One of the most important jobs I have as a wedding and event planner is developing and keeping an eye on your event budget.
Unlike most planners, I love budgets. I love creating and keeping track of all of the expenses related to an event. And I pride myself on creating comprehensive budgets that include every expense you might incur. (I also really love Excel and spreadsheets, so I guess it was only natural that I would love budgets.)
Even if you haven't hired an event planner for your event, it's integral for you to create a detailed budget for your event or wedding. Costs add up fast and it is often a shock for clients to see how much everything will really cost. Create the budget early on (it's really the first thing you should do) and you will be more informed when you make decisions on your venue, vendors, etc.
Without professional help, it's a little difficult to think of every possible item you may need. For instance, for at-home weddings or large celebrations, you might not know that you may need to rent a generator to account for power for the caterers, entertainment and lighting companies. So below is a list of common budget items everyone forgets to account for.
1 - Transportation
How will you get to your wedding ceremony? How will the guests get to and from their hotels? To the reception location after the ceremony?
Transportation is tedious and decidedly un-sexy so therefore people don't like to think about it. Combine that with an unfamiliarity with the subject (when's the last time you checked how much a 30 passenger mini bus costs?) and many people grossly underestimate how much money they need to allocate towards transportation.
Do some research early on to familiarize yourself with the costs in your area and make sure to think about the logistics of your event so you can properly budget for this category.
2 - Gratuities
Tipping waitstaff, the band, venue staff, etc. is customary and a very nice thing to do. Many times staff goes above and beyond without you knowing it. Leave the distribution of tips to your event planner so you don't have to worry about it during your event, but make sure to include it in your budget. (Your planner should be able to give you a list of who should be tipped and how much.)
3 - Umbrellas or other Rain Plan Items
No one likes to think about the rain plan. But if you've thought about it, chances are it won't happen (that's just the events law!). And if it does, at least you'll be prepared.
Make sure to include a line item for rain plan items -- at the very least you will probably need umbrellas. If you're planning a ceremony or cocktail hour on a lawn and there is no indoor rain plan location, put a tent on reserve. This will usually cost you 30% of the total tent price, but it's worth not having to scramble at the last minute when you can't find a tent company to put up a tent because their inventory is already booked up. You can usually cancel the tent the week of your event if the forecast calls for a gloriously sunny day and avoid paying the full price.
4 - Vendor Meals
Don't forget to feed the vendors! You can't expect your photographer to be by your side for 8+ hours without eating anything. Providing vendor meals is not only polite and considerate, but it is very important in order to keep your vendors on-site during your event. What if your vendor is off-site grabbing a bite to eat while something important is happening at your party?
Make sure to account for this item in you budget because this cost adds up fast! When you sit down and count how many vendors you'll have during the event (band members, DJ, photographer, videographer, planner, photo booth operator, any games staff, etc.) you'll be surprised by the amount of people you'll need to feed.
The cost for vendor meals can vary -- they usually start around $25 and I've paid as much as $75 -- so be sure to inquire what the cost is from your caterer so you can budget appropriately.
No one likes thinking about money when it comes to their event. That's not the fun part -- picking flowers and linens and menus and dreaming about the fun you're going to have is. But if you have a solid budget that guides your planning, you'll be able to enjoy the party even more. You won't be worrying about how much anything costs or how you're going to pay for it and will have the peace of mind to make lasting memories with your family and friends.
Need help with budgeting for your event? LIG Events offers budget consultations. Contact us for more information.