Expert Event Series: Tips to Savings

Posted on Jul 27, 2009

Jul 27, 2009

By Krista Chapman

Everybody is looking for ways to stretch their dollar a little bit further, particular when planning events. Below breaks down some of the best tips I have run across (many of which I have used or recommended) in my career.

1. Hire a professional (or at least refer to one for advice). Their connections, negotiation skills and skilled experience planning events will save you their cost over and over (and a lot of stress, too!)

2. Cut you guest list. Most of your event elements will be priced per person… the more people, the higher the cost.

3. Cakes… First, order fewer servings than guests (bakers plan for larger portions than most guests will eat). Second, ask about sheet cakes and dummy layers to save on decorating costs. Last, use fresh flowers to decorate… you will save big over labor intensive sugar flowers.


4. Serve beer and wine or limit alcohol to a initial cocktail hour or signature drink. Depending on how large the guest list, the savings can be in the thousands.

5. Shorten your event. Time is money and your guest will eat less, drink less and many venues and vendors will have reduced rates for shorter time frames.

6. Make a trade. Bartering is back and many savy hosts are offering trades in place of cash. What’s your skill? Offer your talents in advertising, graphic design, accounting, etc. as a trade for services.

7. Share services by reaching out to other groups in the same venue. Large venues often time have multiple event and working out deals to share AV technicians, event décor, even reusing flowers will cut costs by splitting expenses.

8. Get Creative. Search your office, attics and homes for items to use for event décor. Were vases purchased for last year’s centerpieces? Recycle these in a new way and create a new look.

9. Two Birds, One Stone. For instance if planning a fundraiser for literacy awareness, have volunteers raid their personal libraries for books they are finished with. Stacking a few volumes, will work as instance centerpieces and then can be given away as favors to guests following the event. This also works great for weddings when you can reuse ceremony flowers at the reception.

10. Hire an up and comer. Without a long list of credentials, you can save big. Students and new graduates can be great resources for inexpensive musicians, event designers and florists. A word of caution… ask for references.

11. Think Seasonal. Food and Flowers are both common elements in every event and of you keep with the season, savings will follow. It is the basics of supply and demand… the more you have of something the less it costs. The trick is to get creative with presentation, so as not to showcase tired looks of seasonal tastes.

12. Save money on postage for invitations using online event registration and e-vites. Also consider forgoing return RVSP cards for phone or website registrations.

13. Use the holidays. Many restaurants, clubs and other venues decorate for the holidays. Hosting you festivities at these locations will save you from costly décor.


14. Ask the Experts. Your location, florist, caterer and entertainment team know how to save you better than anyone, without sacrificing guest impact, so ask!

15. Be flexible with your date. You can save big hosting an event during an off season (Like Jan or Feb) or host your event during the work week when venue rental fees and minimums are less.

The best advice I can give to prioritize the most important elements of you event and then make your cuts appropriately. By better understanding what matters most, you will reduce impulsive purchases in areas that are not as important. Spend your budget on the pieces that ensure you vision comes to life and you will save money everywhere else. I would love to hear tips on how you saved big when planning an event… leave your tips to savings as a comment.

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