Planning an event entertainment budget is often overlooked on its importance.

Creating an event budget helps you stay focused on where your funds are going. But one important piece of the puzzle that most articles leave out, is event entertainment.

All too often, event planners contact entertainment as a final thought. They already have the venue, meal and any awards or speakers set.

Now they want something to cap off the evening!

Why Is Event Entertainment So Important?

Your entertainment is often the last thing your people see and experience. It not only can affect the mood of the evening, but also create a lasting impression of your events.

Think Of It This Way …

You spend good money on your caterer and serving staff. Your time and energy go into selecting the entrees, salads, side dishes, and hor'douvres.

The meal isn't cheap! And then add in the alcohol. Even a cash bar has expenses for staff.

How Long Does Your Meal Last?

Generally for a sit down meal you allot an hour. Depending on the size of your audience, how on the ball your caterer is and the efficiency of the serving staff, it may run over.

For a buffet, that hour serving time is about right too.

But serving 500 meals isn't easy. The chef needs to plate the food and keep it warm. Warm food tends to continue cooking, which means it can dry out for some diners.

It is a proven fact that not everyone in your group will like the meal, no matter how hard you or the caterer try.

Even though you spent a large part of your evening's budget on food and service.

How Long Does Your Entertainment Last?

Most event planners tend to plan about an hour for entertainment, unless they are hiring a band.

For a speaker, corporate comedian, ventriloquist, magician, juggler or other type of variety corporate entertainment, the hour may shorten slightly depending on their act.

So if your dinner and your entertainment run roughly the same time, doesn't it make sense to budget similarly for your corporate entertainer?


If your meal is delicious and your event entertainment is poor, people will walk away from your event with a bad impression.

If your meal is bad, but your event entertainment captures the audience, most people will forget about the meal and be swept along in the mood upswing entertainment provides.

Of course, both could be good – or both could be bad. Hopefully your event will be great!

Event Entertainment Budget – Do's:

Do plan your entertainment budget into your event budget.

Do allocate enough funding to make certain you can afford quality entertainment.

Do remember that the entertainment may also require certain AV equipment that can add to your AV budget.

Event Entertainment Budget – Don'ts

Don't try to save money on the entertainment. It is as important to your event as your meal. Possibly more so since it is the lasting impression of your hard planning.

Don't rush into hiring entertainment. Weigh all proposals and make an educated decision based on the merits each form of entertainment offers.

Yes you want to book your entertainer before their schedule fills, but don't allow that to become a pressure point.

Things To Know:

Just as your venue, caterer and other vendors, your entertainment will likely require a deposit. Know how much and the due dates on payments.

Some entertainers demand full payment before they leave home. Others take a deposit to reserve the date and accept the balance just before or at the event.

Remember that your entertainment is a business too. They have expenses and time involved with your event.

Make sure you receive the entertainment's technical rider as a part of the contract. You will want to make certain your AV company can provide the required needs at an expense you can afford.

If your event entertainment surprises you by coming in under budget, congratulations. Remember that all acts are different.

Like with anything else, paying more doesn't always mean you are getting the best. That is why it is important to review each proposal to find entertainment that is right for your audience.

The event entertainment budget is just one aspect of an entire event budget. For that reason we are including some links to some of the best event budget planning articles available on the Internet.


Event Budgeting: How To Master Your Event Budget


How To Create Your Event Budget

If you have any questions about setting up your event entertainment budget, or hiring entertainers, don't hesitate to reach out to Tom.