No matter the type of event you’re preparing for, whether you need to put together an anniversary party for close relatives or friends or an employee appreciation event for your workforce, the budget you’re working with is seldom as expansive as your imagination.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t pull off the event you’ve been dreaming of; it just takes some know-how and careful decision making.
Luckily, in our time as NY and NJ event planners, we’ve worked with people with budgets and ideas of all sizes, so we compiled a few tips for getting the most out of a limited budget.
1. Cut costs on your when and where.
If you’re planning on hosting any corporate or social events at a relatively popular venue, you should get in contact with them as early as possible because they book fast and often all year round.
And if a weekday will do or better yet, a weekday earlier in the week, you can cut back on costs that way as weekends are more popular and expensive.
Just remember, the more popular venues won’t just book up early throughout the year, they’ll also require higher minimum deposits and will cost more overall. So, if booking the most popular venue in town isn’t absolutely necessary, head elsewhere.
2. Don’t be afraid to be a little unconventional.
If appropriate for your event, you can forgo the traditional, popular, and costly venue option and instead choose to host your event at a more unconventional location to save money.
If you can keep it at the office or a home, great, but in our experience in event planning in NJ and NY, we’ve seen events hosted at all kinds of spaces, from art galleries and parking lots to empty lofts, that have been transformed to fit all kinds of themes and styles.
You can also have a day event in a portion of a restaurant or at a nightclub, which will help with service costs and, at a nightclub, you won’t have to worry about the sound and lighting setup.
The key is to make sure that no matter how unconventional your location is, it still fits the theme and tone of your event. For more information on unconventional venues, check out this post, Tips for Choosing an Unconventional Event Venue.
3. Plan your drinks responsibly.
First off, if alcohol is appropriate, don’t assume it’s better to pay a certain amount per each guest than to pay for what people actually drink, as that’s not always the case. By taking the latter option, you’ll avoid paying the same amount for someone who drinks water or soda throughout the event that you pay for someone who drinks pricey liquor.
On that note, sticking to wine and beer and excluding hard liquor can help a lot as well, and when planning corporate events, it can be helpful to do some research to see if there are any local wineries or breweries that may be interested in sponsoring your event and supplying free drinks.
All these deals typically require is that you showcase their name or logo to your attendees, so it’s a win-win situation. You get free drinks and they get to advertise.
There are plenty more ways to cut back.
If you’re having your event at your office or home and need to supply your own food, you’re better off buying in bulk from a wholesaler than a supermarket, and remember that entertainment, chair, and decor costs can get out of hand quickly with just a few bad calls.
Also, you may find that the prices and deals event planners get aren’t available to you, but the bottom line is that yes, with some careful planning you can put together a fairly fancy event on a tight budget, but it’s also important to keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better.
Getting the most out of your budget isn’t about cutting corners and being cheap in an attempt to go big, but about using the right percentage of the funds in the right places, the places with the most potential to send your event’s message with the greatest impact.
About Us: Absolute Events by Corrine, a full-service meeting & event planning company in New Jersey, handles every detail of the planning process. Whether they’re wedding events or corporate in nature, destination or local, Absolute Events by Corrine does it all so that our clients can be guests at their own events.