I want to go ahead and preface everything I’m about to say with one thing: this is not just for planning an event budget. This is for planning an event budget that will include entertainment.
What are the costs for your next event?
Let’s think through as many things as possible.
All of these are important. But more importantly than all of those put together is the “P” word…PRIORITIES!!
Before you spend one dollar…
Ask yourself the most important question you can ask before embarking on this event planning journey:
What do I want people talking about after this event?
Another way to put that is: What do I want highlighted at this event? You might be surprised to know that most everything on that list will never be talked about, no matter how much money you spend. I have performed at events of major Fortune 500 companies where Filet Mignon was served and never heard one person rave about the food. In the same way, I’ve never heard people say, “This alcohol is amazing!”, “The music the DJ played was the best part of the event!”, or “The decor made my whole night!”.
To be fair, in select venues, I’ve heard people speak highly about location of the event. But when I say select venues, I’m talking about venues that start at $25,000 a night.
You probably see what I’m building towards.
Say what you will, but if you’re having entertainment performing a show onstage, this will be the most talked about part of your event…good or bad.
It’s the only part of your event that is truly in the spotlight. A show onstage is the only part of your event that literally has no competition. Everything else on that list is in constant competition with, not only each other, but also the many conversations being had by your guests and attendees. However, a stage show is the only part of the evening where everything else freezes and all attention is directed to the exact same place at the exact same time by every single guest in the room.
Which corners can be cut?
Food: I’ve seen food budgets cut in half just by switching from steak to chicken. You have to trust me. In my 18 years of professional entertainment, I’ve learned one thing: people aren’t raving about the food.
Drinks: Open bars are nice, and if you’ve had them at your events, I don’t have to tell you anything. You already know that, depending on the size of your event, this can actually take half your budget. Give each person in the room one free drink. Heck, do two. After that, they’re paying for their own. You’ll save thousands, if not much more.
DJ: I’ve got no issues with DJs. However, I do have issues with something I just heard about. At a recent event I was hired for, the employees at the venue told me that the group from the previous week hired a DJ for the evening for $20,000. You read that right. Ready for the punchline? They said they couldn’t tell the difference between him and every other DJ they had seen in this venue. I’m not saying there wasn’t a difference. However, know what you’re getting. Many DJs out there are very reasonable.
Decorations: I can understand in rare cases that decor is very important. I’ve just seen instances in my career where literally almost an entire budget was spent on decor and not one person made a comment. Keep it simple.
Venue: It’s hard to find a corner to cut here. The only common way of getting a venue at a lower price is avoiding having your event on a weekend.
Remember the word…
Priorities. That’s it. I’m not saying cut out anything on this list or anything on your list. All I’m saying is, remember what people are going to be talking about when your event is over. Doesn’t it make sense that the most talked about part of your event should be the one you don’t cut corners on?