Event Planners: How to Create an Event Budget

Event planners always want to put on successful events. One part of creating successful events involves creating an event budget. Today we’re going to look at the basics of event budget planning. 

You’ll also learn why creating an event budget early in the planning process, tracking expenses throughout, and creating a contingency fund for unexpected costs that may come up is so important. 

Whether you’re planning an in-person event, a virtual event, or a hybrid event, our budgeting tips can help ensure your next event stays on track financially.

Getting Started With An Event Budget

Event budgeting can be complicated. It’s best to start estimating and planning your budget as soon as possible during the event planning process. Hopefully, you already created a high-level event plan for your event. After you have that done, you’ll then want to start working on the budget. 

The first step to creating a solid event budget is to determine your event’s expected expenses and revenue. This involves figuring out what kind of costs your event is expected to have. When figuring out your budget, factor in a contingency budget so you can plan for any unexpected costs that might pop up. (And there are always some unexpected expenses that come up.) 

Outdoor events offer a lot of options for sponsorship signage

The budget should also include any profits you plan to make from ticket sales or sponsorships that you sell. This should also include money you get from your company to put on the event or from other sources — like donations if you’re a non-profit organization.

Once you have figured out the expenses and revenue items, put those items into categories. Then you need to break the budget down into individual cost categories and figure out how much you should put as an expense for each category. Here’s a list of some of the most common cost categories: 

  • Venue costs
  • Catering costs
  • Entertainment expenses (like live music or DJs)
  • Audio-visual equipment rentals (including projectors, lights, and sound systems) or hiring a production company to manage the A/V for your event
  • Decorations and signage materials
  • Staff salaries (if applicable)
  • Labor costs
  • Event marketing costs and promotional expenses (including any advertising) 
  • Miscellaneous expenses like printing or parking costs

For larger events or multiple-day events, you might also need to factor in travel and hotel accommodations for speakers, performers, and their staff. 

It’s important to remember that small details are essential when budgeting. Always double-check your numbers before “finalizing” your event budget. Be sure to research quotes online to get an idea of the typical rates in your area (or in the location where the event is being held) and adjust your event budget as needed. And remember to include after-event expenses like clean-up fees or payments that may be due after the event is over. 

Budgeting For Your Event Location

When budget planning for an event, selecting the right location is key. And the event venue is probably the biggest budget consideration you have to worry about. You want to start looking for venues as soon as you can. When deciding on a venue, there are many factors to consider, including venue rental fees, service fees, catering options, what type of rooms they have available, whether or not they have enough room for your required A/V equipment and staff, is it large enough for your expected attendees, insurance requirements, permits, accessibility as well as other considerations. 

Also, think about how convenient the location is when deciding on a good spot for your event. Is there ample parking nearby? Is public transportation available? How far away are local hotels and restaurants? Having a great time at your event is important, so answering these questions ahead of time can guarantee that you pick the right venue for your guests.

Indoor venues are preferred for large group dining at corporate events to ensure meals are served and enjoyed at a controlled temperature

The price of renting a venue will vary depending on the size and sort of event you’re having. For example, corporate events typically require more square footage. Larger venues may come with additional costs like security employees or cleaning services. It’s important to factor these extra costs into your event budget if you choose a venue that has these extra items attached.

A Note About Venue Insurance and Permits

Depending on the type of event you’re having, you may need special insurance coverage to rent certain spaces. Venues often require proof of liability insurance before you’re able to book an event in the facility, so it’s important to make sure that you have the proper insurance ahead of time if needed. (That’s why the event planning process should begin as soon as possible — and so should the budget planning!)

Some locations also require special permits or licenses for certain types of events – particularly if the events involve alcohol or live entertainment, like concerts or festivals. So it’s essential that you have all the necessary paperwork filled out before signing on the dotted line with the venue for your event.


Ordering food is an essential component of almost every event. It’s important to research the catering options available and estimate costs for food, beverages, staff, and food-related rentals.

When researching catering companies, it’s important to get quotes from multiple vendors (or does the venue require you to use their catering service?) This will help you compare prices as well as services offered by each vendor. Make sure that you ask each potential caterer about their experience in providing catering services for events like yours. Additionally, check out reviews online or ask friends or colleagues who have used a particular caterer before making your final decision.

Once you’ve identified a caterer that meets your needs and budget, create a catering-related itemized list of what is necessary for the event. This should include food items, beverages (non-alcoholic/alcoholic), snacks, appetizers, condiments, utensils, table linens and napkins, and glasses and serving dishes. 


