By Katie Herritage, CMM, CMP, CSEP
When was the last time you had a completely unlimited budget to plan a spectacular event? I would be willing bet $100 the majority of you just smiled and said “Never.” The reality is event planners and marketing teams produce amazing awe-inspiring events every day by making frugal decisions on where best to allocate funding to make the most impact for guests and to achieve the business goals of the event. This can be an extremely daunting task, but it does not have to be.
A few years ago, I found myself in the midst of planning a holiday party for 700 people in the Washington, DC, area. I was given three weeks’ notice to plan the event and a budget of $50,000. When I began, I thought “This is easy! No problem. I’ll call so and so and have this done in no time.”
Unfortunately, after calling many of the local venues, I discovered that there was no availability, or where there was availability, the food and beverage minimums far exceeded $75,000. Within a single day my outlook on the event changed completely and I shifted into mission mode. Planning this event required imagination, resourcefulness, and incredible budgeting skills. Ultimately, I executed what guests (and my clients) perceived as a remarkable event, all for less than $45,000—including taxes, service fees, and gratuities. Continue reading