Event Planning, Tips

6 Ways To Cut Expenses When Planning An Event

July 16, 2015

In our previous blog, we discussed how to save money when you are booking a venue; however, in today’s blog,VenueCenter would like to give you some tips on how to trim the budget of your actual event.

According to statistics, couples in DallasHouston and Austin spend approximately $20,000 to $35,000 for weddings. Additionally, on average, couples spend about $11,000 just for their wedding venue in those cities.  People spend lots of money not only on wedding venues, but on other event venues such as for birthday parties and corporate events as well.  Although hosting an event can be costly, there are a couple of ways to cut the budget of your event without sacrificing quality.

  1. Look For Venues That Allow You To BYOB

We have all been to a cash bar at an event and thought to ourselves “$10 for a beer. WTF? I could have bought a 6 pack for that price!”  Well consider this, on average, your guests are going to have approximately 2 drinks per hour (i.e. $20 per hour/ per person). As you can see, this figure can easily get out of hand, so as an alternative, you find a venue with a BYOB policy.  Most BYOB venues will require that you hire a bartender certified by your state’s alcohol licensing board. A BYOB venue can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Sidenote: Even if a venue does not require you to have a certified bartender, VenueCenter suggests that you hire one for two reasons: (i) certified bartenders know the laws and regulations related to serving patrons and (ii) the ambiance of an event is much more elegant with someone serving drinks.  A bartender will allow you to sit back, relax and enjoy your event, while your guests enjoy their favorite libations.

Outside Catering

  1. Find A Venue That Allows Outside Catering

We have all been to a company banquet, wedding or luncheon that serves the “standard” banquet meal (a plate of chicken or beef, potatoes, and under or over cooked green beans or broccoli.  No one loves the “standard” event meal and at an average of $30 per person, who wants to serve a “blah” meal. By finding a venue that allows outside catering, you can break away from traditional banquet food, compare prices of different catering companies and pick the best cuisine suited for your event and budget.

Sidenote: When shopping for vendors, try and be as vague as possible and refer to your event simply as a ‘celebration.’ Prices tend to rise when you mention “weddings,” “corporate events” or anything with “baby” in it. We are only partially kidding here.


Outside Food



  1. Opt For Buffet Style Over A Plated Dinner

For venues that do not allow outside catering, opting for a buffet style dinner over a plated dinner will typically save money.

Sidenote: Even if the venue does not require you to have servers for buffet style dinners, hire one.  Professional staff will give your event a more elegant feel.


  1. Create Centerpieces Yourself

Venues and vendors do a really good job of selling table centerpieces. Centerpieces can add the right amount of glitz and allow your event to look truly breathtaking. Flower centerpieces always look great on tables, but be careful, centerpieces are deceitful and once the clock strikes midnight and the event is over, they turn into Cinderella with no slipper.  A quick way to reduce this cost, is to create some of the centerpieces yourself. You can do this for pennies on the dollar. Get a see-through vase, add (i) water, fruit, marbles, or shiny stones and (ii) flowers (plastic or real), and you are done.

Sidenote: Can you tell which of the two centerpieces pictured above was DIY? Probably not and that’s good, because I am not telling.



  1. Use Electronic Invitations (Evite, Paperless Post, etc.)

With the digitilization of our lives and schedules, an electronic invitation is not only a cheaper alternative to traditional invitations ($2 per invitation for snail mail vs. FREE for electronic invitations), but it also a faster and more effective way to send invitations. On the receiving end, you open an email, click RSVP, then add it to your outlook or Google calendar and you are done. Your computer will remind you about the event when it is approaching. From the host’s perspective, you send a mass email to your list of invitees and get real-time information as to whether or not your invitees are able to attend the event, therefore, giving you more time to forecast the expenses for your event.

Sidenote: If someone hassles you about being ‘cheap’ for sending an electronic invitation, tell them you are only trying to do your part for the environment by going green.


  1. Consider Creating A Playlist Via Spotify Or A Similar Music Platform

I know this, depending on the type of event, one of the most important factors in determining whether or not your event was a good or bad event, will be the entertainment (DJ or band).  Some DJ’s cost upwards of $1,000 for an event.  As an alternative to paying for a DJ, you could develop a playlist that matches the mood you want at your event. Let’s take a wedding for instance:  During the cocktail hour (or when the bride and groom are taking pictures), have one genre of music playing, then transition to the introduction of the wedding party, then to first dance, and then transition to party time. You can set your playlist to have different music for every transition point and portion of the vent.  One of your friends can even act as an MC.  Most people at the event will not be able to tell the difference, but your pocket book surely will! Let’s compare:  $12 for spotify (cancel once the event is over) v. $1000 for a DJ.

Sidenote: Depending on whether or not your venue has A/V equipment, you may have to rent speakers or other equipment, which will increase the cost slightly.

The 6 tips listed above will help you decrease the bottom line, while not sacrificing the quality of your event.

So whether you are looking for Fort Worth wedding venues or want to throw a pool party, we have you Covered! Let VenueCenter help you search for your Ideal.

Find Your Ideal Venue For Any Event

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