Is your credit union planning an event this summer or later this year? A new branch opening? A staff party? Looking ahead to your next annual meeting or board planning session? Parties are fun to attend but are a challenge to plan, especially without spending a small fortune. But as CUES’ VP/executive education & meetings, I’ve learned a few things about putting together a beautiful event while sticking to a reasonable budget.
There are three components to an event or party that make the most impact: Venue, décor and food. I’ll share a few tips for saving on each.
Venue: Some venues come at premium at certain times of year (such as spring and summer for proms and weddings). Try a pricey venue during an off season. For example, a botanical garden may still be beautiful inside in the winter. Also, at many locations and restaurants, weekday events will be more affordable than weekend dates.
Décor: Pick a venue with a built-in décor—like that botanical garden!—you won’t need to spend a lot to dress up your venue. Choosing a theme for your event or party will help set direction for décor and food. For example, for a baseball theme, you can find affordable decorations at any party store or even on Amazon. Continue the theme by serving hotdogs, nachos, peanuts, pretzels and cracker jacks and you’ll have a fun event with inexpensive décor and food!
Food: You can save on your budget by having a mid- or late-afternoon event with passed appetizers. Typically, people will take just one item when it’s passed vs. three to four at a buffet. A good rule of thumb is to plan three or four pieces of passed hors d’oeuvre per person for every 30 minutes.