How to Establish an Event Budget (And Stick to It!)

event budget list | Windy Hill Photography

When planning for any event, from weddings to corporate, it’s essential to develop a budget – and stick to it. Though it can feel overwhelming (not to mention tempting to jump right into a vendor contract – you’re excited, after all!), a clear budget will help you stay on course through the planning process. Read through our event budget list below to help you prepare for your big event!

1. The Venue

The event venue you choose is often the largest expense (and will likely determine what you can allot to your other expenses), so it’s very important to be sure your event space is squared away before proceeding with other vendors. 

Our tip is to learn as much as possible about the venues you tour before committing to anything! The 1812 Farm is all-inclusive, meaning we provide just about everything you could need for an event as part of our venue price. 

Determine whether your venue offers on-site catering or if you need to hire outside caterers; this will also determine if you need servers and other wait staff, tables and chairs, dishware and glasses, and so forth. Determine if parking is available or if shuttles must be enforced for guests to arrive and depart. Are there heating and cooling systems in place, or will you need to bring in your own? Ensure your venue contract details everything they already have so you can figure out what to supplement!

2. Speakers or Entertainment

Guests are coming to your event, whatever it may be, with the expectation of entertainment! Whether you’re looking for a DJ to work your wedding reception or a high-profile keynote speaker, this will often occupy a large chunk of your event budget. Do your research and choose the best quality entertainment possible within your budget. We assure you that investing in entertainment means your guests will be talking about it for years to come!

3. Staffing

The staff you need to work on your event will depend on what type of event you’re hosting. For example, corporate events may require additional specialized staff to handle registration, entertainment, or speakers; these individuals are often compensated for travel, accommodations, meals, and labor costs. Make sure you have determined all staffing needs before settling on your final budget!

4. Food Expenses

Food is often a huge focal point of any event, so it’s important to prioritize this part of the financing. You don’t want to blow your budget on decorations but not have enough for guests to eat! 

An easy way to work this into your overall event budget is to look for venues that have on-site catering available. At The 1812 Farm, our team will work with you to create a custom menu for your event. There are no food minimums to worry about – catering costs vary based on the service style, and menu items selected but typically range from $70 to $140 per person. It’s an amazing, budget-friendly way to “wow” your guests with gorgeous dishes at your event!

If your venue doesn’t offer on-site catering, do some thorough vendor research to determine the best quality catering within your budget. Experienced caterers can work with you to customize your day-of meals.

5. Gifts

Some events may call for goodies or little gifts to send guests home with. For example, some people may offer wedding favors like engraved glasses or succulents; corporate gifts could include branded pens or keychains. Whatever your favors consist of, choose an amount that will allow for a few extra but won’t leave you with overflow to help save money. 

6. Other Expenses

Perhaps the most helpful and important tip of this event budget list is to be mindful of all types of expenses – including those that may not be as obvious as catering or venue selection. Each event is different, of course, but a few additional expenses you may run into can include:

  • Transportation
  • Insurance
  • Permits and licenses
  • Gratuities and tips
  • Equipment rentals
  • Extracurricular activities, such as golf
  • Hair and makeup
  • Stationary, such as invitations or programs
  • Marketing for corporate events

Tips for Sticking with Your Event Budget

Plan Early – To give yourself plenty of time to plan each detail and pivot as needed, start the process as early as possible! This will allow you to stick more closely with your event budget rather than overspending because you’re down to the wire timing-wise.

Consider All Costs – Think outside of the box regarding the costs you’ll incur when hosting an event. There can be many hidden costs across vendors that may not seem like a lot but can seriously add up over time. Be sure to track everything, even if fees or costs appear small!

Determine Where You Can Save – Depending on your priorities, there will be areas that you will want to splurge and, alternatively, things you can save money on! Determining where less-important costs can be cut, it will give you a fuller budget for the essential aspects to you – whether it be the venue, catering, or otherwise.

Track Any Ongoing Changes – As with any large event, when you start planning early, there are inevitably going to be details that change as it gets closer to the actual date. The best way to track all these changes is to document them as you go. This will help ensure you can adjust your budget and not miss anything. Go in with the mindset that event budgets are living documents!

Book The 1812 Farm to Host Your Next Event

Let our impeccable venue at The 1812 Farm serve as an elegant backdrop for your next event! From weddings to corporate parties, we can accommodate any celebration. Stroll our lush gardens, enjoy the bubbling fountain and soak in the early 18th-century details of our historic barn. It’s sure to be an event you (and your guests!) won’t soon forget!

To learn more about our availability and pricing, please visit our website or contact us online today.