PRO TIP: Don’t overdo the DIY to cut costs! Professional catering displays, like this beautiful salad bar display from HyVee, can elevate the overall event experience for attendees.


Professional catering displays make a big difference in enhancing the event experience

Remember to factor in additional expenses like any taxes or tips for servers if they are being hired separately from the caterers. 

When it comes to catering, it’s important to consider not only cost but also quality when selecting food items. Make sure you have food available for everyone at your event, including vegetarians or those with dietary restrictions such as allergies. 


If your event calls for entertainment, it’s important to factor that into your budget. Typically live bands and DJs are the go-to entertainment for events.

Live music is a popular type of entertainment. Whether you choose a cover band or an original artist, hiring musicians means that your guests will be able to dance and sing the night away. 

Make sure to rent or hire a company to bring in sound equipment if you’re planning on having live music. This includes speakers, mixers, microphones, cables, stands, etc., as well as any other necessary audio/visual equipment like projectors or screens for visuals during performances.

Events like corporate celebrations, fundraisers, and conferences need live entertainment like this four piece band.

DJs can also be great entertainment at events by playing a variety of genres, from hip-hop to country. They’ll be able to interact with guests to keep them entertained throughout the night. Again, make sure that you’ve got quality sound equipment ready before booking a DJ so they can set up properly without any issues when they arrive at the event venue.

Audio Visual Equipment

Moving on to audio-visual equipment, it is important to consider the cost of renting and setting up any necessary A/V equipment for your event. Audio-visual equipment is a critical component for any event. The success of an event is dependent on the quality of the A/V equipment, and you really need to give this thorough consideration. 

The first step in deciding on audio-visual equipment is determining what equipment is necessary for your event. This could include projectors, screens, microphones, sound systems, video cameras or other items depending on your event’s specific needs. Once you have determined what type of equipment you need, it’s time to start looking into rental companies that offer these services.

When choosing a rental company, there are several factors to consider, including cost per item/hourly rate, availability, online reviews, and more. 

In the long run, it might be better to talk to an event production company to see if you could hire them to handle all of the A/V equipment management for you. Hiring an event production company can take a huge load off of your event planning mind and make the event run much smoother. Plus, if you pick the right A/V company, they can also help with video production, like creating videos for use during the event, filming the event itself, plus handling any video editing and post-production services like music licensing. 

Live Streaming

Live streaming is popular for events because it lets people attend from virtually anywhere in the world. When budgeting for an event that includes live streaming, there are several things you need to consider.

The first thing you will need to decide is which streaming platform you want to use. There are a variety of options available, like Zoom, YouTube Live and Facebook Live — they all have different features and costs associated with them.

You should research each one carefully before making your decision so that you can get the best value for your money. 

Live streaming any live event allows a broader reach for event organizers to gain more attendees and connect in-person attendees to virtual attendees, like this conference photo

 You will also need additional equipment like several cameras and microphones to stream properly. Make sure that these items are included in your budget when planning out expenses related to live streaming.

It’s also important that the venue you’re at has a reliable internet connection – that is essential for successful live streams. If possible, try and find a venue with good internet speeds so that viewers don’t experience any buffering or lag time during the live stream broadcast.

Unless you plan on doing everything yourself (which isn’t recommended!), it’s worth hiring a professional team to set up and run the live stream portion of your event – especially if it involves complex technical elements like live switching between multiple camera angles or audio mixing between multiple sources, etc.

And don’t forget the live streaming advertising costs in your budget! Promoting your live stream ahead of time helps ensure more people tune in to watch it. You can promote the live stream through social media campaigns, email blasts, paid-for ads, etc. Just make sure these promotional efforts are factored into your overall event budget, too.

Once all these factors have been taken into account – including any unexpected costs along the way – then comes time to create an estimated budget for streaming based on the costs you have identified. 

You Got This!

Creating an event budget may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be with the proper information and preparation. It’s important to consider all expenses when creating your event budget including location, catering, entertainment, audio-visual equipment, live streaming, etc. 

Having a well-thought-out plan for each of these items will ensure that you stay within your allocated funds while still achieving the desired results for your event. With proper research and preparation, you’ll be able to create an effective event budget that allows for maximum success.

Let Wired Production Group help you create an event plan to help meet your needs. Our experienced team of event production professionals will ensure the success of your event and provide cost-effective solutions to maximize its impact.