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Managing an Event That’s Gone Over Budget

Updated: Jun 11, 2020

For many event planners out there, a common nightmare scenario is shared: Going over budget. No event planner ever wants to experience this, but the simple reality is that it happens from time to time, even for the best-planned events.

At Upstage Crews, we’re here to help with everything from stage installation to convention staffing, ETC certified lighting and numerous event setup services to help keep this area of your budget and planning running smoothly. Here are some general tips on how to operate if you discover you’re on track to go over budget, including tactics to make up the difference or methods to fix damage before it’s complete.

Determine Over-Spending Areas

First and foremost, your initial step upon realizing you’re over budget is determining the sources of your outsized spending. Break out whatever kind of budget sheet you have been working with, whether it’s an online spreadsheet or an actual notebook of some kind, and begin going line-by-line to check on your expenses and where things have landed. You want to note any areas where your spending went above what was expected. In addition, it’s good to note the flip side where you may have spent less than expected as well.

Can it Be Fixed?

When you’ve gone through your budget sheet and identified the problem area or areas, now it’s time to ask a question: Can they be fixed? If someone on the event planning team accidentally ordered 10,000 bracelets instead of 1,000, for instance, it might be possible to speak with the vendor and correct the mistake before it becomes a permanent one. In other cases, however, certain expenditures cannot be avoided, such as additional fees or certain other areas. This will depend on your specific event.


In some cases, as we noted above, it might be possible to speak with vendors involved in your event and negotiate changes in pricing. Areas like food or decorations, for instance, can sometimes be altered slightly to a point where they are a bit more affordable but still fit your event. This theme is part of why it’s vital for event planners to have good relationships with vendors. If you’ve worked with a vendor before and there’s mutual trust, there’s a better chance you’ll be received positively if you’re looking to re-negotiate a budget area.

Earning Additional Funds

Finally, some general tips for earning extra money during the event if needed to make up for going over budget:

  • Make a final push to sell more tickets using whatever organic marketing methods are available.

  • Sell VIP tickets with an added cost for additional experiences.

  • Sell branded merchandise, which will both collect profit and help you advertise moving forward.

  • Host a live stream for online viewers for a small cost.

For more on how to manage the situation if your event has gone over budget, or to learn about any of our event production services, speak to the staff at Upstage Crews today.

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