So You Wanna Plan an Event... Eh?  Wondering what it's going to cost and what to consider?

Oftentimes people are looking to hire en event planner before understanding the typical costs associated with having their event to begin with.   Here is a little guide to shed some light on some realistic and typical costs associated with planning an event locally and also what is involved / special considerations.

Where Do you Want to Hold Your Event?

Your Home?
Do you have adequate space for people to park, your guests to stand / sit / eat?, where can you store shoes & jackets? Will there be seated meals, standing room only?  Do you have all the serving-ware you need for these people  or what type of rentals are going to be required (see below).  Do you have enough bathroom facilities to accommodate the number of people?  what about your valuables?? How do you feel about the wear and tear to your home?  What about clean up?

What will you do for shelter?  what if it rains? if its too cold or too hot?  where will people use the washroom?? would a porta-potty rental be required?? 

Hall & Room Rentals
What type of hall are you looking to book?   Here are some typical rates to consider -- Library program rooms from $19/hr.    Town Halls from $50-$250/hr.  Golf Course Banquet Rooms from $500, banquet hall (room only) from $600, gardens / farm rentals from $2000+.  If you are looking to go with a restaurant or banquet hall that will be providing your food, then a rental fee will likely not apply.

What Type of Entertainment do you want to have at your event?

DJs ~ From $350 - $2500+
Rates vary depending on if you just want a DJ or a DJ & MC combo.  Also light packages, day of the week / time of year required &  duration of event affect cost.

Performers ~ From $150-$2000+
Rates vary depending on the number of performers i.e. a single person or a team (eg dance team, band, etc.), how long you require the performance to be, etc.

Bouncy Castles / Child Entertainers ~ From $150

What Type of Food & Beverage Do you Want to have at your event?

Catering & Food

What are you looking for in terms of food for your event?  If you looking for finger party foods only ($5pp), cold & hot apps ($7pp), a buffet breakfast ($14pp), buffet lunch ($15pp), a buffet hot dinner ($25pp), seated plated meals (from $25pp)

Where are you serving the alcohol?  In a hall?  If so you need a Special Occasion Liquor Permit  (SOP $25 see the LCBO).   If you are selling or serving liquor in a rented facility such a community hall many would also require you to have LIABILITY INSURANCE for the event for min. $1million.  This can cost +$300-$500!

How much alcohol to serve?  How much non-alcoholic drinks to buy? Generally industry standard is to account for 1 beverage (either alcoholic or non alcoholic PER 2 HOURS of the event).  If your event is an evening event, likely you should account for more alcoholic beverages then non alcoholic.   Where alcohol is being served, you definitely also want some type of food and water as well.  Also keep in mind refrigeration of beverages, coolers, ice or ice buckets.

A costco cake is not the same as a custom party cake.  See my section about my cakes.

What Type of staff / help do you need to hire for your event?

Hired Event Staff
Who is serving the food and drink for your event?  Doing clean up?
  • smart serve licensed wait-staff (waitresses & waiters, hostesses) from $15/hr
  • licensed bartenders from $20/hr
  • flair bartenders from $25/hr
  • event planner / day of coordinator fees
  • photographers from $200 (small event) - $2500+ (weddings)

**keep in mind that tipping & gratuity is generally also provided to some hired staff

What rental equipment is required for an event?

Rental Equipment
Especially when you've booked your own community hall, you will need to factor rentals into your budget.  Some example costs:
  • standard linen Rentals ~ From $7 - $12 /table
  • Chair Covers from $2/chair
  • White Tent Rentals from $1000+
  • complete tableware settings from $3-$5pp (plates, side plates, cutlery, etc.)
  • water goblets, wine glasses, cups & saucers from $.20 each *remember to keep in mind how many drinks are being served
  • bouncy castles / children's entertainers from $200
  • popcorn / candy floss / fun food machines from $75