Top 5 Budgeting Hacks to Cut Your Event Costs in Half

Planning an event can be an artistic collaboration of artists and vendors. Everything you see at an event, whether it’s a wedding, corporate party, or charity, has been carefully and strategically planned down to the last detail. The costs can add up pretty quickly if you aren’t careful. If you’re struggling to stay within your budget, here are 5 budgeting hacks that can easily cut down your costs without sacrificing on quality.

#1: If It’s Alive, Go Local

The word local often carries connotations of luxury, quality, and fine craftsmanship. While locally made products are more ethical and sustainable, the cost of labour is higher, which makes drives up the price tag. That’s true for almost anything except for flowers and seasonal produce. If you don’t have to order your centrepieces from the Netherlands or Mexico, you’ll save yourself a pretty penny. There are many local florists and distributors who provide beautiful, sustainable, and even organic flowers at a fraction of the costs.

#2: Ditch The Sit-Down Dinner

Every piece of cutlery, every plate, napkin, chair, table, and place setting is going to cost money, not to mention the cost of shipping it and setting it up. Depending on the nature of your event, consider getting rid of the traditional sit-down meal altogether, and replace it with a cost-cutting buffet-style food station. Setting up stations around your venue gives people the freedom to move around and choose what they want to eat. It’s also so much cheaper to serve food this way. If you don’t want to skip servers entirely, pass the appetizers around while the food stations are being set up.

#3: Hire Interns

Free labour doesn’t always mean poor labour. Believe it or not, there are plenty of people who would be more than willing to help out at your event for absolutely nothing. Students studying hospitality, baking, floral design, human resources, and tourism are always looking for events to practice their skills, earn school credits, beef up their resumes, and gain experience. The difference between paying someone very little and not paying them at all is that every volunteer who applies to work at your event wants to be there. Let’s say you have to hire 20 workers at $15/hour for a 5-hour event, you’d be saving over $1500.

#4: Rethink Your Alcohol Strategy

Alcohol continues to be one of the highest costs of any event. The more bells and whistles that are added to the price of liquor, the higher your premiums will go. Many couples and companies are saving tons of money by thinking of innovative and trendy ways to save on alcohol expenses. You don’t have to bring an entire cocktail lounge to your event to make people happy. Sometimes an event can call for beer, wine, and a signature cocktail that requires only two or three ingredients. Buying a few items in bulk is cheaper than buying several single bottles of obscure liqueurs. Plus, working with your caterer to come up with a signature cocktail menu adds a touch of class to your event.

Tip: You can offset the cost of your booze by asking an alcohol brand to sponsor your event.

#5: Be Flexible

One of biggest reasons your event is costing you a pretty penny is that you refuse to budge. Your inflexibility can easily eat away at your budget, especially if a perfectly good alternative is available to you at a cheaper price. Being flexible means that you’ll sometimes take what you’re given even if it wasn’t what you initially planned for because it’s more readily available. Plus, flexibility allows you to more easily adapt to unexpected situations.  

BONUS: Learn to Barter

Trust us, the barter system isn’t dead. Don’t take anything at face value. In this industry, vendors aren’t strangers to negotiating. Never hesitate to ask for a deal or to offer services in kind instead of cash. The worst that can happen is the vendor will say no. Business trade-offs are often the easiest way to get a (sort of) free service. If you offer to pay cash, many people will agree to cut the tax, which can easily save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.


Working with a local event planner is a smart, stress-free way to ensure you’re getting the most for your dollar. STORI Events has worked with vendors all over the GTA and can help you budget your event to suit your financial needs. Contact STORI Events today.

Gen Morrison