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How to Create an Event Budget

Planning an event can be an exciting experience. But, as much as we'd want to believe that it's all about the glamour, there's one key factor that defines the success of any event — the budget. Don't panic! Creating an event budget doesn't have to be complicated. Follow our super simple guide on how to create an event budget to make crunching numbers a breeze!

What is an event budget? 

An event budget is like a road map that guides you through the many expenses and income streams of your event. It's a financial plan that keeps you on target and helps reduce overspending.

It provides a clear picture of how much money you have to spend on those small extras that make your event truly memorable.

Be sure to stick to your event budget through your entire event planning process! Just like a captain follows the map to avoid getting lost at sea, following your event budget is crucial to avoiding financial disaster.

Types of events

There are many types of events, but they can typically be grouped into five major categories, which include: 

Private events 

These events are usually limited to a specific group or family. When you hear about private events, you immediately think of birthday parties, baby showers, weddings, etc.

Corporate events 

They are specifically built to meet the demands of businesses and organisations. Corporate events are ideal for launching new products, team-building activities, etc.

In-person events 

These gatherings have been around for centuries and are still popular today. From award ceremonies to music festivals, charity events, exhibits, and trade shows. 

Online events 

You can host these events on a variety of digital platforms, and they are perfect for engaging with individuals all around the world. An example of online events are webinars, online workshops, virtual conferences, and online tutorials. 

Hybrid events

These events are a blend of in-person and online formats, allowing attendees to participate either physically or virtually. They cater to a wider audience and offer flexibility in attendance. Examples include conferences with live-streaming options and workshops with both on-site and online participants.

How to make a budget for an event

Due to how unpredictable market prices are, creating the ideal event budget can be tricky. So, how do you create an effective budget for an event? 

Step 1: Identify your event goals

Some important questions to consider when identifying your goals include:

  • What is the event's objective?
  • What kind of event do you have in mind?
  • Who is your intended audience?
  • What are the event's intended outcomes?
  • What is the event's schedule?

Once you have a clear understanding of your event objectives, you can select what style of event you want to arrange and how much money you want to spend on it.

Step 2: Determine your costs

Start by compiling a list of everything you'll need to buy or rent to hold your event. This could contain anything like:

  • Venue expenses (rent, catering, etc.)
  • Decorations (floral arrangements, table sets, etc.)
  • Entertainment (bands, DJs, entertainers, etc.)
  • Marketing (social media advertising, printed brochures, etc.)
  • Personnel (event planners, volunteers, security, etc.)

Step 3: Research fees

Conduct extensive research to establish the typical cost for each spending category. Getting estimates from vendors can help you accurately calculate expenses. It is also advisable to examine several options to discover the best value for your money.

Step 4: Make a budget

Set a budget for yourself once you have assessed the projected cost of your event. This budget should cover both your projected expenses and any contingency funds that you may require.

Step 5: Create a spreadsheet

Make a spreadsheet to track and organise your event expenses. Include the following columns:

  • Category.
  • Fixed cost.
  • Variable cost.
  • Profit/loss.
  • Total cost.

Note that even though each sort of event may have slightly different financial needs, the underlying event budgeting framework is often the same.

Step 6: Follow your budget

Keep track of your costs regularly to ensure you stay within your budget. If you go over budget in one category, try to cut spending in another.

Step 7: Make changes

Examine your budget and spending after the event to discover where you went over or under budget. Then, use this data to make changes and refine your budget for future events.

What expenses should be in a budget?

Here is a list of some common costs to get you started, but bear in mind that it is not exhaustive. It's always a good idea to include as many costs as possible when creating your event budget. The more expenses you consider, the more precise your event budget will be!

1. Venue

The venue is frequently one of the most costly aspects of an event. Consider the rental fee, any additional expenses, and any applicable discounts based on specified criteria.

