Written by Jemanda Hannouf, Event Planner
Gold cutlery, crystal chandeliers and an elephant – yes I had a client who once had an elephant at their corporate event! These are all the essentials for a successful event right? Wrong!
Just because you have larger budget for your event doesn’t mean that your event is going to be more successful or memorable than one with a smaller budget.
Event planning success is about Preparation, Planning and Organisation (PPO) and not necessarily about money. Part of this preparation and planning is having strong event goals, objectives, amazing music, a guest list and not to forget amazing food and drinks. Who doesn’t love food and drinks?
Throughout my experience I have been able to organise events on any scale. I have put together a list of 11 top tips to help you plan your next amazing unforgettable event, even with a small budget.
1. Event Budget
Okay. So we all need a budget, whether large or small, before we start our event. I recommend using an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of everything.
Firstly, list the items that you need to spend money on. This will indicate where you need to cut costs, purchase cheaper or even hire in order to lower the cost. List all incoming and outgoing expenses. Literally track everything you spend regardless of how big or small. It all adds up.
Secondly, once you have your items listed, start obtaining quotes. I recommend getting 3 quotes to compare. This will also be able to help you negotiate a lower price too. Make sure the quote is item for item.
If you choose to hire rather than buy, make sure you ask what additional charges might not be noted on the quote. Sometimes there are hidden fees i.e. returning equipment late or a damage waiver fee that isn’t included in the initial quote. This will help you stick to your budget.
The time of the year and day of the week you choose will impact on your budget. Off-peak seasons are generally cheaper to budget for than a peak season e.g. Christmas. A lot of venues run specials in January and February, as this is their quiet period. Weekends are also more expensive than week nights. If you can hold your evening event between Monday and Thursday, you will see savings of at least 50% on some venues.
TIP: Try holding a breakfast or lunchtime event, especially if your event is a work or networking event. This will also motivate and get people in a great mood for the rest of the day!
2. Pick Your Venue Early
If you can hold the event at your own premise (home or office), it will ultimately save money and stress. You will also have fewer restrictions with catering and dates for the event. If you feel your premise is too small, think outside the box and ask the neighbours if maybe you can use their front area or yard.
If you do not have your own premise and need to hire one, do it as early as possible! This will be the most expensive item on your budget, not to mention the most time consuming.
So where do you start looking? Avoid large city venues or venues overlooking the water – these are generally the most expensive. The areas surrounding the city are great, as they are still easy for most people to access. Generally, there is more car parking available in addition to public transport.
Now, narrow your list of potential venues down to three. Once you have your 3 venues look at the following:
- Does the venue supply catering packages including drinks or can you supply your own?
- Is there free parking or does the venue charge to park?
- Does the venue charge you to use your own decorations?
- Does the venue charge you to use AV equipment?
If you want to supply your own catering and alcohol, your choice of venues will be limited. If this is the case, look at local community halls. Often you can just hire the venue and supply the rest on your own.