Budget Planning Tips for Social Events

When planning a social event, you first need to create a budget. Here are some helpful tips for getting and staying on track:

•  Create a budget and define what it is you want to accomplish with the event.

•  Envision what your event looks like and decide what elements are the most important. Ask yourself if you’ve been to an event that you’d like to mimic.

•  Determine what type of event you want (i.e.: lunch, dinner, reception) and what options you might include in relation to the number of guests.

•  Think about all of the elements early because all of the features add up fast…think about entertainment, décor, wedding dress/attire, flowers, favors, cake, gift bags, accommodations, transportation, ceremony fees invitations, hair and hake-up, photography/videography, service charges/tips and taxes.

•  Prioritize a list of to-do's.

•  Think about what you can do on your own to relieve some of the costs…for example: simple centerpieces, favors, etc. 

•  Have friends and family help where they can.

•  Research, Research, Research: Identify a useful event planning checklist, set realistic estimates for your ideal event, compare venues through menus/site fees/service charges and take into consideration things like free parking, access to freeway and proximity to airport.

•  Know your timelines for everything from deposits and payments and vendor deadlines, to key distribution dates.

•  Don’t lose your vision by compromising quality.

•  Be open to other ideas in order to remain within your budget.

•  Try to be flexible on things like day of the week, time of day, time of year and menu so you can stay within your budget.

•  Remember when planning a social event you are often celebrating a special occasion, so make sure to have some fun!

Mary P. Clay
Director of Catering/Convention Services
Hyatt Regency Santa Clara

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