See that number?
That is the amount of your budget that you are allowed to spend on your venue. Not 51%.
In party planning, we often see our clients (and the clients that no longer have the budget to afford a party planner….or anything else) get remorseful when they realize that they have spent over 50% of their budget on the venue. Foolishly thinking that they will be able to cut back on literally everything else, the client puts down the deposit for the venue in which 4-5 hours of the entire day will take place.
Then they travel from vendor to vendor (including party planners aka us) and have that “uh-oh” moment. It goes like this:
“Uh-oh, everything costs HOW much??”
Now, you have this beautiful venue, congrats. How do you pay to decorate it? What money are you using to take photographs and video of it? Will you be robbing a bank to afford a planner to come in and find everything for you at rock bottom costs because you just spent everything you had on a room to dance in? Who is available at the lowest cost to provide said music to dance to?
We know planning a party is exciting. That’s why we do what we do. However, you have to take a minute and come back down to planet Earth. After the initial “OMG yay, it’s time to pick a date and plan a party and pin absolutely everything ever”, take a breath and lay out your budget.
$100,000 total to spend? Great, your venue sees $50k or less. NOT A PENNY MORE. You will be very surprised to find out what everything costs, and that natural high you were just on will fade quickly and the planing process will become very stressful.
While I would prefer to be the first stop on the planning express (aka: come see me before you select a venue please), that isn’t always the case. Frequently, a client will come to my office and reveal where their party is taking place. Odds are, I will know what the venue costs, and I will want to discuss your overall budget and what your vision is for the day. It will boggle my mind (and the photographers/bands/djs/florists/etc. you’re interviewing) if you try to nickle and dime and imply that my pricing is out of your budget. You know what is out of your budget? Your venue.
You have now spent yourself right out of those top notch vendors that you probably wanted.
Uh-oh. All aboard the train to “have to settle-ville”.
We do not believe that a party should throw anyone into debt. You should put together a budget and stick with it. That said, if you have 50% of your budget to spend on everything else once your venue is selected, you have a very good shot at getting those vendors that you want for party day. You have a chance of even having some money left over which you can then put back into your venue or caterer for that all sushi and seafood hour you originally didn’t pay for.
The easiest way to do this (besides coming directly to my office when you’re ready to get started) is to figure out your budget, cut the number in half, and figure out what the “per person” cost will be. Do not step foot into venues that are over that per person rate and make sure you have factored in tax and service (that’s 7% and 20-22% in New Jersey) for your final number.
Hint hint: I know what venues are $90 per person and what venues are $300 per person. Just like I won’t allow my brides to try on dresses that are outside of their budget, I will not recommend a venue that they cannot afford either. That’s just mean.
So there you have it. 50% is your magical number. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.