“Piggy Bank” Budgeting

Budgeting for an event can be agonising.  So many components need to be thought about: the DJ, the band, the venue, the caterers, the flowers, the cake, the invites; the list is almost endless.  No matter how big or small your event may be, it’s important to use calculated planning to eliminate the risk of going over budget or worse yet, having to miss out important elements of your event.

 A recent survey suggests that the average cost for a wedding in 2013 stands at £22,265 so as well as the obvious C; cost, we’ve put together the “5 C’s” you need to help manage your finances when it comes to splashing the cash for your event.

Cost

You must first identify all of the areas of expenditure.  There are so many components which make up an event and it is important to list and cost out as much as you can think of before you start to spend.

 Put together a spreadsheet itemising each part of the event and how much it will cost.  Start researching how much certain items or suppliers will cost.  We may have one idea in our head of what we think things cost but you need to be realistic and by having this information before starting to spend means your budget will be more accurate and most importantly you won’t run out of money before you’ve completed the project.

 Make sure you think about every last, finer detail like pens and card you need to buy to design your escort cards or even the table to which your escort cards will need to be displayed.  Extra transportation to feeding your photographer… there are so many things to think about and probably things you won’t even realise you need until nearer the date but over estimating means you’ll be able to leave room for error.  Noting down all the possible areas of expenditure will give you a rough estimate of your total event budget.  Think of every single element to cover all grounds before beginning to put deposits down and record all expenses on that dreaded spreadsheet.

Choices

Choose a realistic budget, we all want that fairytale wedding or that perfect party that no one can ever match and we can still have those things but maybe not quite on the same scale as Kim Kardashian and her three wedding dress changes!

Think about alternatives.  Do we really need the most expensive cutlery?  Maybe we can substitute the lobster for the chicken?  Can we cut back on the amount we spend on the wedding dress and shoes?  (Okay maybe lets not be hasty here…)  You get the drift.  Don’t always think you need the best of the best, focus more of your budget on the more focal parts to your party or wedding, the moments your guests will really remember.  Speak to your event planner about the options you have before rushing into the first choice.

Compare

Don’t just jump at the first venue – look at your options and drive a hard bargain!  Public attractions such as zoos, museums and out of season sports venues are often places not many other event planners have considered booking, leaving you room to make an enquiry that could save you a valuable chunk of your budget.  Utilising different spaces out of high seasons means you can normally get them at a fraction of the cost.

Avoid spur of the moment purchases.  We all get caught up in the excitement of the event and the “pretty things” but these kind of items always end up blowing the budget so think realistic, do you really need it?  Will it really make that much of an impact on your event?

Conduct

Conducting a site visit of the venue is a very valuable way of seeing how the space will work with the event you are trying to put on, whether it has the right facilities for your needs etc.  It is also a great way of meeting the venue manager in person and haggling a reduced hire rate.  A lot of venues can be flexible with their fees and will often look at reducing the cost if you make it clear you’re ready to make a firm commitment.

This method also works well with caterers, photographers, makeup artists etc.  Conduct various meetings to try and work to your preferred cost whilst also keeping your potential supplier happy.

Contingency

No matter how well you plan, there is nearly always something that you forget to include.  Hold back 10% – 15% percent of your estimated budget for any last minute or forgotten spends.  If you are having an outside event you may need to keep a retainer for a weather contingency plan.  Umbrellas, extra marquees… all factors you need to consider if you are relying on a dry day which we all know with this British weather, it’s extremely unpredictable!

 The likelihood is that you will need to eat into the extra cash saved away in some way or another but if you’re one of the lucky ones and plan properly, it’s all the more to put towards that honeymoon or party dress – win, win!