31 Days to an Awesome Party: The Party Budget (Day Four)

For a complete list of the topics in this series, go here.

The Party Budget ~ Day 4

Throwing a great party can be expensive, but it is nothing to go into debt over.  I love throwing a fun and creative party, but I don’t like absurd costs.  Having a budget is simply a strategy for keeping your costs reasonable and calculated.  With a budget, you will not only save money (let’s face it, sometimes a cap is good), but you won’t break the proverbial bank.

Party budgets vary as much as the type of event you’re throwing.  When I think back through all the events I have planned, the costs vary whether we’re talking showers, birthday parties or even themed family parties for no reason at all.

For the party you are working on, have you figured out how much you want to spend?  If you are planning a shower or formal event with a group of people, you may be working within a budget (see below for group events).  Or maybe you are planning on your own and will have the freedom and fun to plan your party without the constraints of a budget.  A girl can dream . . .

But let’s assume that you have a budget.  What should you think of?

Your Budget Categories May Include:
* Food
* Drinks
* Decorations
* Tablewares
* Entertainment
* Props for Games/Activities & Prizes
* Invitations & Postage
* Cake
* Favors
* Your Gift

Set Your Budget & Stick With It
When I’m throwing a party (excluding showers and formal events), I allow the food expense to fall into my monthly budgeting for groceries and plan accordingly.  I know what my cap is for decorations.  I plan on a certain dollar amount for favors based on a per person price and I usually make my invitations.  If I have a budget set, I keep to it.

Choose What is Most Important To You and Spend More Money There.  When I was a wedding planner, I used to ask each bride what were their three most important categories of the wedding.  Some said the dress, flowers and food.  Others selected entertainment, decor and the ceremony.  Answers varied.  But what we did when planning their budget was to pour more money into those favored categories and cut back on others.

Apply this technique to your party and you might be making your invitations to save money and spending more on great appetizers.  Maybe you will increase the amount allotted for decor and cut favors.  What fits you and your party?

Ideas for Budgeting with Group Sponsored Parties:  If you are throwing a bridal or baby shower with a collaborative group, decide ahead of time how you will split up the expenses.  There are two logical ways to share the expense.  1.  Have everyone turn in their receipts and after the event, determine the equal shares.  2.  Let people choose what area of the party they would like to take on and pay for that.  One person takes decor, one favors, a couple take food.  This way works better when you have one individual who would like to pick up most of the tab for a category like food.

Next in the series, we’ll be talking about 10 ways to Cut Your Party Costs.

Assignment:  Determine your party budget.  How much do you want to spend?  How much should you spend?  Choose what are your most important categories.  Be realistic and reasonable then divide up the money into categories.