How to Budget for an Event

For an event planner, the budgeting process can quickly become overwhelming. Although a well-planned budget takes time to create and manage, it can mean the difference between success or failure. From booking the venue to hiring the catering company, there are a lot of expenses to consider! That's why it's so important to follow a detailed budget planning process and track the actual costs of your spending.

In short, to make a comprehensive event budget, you need to list all the possible event expenses and revenues, while keeping your cash flow in mind. Tracking and regularly reviewing your budget is essential to make sure you have a successful event. In this guide, we’ll show you how to approach your budget – from high-level principles to choosing an event management software to help you keep track of things – so you can worry less about money and focus on event success!

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For an Event Budget, Proper Planning is Key

The first step in creating a budget to support your event planning is to make a list of all the possible expenses. This might include anything from the cost of the venue to catering and audio/visual equipment. Once you have a comprehensive list, you can start estimating the cost of each item.

It's also important to think about how you will generate revenue for your event. Will you be charging admission? Selling tickets to a VIP after-party? Make sure to factor in these potential sources of income when budgeting for your event.

Once you have a good idea of all the costs and revenues associated with your event, it's time to start tracking your spending. This will help you stay on budget and avoid any surprises down the line. There are a number of ways to track your event budget, but we recommend using a dedicated event management software, rather than spreadsheet or accounting software. This way, you can easily see all the moving parts in the process and make adjustments when necessary.


Types of Spending in an Event Budget

Event budget expenses can be separated into two main types of spending: fixed and variable costs. Fixed costs are expenses that don't change regardless of how many people attend your event. This might include the cost of the venue, event technology needs (hiring A/V equipment), or catering costs. Variable costs, on the other hand, increase or decrease depending on the number of attendees. Things like food and drink, extra security, or on-site staff fall into this category.

It's important to keep both types of costs in mind when it comes to your actual budget. You don't want to end up in a situation where you're losing money because not enough people showed up!

To avoid this, we recommend building a contingency fund into your budget. This is an amount of money set aside to cover unexpected costs or lower-than-expected revenues. A good rule of thumb is to set aside about 20% of your total budget for contingencies.

From Categories to Line Items

One way to break down your event budget is to group expenses into high-level categories. This will give you a broad overview of how your money is being spent. Some common high-level categories include:

Within each of these categories, you can further break down your expenses into more specific items. For example, within the category of "Venue," you might have separate line items for the cost of renting the space and paying for insurance. This level of detail will be helpful when it comes time to track your spending.

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Some potential sources of revenue for events include ticket sales, sponsorships, and advertising. By leveraging these sources, you can help cover the costs of putting on your event.

Ticket Sales

Charging an admission fee is a common way to generate revenue for events. You can set the price at whatever level you feel comfortable with, but we recommend pricing tickets so that you make a profit after covering all of your costs.


Sponsorships are another great way to bring in money for your event. A sponsorship can be in the form of cash or in-kind donations, and it often comes with a number of benefits for the sponsor.


Advertising is a great way to generate revenue while also promoting your event. You can sell ad space in your event program, on your website, or even on physical signage at the event itself.


Event Management Software Solutions for Event Planners

There are a variety of software solutions available to help draft a budget, but for event planners, it’s best to go with dedicated event planning software because its features and functionality are specifically designed with the entire event lifecycle in mind.

EventPro’s event management software has the integrated functionality of multiple programs so that all the features you need are easy accessible, including:


Budgeting is Fundamental to Event Success

The event planning process can seem daunting, especially when it comes to event budgeting, but it is essential for the event's success.

As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts involved in any event budget, which is why it is so helpful to use specialized event management software to create an event budget. Instead of fumbling around with generic software, the tools you can get from EventPro can help you with all aspects of planning future events, whether an in-person event or virtual event.

Contact EventPro to request a free demo!

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