How to Create an Event Budget

Struggling to calculate the costs of your event? Daunted at the prospect of presenting your client with an inaccurate cost estimate for their event/production? The following module on Event Management Budgeting will clearly identify the stages involved in creating an accurate budget for your event. 

Learning Objective 1:

The 4 sub-units involved in creating an event budget are:

There are typically 4 sub-units involved in the planning of a budget for an event. The below diagram illustrates the 4 sub-units and some of the components involved therein:

Diagram 1: The 4 sub-units of an event budget

Venue hire: this includes the costs of hiring the chosen venue (may include basic hiring costs i.e. of furniture etc.)



Food & Beverage: this includes menu item costs as well as beverages.



Hiring costs: this may cover any additional hiring components not included in the venue hire, i.e. tables/chair/crockery & glassware/candlestick etc.




Staffing costs: this includes the cost of waiters/ barmen/setup staff etc.


  • Venue hire, Entertainment, Guests Gifts and Staffing.
  • Venue hire, Food & Beverage, Hiring and Staffing
  • Entertainment, Transportation, Venue Hire and Food & Beverage
  • Guest Gifts, Food & Beverage, Hiring and Staffing

Learning Objective 2:

List the 8 stages involved in creating a complete event budget?

Once you have completed the above assessment, here’s how to finalise the details for the complete budget. The budgeting process can also be summarised in 8 stages:

  1. Track site rental costs.  Track all projected rental fees for the event and function space.
  2. Estimate catering costs. This includes all food and beverage charges, including gratuities.
  3. Add décor & hiring expenses.
  4. Document entertainment & equipment fees. Common expenses in this category include the A/V equipment, but it's also a good spot to list the hiring of entertainers.
  5. Post other expenses. If an expense doesn't fall into any of the above categories, list them as a miscellaneous expense item here, i.e. gifts
  6. Give yourself a contingency fund category. You may want to give yourself as much as up to 20% of the event budget here.
  7. Summarize projected expenses. As you build your event program, you will have a good projection of the total expenses. This is the information that is shared with the client.
  8. Summarize actual expenses. This happens after the event has concluded. Subtotal the invoices into the above categories and document the actual budget.