Whether you are an event planner or hosting your own event, balancing an event budget can be challenging. As an event planner, it is your responsibility to provide a detailed budget and manage the finances throughout the planning process. We always like to cushion the budget so we don’t have to come back to the client with any unexpected additional costs. Below are six of the higher expenses to consider when putting your event budget together.

1. Venue and Food & Beverage (F&B)  There are 4 scenarios that will determine the venue and F&B fees:

• High F&B Minimum and Waived Rental Room Fee. When we know we will have high F&B requirements, we insist on no room rental fee.

• Reduced Room Rental and Low F&B Minimum. If your F&B requirements are on the low end, the venue will require a reduced room rental fee.

• Sleeping Room Block Commitment. The venue will require a number of rooms that need to be blocked to secure the venue space. The more you increase your room block, the less room rental fee you will be on the hook for. More on this in #2 below.

• Full Price Room Rental. This will occur when you have a low F&B request or no F&B.

2. Hotel Sleeping Rooms. The hotel will provide an attendee sleeping room rate (e.g., $250). You will want to ask for a decreased sleeping room rate for the event staff (e.g., $125). Booking sleeping rooms at a hotel will be considered a financial bonus for the hotel thus they are more likely open to bringing down the room rental fee, F&B minimum and the attrition commitment (between 60% to 90%). The attrition percentage is the amount of rooms you will need to meet from the original room block. For example, 300 sleeping rooms x 75% attrition rate = 225 rooms that the client will need to book to meet the attrition without additional sleeping room costs.

3. Audio/Visual (AV). If you are on a tight budget, you don’t need to have the Taj Mahal of AV. The basics to consider are:

• 1 projector and 1 screen

• 1 lavaliere microphone and one wireless handled

• 1 sound board and 1 speaker

• 1 laptop (provide your own to save money)

If you have a larger event you will need to adjust these items to accommodate the event.

The venue may or may not offer these items in-house. Even if the venue offers AV in-house, always ask if you can bring your own AV. This could save money but you will need to consider union labor costs if the venue is union. Keep in mind, you should only be charged for union labor costs for set up and breakdown, not during the entire event.

4. Printing. This can be one of the most expensive costs for your event depending on your needs and many forget to factor in these costs. Here are some items to consider:

• Event Agenda

• Binder or Workbook

• Photography/Video/Audio Release Form

• Order Forms

• Handouts

• Signage (direction, registration, staging)

• Name Badges

• Maps

• Menus

• Invitations

Don’t wait until the last minute to send your materials to the printer. Last minute printing can be extremely expensive.

5. Videography. To save money on videography you could videotape only a portion of the event (e.g., half day, keynote speaker, 1 day of a 3-day event). The more camera views you want the more the costs. Here are a few reasons to have a videographer:

• Marketing material for future events

• Testimonials from attendees

• Maximize event entertainment

• Improve company brand

• Highlight Reel

• Position company in the market

• Instant Replay

• Live Streaming

• Highlight sponsors

• Trailer

6. Photography. You could expect to spend on average anywhere from $200 to $500 per hour for a photographer. Again, to save money on the photography you could have pictures taken of a portion of the event. It is important to hire a professional photographer and ask to see their portfolio. Be sure to hire a photographer that has experience shooting that same type of event you are hosting. Here are reasons to have a photographer at your event:

• Marketing material for future events

• Gift for speakers or attendees

• Brand recognition

• Social Media

• Website

• Speaker package

As the event planner, never forget to include your fee in the budget. This can also be one of the biggest expenses – if you’re lucky! ☺

WE’D LOVE FOR YOU TO SHARE THIS IN YOUR NEWSLETTER OR WEBSITE BUT PLEASE INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING COMPLETE INFORMATION: Event Planning Expert, Entrepreneur, and Coach, Annette Naif, Owner & Creative Director of Forté Events NYC and publisher of the E-Zine, “Forté Today.”

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About Forté Events:

Forté Events is a strategic event design and production firm specializing in corporate, non-profit, and social events worldwide.  Based in Colorado Springs, CO, and New York City this company produce events worldwide from Fortune 500 clients to families and charities. Forté Events specializes in helping clients attain their goals, realize return on investment, and achieve the most unique, creative experiences.

About Annette Naif:

Since 1986 Annette Naif has been designing and producing custom events. Helping clients create their unique signature style that translates into a memorable experience has been Annette’s passion from the beginning. Annette spent a number of years producing events for Sebastian International followed by 15 years in the motion picture industry where she helped coordinate numerous productions for film and episodic television programs. Since then she’s been running her own event design company, coaching other event planners and now leads the New York City branch of Forté Events.

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