Planning a Corporate Event on a Budget

Planning a corporate event can be difficult, especially if you are working with a tight budget.  There is a lot to prepare for and while budgets are customary for any type of event, one of your biggest concerns may be how to pull off a successful event while not appearing too frugal.


Luckily, there are some really great tips and tricks for hosting a productive corporate event on a budget.  Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can plan a great event that leaves employees and guests happy, without breaking your company’s bank account.

Tracking Your Expenditures

The first step to planning a corporate event on a budget is to prepare beforehand how you will track all of the event’s costs.  There are many ways to go about this; it can be as simple as a flowchart outlining who is responsible for which task and their related expenditures or an Excel spreadsheet to record any costs you or your team encounter throughout the planning process.


This is especially important if you have multiple people assigned to the event planning process.  With several people tending to their designated tasks, the chances of running over budget increase significantly.  The main point is to use a budget tracker of some sort that is accessible to all of the people involved in the event planning process.  This way you can easily monitor all spending.

Here are some of the main costs you may want to include on your budget template:

  • Venue
  • Speakers, paid guests, and other entertainment
  • Printing for leaflets, hard copy presentations, or programs
  • Rental equipment (including projectors, sound system, staging, and internet access)
  • Decorations and furnishings
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Catering

Determine the Event’s Budget

Maybe your company has provided you with a set budget to work with, or perhaps corporate would like to see a list of approximate costs before making any budgeting decisions.  Whatever the case may be, understanding your budget before making any purchases or reservations will be the key to staying on track financially.

One thing you might want to establish before you decide on an approximate budget amount is the type of event you are hosting; is it an employee + one guest invitation, a pay at the door type event, or is the event sponsored?  Your budget will vary depending on the event type and will make a big difference as to how the finances are delegated.

Staying Within Budget

Here are some of the most essential things required to plan any corporate event and how you can easily stay within your company’s allotted budget without sacrificing quality.


Inviting your company’s employees is one of the most important tasks to handle.  After all, if no one knows about the event, no one will show up!

One of the best ways to save money on corporate event invitations is to create and send them online.  Although seemingly taboo, you can rest assured that this process is now accepted more than ever.

Digital invitations are easy to create and there are several websites providing ways to personalize them to suit your event’s theme.  Here are some popular sites that have budget-friendly corporate invitations to choose from.  In fact, some of these sites offer a free version so you can really save on your budget by keeping your invites simple.

Choosing a Venue

If your corporate event is going to be held offsite, then doing your research is going to help you stay within budget.  Here are some things to consider when choosing the perfect venue for your event:

  • Preferred dates (have a few in mind so you can price shop)
  • Room rates if hotel accommodations are required for your employees and their guests
  • The type and amount of event space needed
  • Reservation, deposit, and payment/cancellation procedures
  • Provided services and amenities and procedures for outside vendor services
  • Venue location

After finding a few possible venues, it is suggested you compile a Request For Proposal (RFP) for each, so you can weigh the pros and cons and get the best deal for your event.

Event Décor

One surefire way to help stay within your event’s budget is to save on decorations.  You could start by choosing an attractive venue that requires little extra décor.  Or, maybe pick a venue that includes decorations in its rental costs (if this makes sense financially – again, research is the key!).

Another way to save is to keep it simple and search for better prices.  Look for family-owned vendors that can create things such as floral arrangements and centerpieces for less.  Better yet, enlist the help of your co-workers to help decorate the space in a minimalistic way.


A beautiful looking setup can be achieved on a budget if you make use of all available resources and think outside-of-the-box.


It is commonly known that most party planners over-order when it comes to food.  Though it is normal to want to ensure there is enough food, by ordering too much not only do you waste food, but you waste finances as well.  This money could either be saved or used elsewhere in your event budget.

Try setting an approximate food budget and then reducing it by 10%.  This will generally leave plenty of food for the event and will save you lots of money in the long run.

Better yet, if you will be hosting your event in the Dulles, VA area, choose Cafesano to handle your corporate catering needs.  If you are catering on a budget and need flavorful and unique food for your corporate event, Cafesano Catering has you covered.


