How to Budget For Your End Of Year Party

By Fiona Parmley /Corporate Events Expert

Wed 3rd Jul 2024 Corporate Venues

How to Budget For Your End Of Year Party

As the year draws to a close and most companies get ready to shut down over the December break, an end-of-year party is the perfect way to end the year on a high note. End of Year parties offer a great way for brands and companies to celebrate all their employee’s hard work, as well as all their successes as individual teams and as a whole. These parties are perfect for showing appreciation, boosting morale and creating fun memories for all employees. 

Like any company event, making sure you budget wisely is crucial to ensuring a seamless night without overspending. So whether you’re a small company planning a sophisticated sit-down dinner or a larger-scale brand wanting to go OTT, an end-of-year party can become a highlight that everyone looks forward to. 

Setting a budget 

Before diving into the details of your party and searching for the perfect venue, it’s crucial to establish a clear budget. For most corporate events, a budget should already be approved earlier in advance. So, all that’s needed then is to break that number down down and set a budget for all elements within your event, like venue hire, food, and entertainment. By sectioning out all these individual budgets and costs, you’ll set clear expectations that’ll make the planning process so much easier. 

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While no one wants to plan for any unforeseen surprises for their event, it’s always recommended to put aside about 10-20% of your budget to avoid any unexpected costs that may arise. This little cushion will give you peace of mind and allow for any last-minute adjustments for your event (and if everything goes to plan, it just means you came in under budget!)

What to consider in your end-of-year event budget

Venue 

Selecting the venue for your event is often the first thing a budget is put towards since it’s often the most expensive cost in your overall budget. The cost of each venue can differ based on its size, location and features. When taking the entire cost and dividing it up per head, most event hires average between $25-150 per person, but this will differ for each event and budget. Most venues will also include a catering package within or on top of the venue hire, which becomes much cheaper than choosing an external caterer. When budgeting for your venue hire costs, it’s always important to look at any additional fees on top of just the venue hire package. Some spaces may have hidden or extra costs for security deposits, event overtime, or additional rental fees. 

Minimum spends 

It’s important to keep in mind that many venues that offer catering and beverage packages will have a minimum spend which can impact your overall budget. You’ll need to understand the venue’s minimum spend requirements and factor these into your venue and overall budget. This means you need to double-check your guest count and make sure that the events catering options meet this for an acceptable cost per head price (average costs per head usually range between $100-200) and avoid any additional charges. If your guest list is smaller, you may need to adjust your menu or drink options to meet the minimum spend without wasting your budget.

Catering 

Alongside venue hiring costs, catering often comes in at about the same if not slightly less in your overall budget, especially if it’s not included in your venue package. When looking for catering you should have a clear idea of whether your event catering will be a sit-down dinner, buffet or cocktail-style service, as these will all fall within different budget costs per head. Your choice in catering should be dependent on the number of guests and the venue you’ve chosen. For example, cocktail service might work best for a rooftop bar, while a sit-down dinner will complement a grand ballroom space. In most cases, your catering costs per head should fall between $60-100 per person and about $150+ with beverage packages included, but this is dependent on your actual budget. 

Music & entertainment 

It’s not a party without music! Even if your event is smaller or more formal, you’re going to need some type of music to help set the right atmosphere for your team. Whether you choose a live band, DJ or musicians it’s important to think about the theme and setting of your end-of-year event and choose accordingly (while thinking about your budget too!). The cost of each band or DJ will depend on the hours you hire them for as well as their experience and equipment needs, however for an average you could be looking at anywhere from $350 to $5,000.

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Entertainment may seem a bit steep at first glance, so we suggest dividing this final number by your guest list for an average cost per-head. For example, $5000 for 150 guests is only $33 per head. 

For events that want to create more appeal and excitement for their guests, you’ll also need to budget for additional entertainment like magicians and photo booths. Just like your music budget, the costs here will differ depending on who or what you’ve hired. For some company events this may not be a necessary cost or relevant for their team’s preferences, so make sure to assess this inclusion – especially if you have a smaller budget.  

Theme and decorations 

Some end-of-year events like to make it more interesting and exciting for their guests by adding a theme to their party. If you want your event to be a well thought-out and memorable affair, decorations will be necessary to make the night fully complete. If you want to enhance the theme of your event, it’s recommended to put a small budget aside for decorative items like lighting, banners, balloons and other items. The cost here will depend entirely on how detailed and high quality you want your event to look, and so will differ from event to event. 

Start planning your end-of-year event with Venue Crew 

Ready to start planning a memorable end-of-year event to celebrate the hard work of your employees and brand? Venue Crew is here to take the guesswork out of finding the perfect venue: explore our directory and discover a range of venue spaces to meet all budgets, so you can spend more time perfecting all the other details of your event. Or, reach out to us with your budget, location, preferred date and guest numbers, and we’ll suggest 5 top venues for you to choose from.

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