Creating a Realistic Event Budget


Hosting an event in Toronto can mean a lot of different things to different people. Human resources may be thinking “Hooray! Opportunities for engagement!” while the finance department mutters something about quarterly projections and profit margins.Creating a Realistic Event Budget

To make sure people at all levels of the organization are on board with an event, it's important for every line item of the budget to be nailed down at the outset. If new expenses are added and the final budget keeps rising, you're going to have a hard time being taken seriously for a long while after the event is over. 

When planning your event budget, be sure to keep these helpful hints in mind. 

Items Every Event Budget Should Include

Every event is different and while you know the expected outcome of your event better than anyone else, every event budget should generally include allowances for the following:

  • Venue rental fees
  • Equipment rentals for tables and chairs – don't assume the venue provides everything!
  • A/V equipment rental and set-up (screens, microphones, WiFi, etc.)
  • Decorations that fit the event theme and your company's brand
  • Food and drinks and the necessary glasses, plates, utensils and napkins, etc.
  • Spectacular event entertainment
  • Transportation for attendees, especially important in a city like Toronto where many people commute from far away, and essential if alcohol served
  • Accommodations for out-of-town guests
  • Parting gifts for attendees
  • Licenses and permits


This list is just meant to get you started. You will have to customize it for the details of your specific event. 

Keep an Eye on the Guest List

When planning the guest list, remember that every extra person who attends the event will add to the cost. While you can generally assume that up to a third of invitees will decline and a further 10 percent of those who said yes will be unable to attend at the last minute, you won't know your exact numbers at the outset. You will have to budget for a full house and be happy about a surplus when all is said and done. 

Always Give Yourself a Soft Landing

No event budget is complete without a little extra padding.  Depending on the size and scale of your event, adding an extra 10-20 percent to the forecasted expenses will give enough room to manage any unexpected costs. Very few people in the finance department are going to be upset with you for coming in UNDER budget!

Hire an Event Planner

Professional event management companies do more than make sure they caterers show up on time. By leveraging existing relationships with venues, caterers, furniture rental companies, decorators and florists, an event planner can help you get the most out of every one of your event dollars. We can also draw on extensive experience to help you avoid unbudgeted expenses you might not have thought to ask about when trying to go it alone. 

Whether it's for staff, customers, partners or prospects, taking the time to get the budget right will help make sure the event your company hosts is remembered for its intended purposes and not the scarcity of hors d'oeuvres.