2. Food and drinks

The cost of food and drinks varies depending on the type of event, the number of attendees, and the menu you choose. Include caterers, wait staff, bartenders, and any specific dietary requirements.

3. Decorations and set-up

You'll want to make sure that your event venue looks stunning. So, include the cost of table linens, floral arrangements, lighting, signage, etc. You could also want to hire a decorator, so factor that into your budget.

4. Audiovisual and technical equipment

Depending on the nature of the event, you may need to budget for sound systems, microphones, projectors, screens, staging, and lighting equipment rentals or technical support.

5. Entertainment

Whether it is a live band or a DJ, entertainment can elevate your event. Consider the cost of booking talent as well as any equipment rentals that may be required.

6. Security

Consider the costs of event workers, security personnel, and any permissions or licences that may be necessary.

7. Marketing and promotion

Advertising, printing, graphic design, website creation, and other promotional expenses should be part of your budget.

8. Registration and ticketing

If you're planning a ticketed event, factor in the price of online ticketing systems, registration software, badge printing, and payment processing fees. You can use Ticketleap to sell tickets to your event online!

9. Miscellaneous expenses

Budget for unplanned or miscellaneous expenses that may develop during the planning phase or on the day of the event.

Examples of event budgets

Even though you can set up your budget as you choose, it would be more practical to put it in a table format.

Here are some event budget examples:

#1 - Planning a private event

Here’s an illustration of what a budget for a private event can look like.

In total, there was no loss or profit from the event.

#2 - Planning a corporate event

When hosting an annual general meeting for an organisation, making an estimate of the number of attendees can help determine the event's cost. For example, if a company has 50 employees, you could estimate the number of attendees to be between 100-200 (in case they invite their family and friends).

To provide a more thorough analysis, here is an example:

Overall, the budget predicts that the event will generate $7,500 in total revenue for 100 attendees, $15,000 for 150 attendees, and $20,000 for 200 attendees. 

However, projected total costs after accounting for all fixed and variable costs come out to $4,050 for 100 attendees, $8,100 for 150 attendees, and $15,200 for 200 attendees.

This results in a profit for the event of $3,450 for 100 attendees, $6,900 for 150 attendees, and $4,800 for 200 attendees. 

#3 - Planning an in-person event

For illustration, we will take into account three distinct scenarios, each with an anticipated audience of 1,000, 2,000, and 3,000 people.

Here is how we arrived at the revenue projections, assuming that each attendee's ticket costs $20:

  • 1,000 people x $20 = $20,000 
  • 2,000 people x $20 = $40,000  
  • 3,000 people x $20 = $60,000

You can estimate the results of various scenarios by structuring your event budget in this way. With the help of this budget illustration, you can see that cutting both fixed and variable costs will produce a profit. 

Therefore, you can take some specific actions, such as 

  • Increasing your marketing budget
  • Finding more affordable locations 
  • Getting more sponsors
  • Pricing your tickets higher

How to cut costs while budgeting

Here are some inventive ideas to help you reduce your event planning budget without sacrificing the quality of the event.

  • Hold your event on non-peak days and times. This way, you're more likely to secure better prices from vendors and suppliers. 
  • Choose your venue carefully. Instead of renting a pricey banquet hall, seek more economical, out-of-the-box locations, such as parks, community centres, or even your backyard! 
  • DIY decorations! Rather than hiring a professional decorator, consider creating your own décor pieces. 
  • Consider hosting a virtual event. Hosting a virtual event can save you money on venue costs, travel expenses, and catering prices. 
  • Think about renting vs. buying equipment. Depending on the needs of your event, renting equipment such as tables, chairs, or audio-visual equipment may be the most cost-effective alternative.

Make an event budget like a pro!

Now that you understand the fundamentals of building an event budget, it's time to put your newfound knowledge to use! Remember not to worry too much about getting things perfect. Budgeting is a continuous process, and you can adjust as needed. Consider using an event management software like Ticketleap to streamline your ticket sales and promote your event all in one place!