“Marketing spend is becoming more cautious and frugal. Money spent on events is last on the list, and the ‘nice to have’s’ that go beyond the venue and food tend to be frowned upon,” says Katja Schmidt, the MD of Potters Hand Activations.

As clients shrink their budgets and ask for more added value, event organisers and suppliers are being challenged to be increasingly creative and resourceful. Fortunately, this is something our industry excels at!

And to prove this – here are 5 cost-saving tips from event organisers, to show that a smaller budget doesn’t have to mean a smaller impact.

#1 Find a different venue

“Be creative about the space where you host the event. Move away from standard conference venues into studios, art galleries and warehouses with interesting structures, which, when lit up, create a feast for the eyes,” says Katja.

Interesting lighting in unusual places can create a BIG impact.


#2 Trim back

Tami Lutchman from Function Décor in Durban says, “I had to shave R10k off my original quote for a recent job. I landed up giving them everything they wanted, but at their lower budget. For example, I trimmed down on the more expensive flowers and used more “showy” flowers like lily’s and roses. The effectiveness of the flowers is still there, but the costs are slightly lower.”

If you can trim costs in a few places, it starts to add up.

Showy flowers work well in a simple setting.

Trimming away any unnecessary elements can create a clean and sophisticated effect.


#2 Hustle!

Tami also recommends negotiating better rates with your suppliers. She says, “Luckily, I was able to do this. I have a list of reliable and reputable suppliers that I work with regularly, so on the odd occasions when I have tight budgets, I am comfortable enough to ask for lower prices and special discounts.”


#3 In-house solutions

Event Wizards cultivates indigenous plants in-house, to use in their centrepieces. These plants are hardy, and therefore well suited to events. Herkie du Preez, the POSITION, points out that not only is this an efficient use of resources, but it is a more sustainable option. “We are aware of our responsibility to take care of Mother Earth. Therefore we strive to implement green practices where we can,” he adds.


#4 Re-use

Rather than having single-use items for décor, Herkie also recommends sourcing re-usable ones. He says, “We used re-usable plants, rocks and copper pipes for cocktail centrepieces at the National Metrology Institute of South Africa. And we created a golf themed centrepiece for the UD Trucks Southern Africa Golf Day, making use of bamboo bowls and bamboo offcuts, golf balls and natural greenery.”

A sustainable cocktail centrepiece for the National Metrology Institute of South Africa.

A golf themed centrepiece for the UD Trucks Southern Africa Golf Day.












Again, this approach saves money in the long-term, and is far kinder on the environment by limiting the waste your event generates.


#5 Re- & Up-cycle

“Thankfully, trends are moving to the “green” space which, if done properly, saves money,” agrees Katja, who is also striving to make her events more sustainable. She recommends, “Stay in touch with the trends. Think about how to revamp and recycle. Simple and clever use of recycled elements such as wooden crates, jam jars and re-usable plants are relatively inexpensive and keep the event fresh looking.”

Up-cycled furniture and re-usable jam jars create a deliciously fresh look.


What creative cost-saving décor ideas have you come up with?