By Sherri Foxman of Party411.com
Here are some simple ideas to help you try and stay within your budget:
1. Sit with your planner or find a sample budget online, and make a spreadsheet of your projected expenses based on your number of guests. Without a detailed budget, you could soon be out of control.
2. Cut your guest list. If budget is an issue, remember that each person represents from $50-$200 and more in today’s world. Make your list and then start cutting if you have exceeded your limit.
3. Watch out for hidden costs. Make sure when working with your vendors that all prices are inclusive or as I say, “out the door.” The line “plus labor, rentals, sales tax, etc.” can quickly add to your budget.
4. Stay on top of your RSVPs. People tend to forget that every time they add a table of 6-10 guests, they add a table linen, napkins, a centerpiece, dessert candy, more food, more rentals, more labor and so on and so forth. When the final bill arrives, you have “sticker shock” and lingering disbelief regarding how the initial quote was exceeded.
And things you can do to save costs:
5. Host a luncheon event instead of a dinner event. A luncheon is usually much less expensive (the room, the entertainment, etc.), there are more available facilities, and your bar bill will be considerably less!
6. Use open seating (let friends sit where they may, and reserve a table or two for family center stage!) or have what we call a move-around party. Seating cards can be costly – especially if you have 100 or more guests. Plus, with a move-around party with different stations, you need fewer tables. Nowhere is it written everyone needs a seat. In fact, the kids rarely sit down at all.
7. Create centerpieces that double as favors. For example, for a Chanukah Bat Mitzvah last year, we filled different sized boxes with candy, wrapped them with Chanukah paper, made a tower out of the 8 boxes, put a beautiful bow on top and tied off fabulous balloons. A table tent told guests to dismantle the centerpiece and to each take a box of chocolate. We not only saved the client money on favors, but we also cut their budget because they didn’t need dessert chocolates on each table. We’ve also done this with coffee mugs and other gift items.
8. Use what the facility has available. Get a list from your venue of what they have on hand: linens and colors, staging, lighting, sound equipment and more. Using what is available could cut your budget dramatically. Remember to consider all of these things when making your final location choice.
9. Close the bar during dinner. Some hosts choose to close the bar during dinner and pass wine instead. The bar can reopen after the candle lighting/memory video and or speeches if you choose.
10. Feed the kids something different than the adults. The kids are active, rarely sit as previously mentioned and certainly are more satisfied with less fanfare than the adults. A word to the wise, however: old standbys like chicken fingers and plain pizza just don’t fly anymore, so tell your caterer to get creative!
Thank you for such wonderful advice, Sherri! For more information on how Party411.com can help with your Mitvah planning, check out their unique Vendor Directory profile page.