a dime. You never know how many of your connections could eventually become your biggest advocates.
4) Be flexible
Don’t feel like you have to follow in the footsteps of other big conventions. Just because some venues are traditionally used for certain events does not mean you have to go with those options. There are several underrated (and less expensive ) venues that can be transformed into the perfect place for your event.
5) Think outside the box
It’s entirely too easy to spend way too much money on something as simple as decorations for your event. While it may be easier to buy pre-made decor from Target or Walmart, there are many decorations you can make on your own for way cheaper.
Don’t shy away from DIY-ing banners, flower arrangements, or invitations. Making decor on your own can cut your costs in half while also adding a personal touch to your decorations.
Here’s a guide to 17 creative DIY event ideas.
6) Maintain communication
Always have an open and clear line of communication with all involved parties. Make sure you are accessible at all times so you can be aware of any unexpected changes that come up. It’s also important to communicate your budget to everyone involved in the planning process. If everyone is aware of how much money is allocated to each aspect of the event, it will be much easier to stay within budget.
Miscommunication within your team can lead to costly misunderstandings or mistakes. Remember: Over-communicating is much better than under-communicating.
7) Look at similar past events
Think back to a time when you attended an event similar to the one you are planning. Was there anything you remember specifically liking or disliking? Is there something you could do better or more efficiently?
Looking at your own past experiences can help you dictate what works for events and what does not. Reaching out to other event planners can also be a great source of information. Fellow planners can give you advice on how they have cut costs in the past, as well as give you recommendations on less expensive options and budgeting techniques.
8) Go local
When looking for vendors and entertainers for your event, look to the locals. Local bands are a great way to save money while still having a quality source of entertainment for your guests.
Check out this local band finder that can help you locate bands in your area.
Having a popular local restaurant cater your event is another way to attract more attendees. People love supporting local businesses, especially when those local businesses are cult favorites with massive fan-bases.
9) Plan for anything and everything
Every event-planner knows that if something has the potential to go wrong, it probably will. Even if it doesn’t, it can’t hurt to be prepared. Surprise thunderstorms, last-minute cancellations, and vendor mistakes are always a possibility, and it will be up to you as the event planner to fix it.
It’s important to have a positive mindset when it comes to unexpected issues. When something goes wrong, you need to be calm, collected, and ready to face the problem head-on. As long as you keep it together, you should be able to find a solution readily.
10) Stream your event online
One of the most effective ways to cut costs while planning an event is to add a digital component. Do away with the pressure of picking venues and catering huge events. Instead, invest that money into a quality, customized live-streamed event that reduces both stress and costs.
Even if your event can’t be fully virtual, hybrid events are becoming more and more popular. Don’t expect to see them fall out of popularity any time soon.