Cafesano Catering offers a perfect blend of Italian & Mediterranean menu items, convenient online ordering options, and will deliver straight to your Dulles corporate event.  Choose from an array of dishes ranging from lunch options, to light fare choices, all the way to full dinner options with main dishes and dessert.  No matter the type of corporate event you are planning (informal, team-building, or professional seminar) Cafesano’s corporate catering menu has affordable options to choose from.

Need help putting together your corporate catering menu?

Cafesano has catering coordinators standing by to help you make your event a success.  Their professional staff has experience with many types of corporate events so catering for your company will be a breeze!  Helping you create the perfect catered menu from fresh salads and wraps to grilled skewers and pasta, Cafesano’s coordinators will have selections sure to please everyone on your guest list.  They even offer specialized menu options for those who prefer vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Planning a corporate event takes more than just reserving a place and ordering some food.  It takes preparation and coordination and often comes with tight budget restrictions.

If you have been placed in charge of planning your company’s corporate event on a budget, have no fear.   Following the above-mentioned tips and tricks will have you staying within your company’s budget while pulling off the event of the year.

With a great looking venue, simple yet fabulous decorations, and delicious corporate catering from Dulles’s favorite Mediterranean catering services, your employees will surely be excited to attend future corporate events.



13 thoughts on “Planning a Corporate Event on a Budget

  1. Great tips! Sometimes, corporate events are the hardest to plan on such a small budget. An event like that is tough because it represents the face of your company. You want to make sure you don’t give off the wrong appealing factor that will end up turning someone away. These tips you have discussed really help prevent that from happening!

    • Thanks for your message Meagan! It’s always great to get feedback from event planning pros who see all of the highs and lows of planning a corporate event. Together, hopefully we can help business managers execute a productive corporate meeting (with delicious food!) that will keep the team asking “When’s the next meeting?!”

  2. Thank you for mentioning how you can hire vendors that can help you with decorating when hosting an event. It is important to remember that taking the time to look at online reviews can help you find the best person for the job and that can provide greater decoration. A friend of mine was talking about how he was in charge of their corp[orate event this year and wanted to make sure it was decorated properly, so I’ll share your page with him for some advice.

  3. Event party needs a theme. Successful corporate event party depends on various things such as quality food, venue, fun activities, entertainment etc where this blog covers most of these important topics. Good article.

  4. Hosting a successful corporate event requires a great deal of planning, proper allocation of resources, choosing the best people for individual assignments, and, of course, a budget that offers you ample freedom to execute your ideas.

  5. I like that you recommend setting a food budget and then lowering it by 10% when catering. You never want to run out of food and this will help you avoid this. Another great way is to ensure the company you choose has a good idea of how many you are feeding.

  6. I find it great that you suggested that business event planners should tally their expenses in a worksheet and also include a portion for the rental equipment. In my opinion, one should rent a sound system by a reputable local company as early as possible. That way, they can assure that every speaker will be heard loud and clear during a business dinner or an out-of-town retreat.

  7. Thanks for pointing out that if your corporate event is going to be held offsite, then doing your research is going to help you stay within budget. I think that it would be smart to look into event rentals or something like that where you could do an outdoor event in a party tent or something because I think that could help you stay in budget too. They could also probably help walk you through what else you would need to make the event go smoothly and that would be nice too.

  8. Thanks for explaining that having a few preferred dates in mind can help us price shop when choosing a venue. I’m helping to choose the facilities for an upcoming corporate meeting and need to start seriously comparing the options. I’m glad I read your article because following your tips should help me find a quality meeting facility that also works with the budget.

  9. Thanks for this advice for a corporate event. I like that you mentioned you should have an approximate food budget, and then lower it. It seems important to first know how many people are there so you can guess how many meals would need to be prepared.

  10. I loved that you mentioned you need to understand your budget to plan your corporate event properly. My sister is planning a corporate event for his company’s anniversary, and we are looking for advice to help her with the planning process. I will let her know about the benefits of having a clear mind about her budget to plan the perfect corporate event.

  11. Thanks for helping me understand that it would be helpful to set up a food budget and reduce it by 10%. I can imagine if this is applicable to weddings as well, since we plan to have banquet catering for the meals of our guests. I would probably need to start shopping around to ask various suppliers first regarding their rates.

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