The most important step in any event planning process is to plan an event budget. If you’re an employee involved with event management in any way, estimating costs, allocating funds, and mastering your budget outline is an absolute must. 

Let’s dive deeper into budget planning and explore some must-know tools that will make the process both easier and more efficient. We’ll also cover how you can use Wrike to budget for your event with our ready-made event budget template. If you’re not already a Wrike user, you can start a free two-week trial, no credit card required. 

Why is event budget planning important?

Event budget planning is important because it prevents overspending. Good planning allows the team to measure their progress and identify areas to improve, so they can have the most successful event possible.

Budget planning helps event organizers work within their allocated budget without constantly requesting expense approvals. With an event budget, the entire team can keep track of costs related to their event and limit them to a certain amount. 

Within event marketing, there are many types of planners who coordinate to plan events and meetings. Some of these are corporate meeting planners, event planners, and third-party planners. Event budget planning will benefit them all. 

There are many different levels of budgeting that include full event budgets or subsegments, such as chair rentals. From a general budget for all events to a specific program for each event, it’s critical to keep track of all the predicted purchases associated with each one, so the planners can stay on budget. 

The purpose of an event also affects the budget. If the event aims to raise money, then sponsorships can provide a great deal of revenue, which you can account for in your budget. If the goal is to improve brand awareness, then attendee feedback is also an important metric to measuring event success, which may result in additional spending — like conducting a survey. If you use event budget planning, you can ensure that the cost doesn’t exceed the goal, no matter what it is. 

Last but not least, budget is also a vital component of event ROI. The budget can be used to determine how much revenue the event should generate or how much money it should cost. Without information about how much you can spend, it will be challenging to approve event plans or connect all of the money, time, and effort spent to any real results. 

How to create an event budget

Creating a budget can be overwhelming, especially if it involves handling a long list of expenses. But starting with the right template and establishing good event budget management practices can help you execute efficiently and create a higher likelihood of success.

Build a strong budget in less time by working through the following steps: 

1. Consider your “why”

Why are you planning this event? What does this event mean to your client? Before you start planning an event budget, consider your audience so you can understand the resources required to create an event they’ll love.

Since the budget will have a direct impact on spending, it needs to be clearly defined based on your goals and the type of event you're producing.

2. Look at related budgets

Your past events can help you create a budget for your next event. Look at old budgets or recurring monthly budgets and identify areas of improvement. For example, if you overspent on food during an event, you might want to cut back for the next one. 

3. Do your research

Examine the average budget for your chosen event type and audience. A budget for a small charity event will likely be more reserved than a budget for a highly anticipated corporate conference or party. Along those same lines, an audience of charitable donors may not be as invested in quality table linen rentals as an audience of industry executives, which will be one budget area you can save on.

4. Define the big picture

A good event plan should outline your goals and provide a basic idea of how you'll manage all of your finances. Mapping out all of your major expense categories can help you start estimating.

5. Fill in the blanks

This is when you’ll receive quotes, estimates, and pricing for your event budget line items. Get real data directly from the sources in order to accurately lay it all out. 

6. Get approval 

If someone needs to sign off on the budget, make sure you present the information in a way that will make sense to them. Once it’s approved, you can share it with the team. 

Key event planning expenses to consider

  • Venue plus valet, decor, and supplementary lighting
  • Speakers and sound equipment
  • Live music or DJs
  • Staff for both the event and catering
  • Signage, branding, and onsite advertising
  • Drinks, food, and snacks
  • Attendee safety and experience features
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Event technology
  • Transportation to and from the venue
  • Rental furniture
  • Event check-in software
  • Wages and fees associated with vendors

How to keep track of your event budget

It's important to keep track of your expenses so that you can make adjustments when needed. Doing so can help you identify areas of your budget that are not as bad as they seem. A paid project and budget management tool may be worth the time it takes to manually track it all. 

During the event planning process, make a note of all of your event-related accounts to keep track of how much money you spend. Also note which accounts it’s all coming from. This will help you get a better understanding of your cash flow. 

Also, group all of your expenses into a few categories so that you can easily identify which ones are costing you the most. 

Aside from spending on fixed expenses, make sure to set aside a portion of your income for other unexpected event expenses that may come up. Keep in mind that lowering your fixed event expenses, such as venue rental or insurance, can make a big impact on your budget.

Why use Wrike's event planning template to help with event budgeting?

Event planners typically use a variety of tools to manage their projects. Some of these include budgeting, task planning, and communication apps. With Wrike’s event planning template, event managers get all three in one. 

Wrike’s budgeting feature gives event planners the opportunity to easily organize and monitor their budgets throughout the entire timeline of their event. Here are a few features and budget-related tasks you can manage with Wrike’ event planning budget template:

1. Event calendar

Sync all your company events to one shared calendar. With this master calendar, you can select filters to view event tasks for a specific team or department, such as Marketing, for example.

2. Request forms

Forget chasing down stakeholders for event details and instead consolidate all requests in one place. With Wrike request forms, you can capture all the necessary details to start working on your event and assign out action items to the appropriate teammate immediately. What’s more is that our request form can be shared with external stakeholders and used as an event brief.

3. Gantt Chart view

Monitor your overall event timeline with our interactive Gantt chart view. Here, you can add milestones and due dates to keep your event on track. Should dates and deadlines change, you can easily drag and drop tasks and the dynamic timeline automatically adjusts all related work items and shares the updates with stakeholders. 

4. Event asset requests and vendors dashboard

​​Tired of losing file versions or misplacing vendor contact details? Bring your creative asset requests and vendors together to access the event info you need in one click.

5. Event management dashboard

In addition to asset requests and vendors, our event planning template also gives you access to a dashboard where you can track task statuses — including Not Started, Overdue, High Priority, and Unassigned — to ensure you hit your event deadlines. Think of it like a bird’s eye view look at all the tasks and their current state.

6. Custom Item Types

Not all projects are created equal, and events have their own unique terminology, so it makes sense to label the work accordingly. With Wrike Custom Item Types, you can manage your unique requirements with event terms you’re familiar with, such as Vendors, Assets, Brochures, and Booth Graphics.

Use the Wrike event management template for your next project

Event planning and budgeting is a complex process that requires a high level of planning and organization expertise. This template simplifies the work of event managers by providing a complete event management system that works seamlessly across various platforms. Not only that, Wrike's event planning template also streamlines budget-related tasks that hold teams accountable for managing expenses at every stage of the event.

Master your next event budget planning session by starting a Wrike free trial today.