Staying within budget can be one of the biggest challenges when event planning. You thought you gave yourself extra room, but all the little knick-knacks and special extras add up and can often surprise you with a big price tag. Don’t fret and let budgets take away from the excitement.
There are tons of simple ways to cut costs that give you big results come payment time without forcing you into leaving out certain aesthetics. Here are ways to cut down on costs from cocktails to cake.
Nix the sit down dinner.
The extra costs associated with a formal sit-down can severely add up quickly. A sit down dinner requires servers, bigger portions of dishes, and more kitchen staff on board for execution. Guests want to spend time mingling, dancing, and drinking anyway, and requiring a long and drawn out dinner service can take away from the fun. Buffet style can usually be more cost-effective than formal, sit-down service, saving approximately 20 to 30 percent. Guests can catch up while serving themselves, and let them choose what they want from a more concise array of dishes.
If you decide to serve passed hors d’oeuvres instead of a full menu, guests will not be occupying the table for that long, so there is no need for extravagant center pieces and décor. Focus your arrangements where people will really appreciate them, like around the dance floor and during cocktail hour. Big and tall floral can start at $150 each and are too big and bulky anyway, often getting in the way of guests conversations. Keep it small and elegant and put costs towards your favorite décor.
There are dozens of freelance photographers out there that will give reasonable prices for friends of friends. Ask around and find someone who has a photography background and see where their price range is. This is also where social media can be a big help. Ask friends to take as many pictures as possible using a hashtag you created for your event, and create a photo log that way. Only use a photographer for pre party photos and leave the mid-event pictures to the guests!
By the time desserts start being passed around, guests are usually too busy dancing and having fun to sit down and truly enjoy that piece of cake, you basically spent an arm and a leg on. Try a candy bar, with various candy options that allows guests to pick and choose what they want when they want. Have sour, sweet, and chocolate variations in addition to the cake. Chocolate fountains are so 2010 anyway. For cake flavors, stick to traditional flavors like vanilla, chocolate, key lime and lemon tend to cost less than ref velvet and carrot cake. Opt for buttercream over fondant for frosting and save up to $1 per slice.
A cash bar is a big no-no, but that doesn’t mean you have to serve top shelf liquor to your guests. See what house liquors your venue offers, which can really cut down on drink packages, and no one will taste the difference. If you still want to save more, have a cocktail hour serving two three drinks. After an allotted cocktail hour, it is total acceptable to switch over to just beer and wine. Guests can still drink for free and it won’t leave your wallet wet with drink costs.