How to Build an Event Budget

Posted by Abby Wolfe on 05/15/2017

Picture this. In your event planning process, quotes and bids are coming in a little higher than you expected. Suddenly when time is ticking, you find yourself with a $5,000 budget for audio visual when your quote is clearly stating $9,000.

What happened? What went wrong?

After 64 years of events, we have five tips straight from the pros to help you build a smart and impactful budget for your next event.

  1. What is your event’s main purpose? What are the have-to-have’s? Are you trying to relay a compelling message or are you more focused on giving your guests a big party? Determining your purpose and priority should lead your budget strategy. If a message is your purpose, audio visual is should be at the top of your list. If you are wanting to show appreciation to your customers, the food and drinks might be more important. Your budget should reflect that priority in proportion. Starting with that aspect of the event in the planning process can also go a long way in making sure your event’s purpose is loud and clear in the minds of your audience.
  2. Make an educated estimate.  Some event services may not cost the same now as they did three years ago, or even last year! By asking for ballpark pricing before building your budget, you can save yourself from moments of sticker shock associated with some of the aspects of your event.
  3. Be selective with your vendors. Great vendors focus on solutions and your overall event rather than strictly their piece of the pie. If quotes do not fall within your budget, don’t be afraid to ask your partner vendors for suggestions and revisions to match your goals AND your budget.
  4. Know your non-negotiables. Do you have a band coming? Or, do you have an amazing video that is going to bring your audience to tears? Audio visual is a non-negotiable. Does your event have a strong theme? Décor is a must. Is location important? Venue would be your non-negotiable. Those must-haves can help you and your vendor partners adjust your budget accordingly if you get in a pinch.
  5. Start budgeting early and don’t be afraid to bring your vendors into that process. Even if your event just ended, start the conversations, even without all your details. That way, your vendors will have a better idea of what to keep in mind for your event and can make suggestions that will save you time and money. Specifically in AV, getting a heads up about your event space will help guide your vendor, who has likely been there many times before, to make your event really shine.

With these things in mind while budgeting for your next event, you can save a lot of time and headache later. These tips will help prevent you from running into surprises, sticker shock, and last-minute adjustments when the clock is ticking leading up to your event.

Having the right budget in place, aligned with your goals and event purpose, will always be your best bet for knocking it out of the park.

The team at Cory’s Audio Visual is ready to hear about your next event. Let’s talk about your vision for making it a success! Get started here.