Repurposing to Maximize Your Event Dollars October 26, 2017 — Jeannette Wagner, CMP, CGMP Photo Credit: Michael Carpenter Photography Envision adding to your next event – endless innovative elements, food, entertainment and décor that could be implemented with an unlimited event budget. Reality reminds us that most cannot splurge or exceed their event budget; that is if there is even an event budget designated. There are small ways to add to the overall attendee experience while being mindful of the budget limitations. Here are some tips on how to repurpose what you have already rented, purchased or on-site that you can use for multiple purposes. 1. Save any non-perishable food that you pre-purchased during your breakfast or morning break, such as whole fruit (bananas, apples, oranges), small bags of chips, nuts or granola and place it neatly out during your afternoon break, reception or in a speaker’s room. This can help you save on adding extra orders of additional food, or just provide more options for those guests who missed it earlier in the day. 2. If you are short on décor, or did not have a budget to create a floral arrangement. Either ask the venue if they have extra clear vases (or bring a couple of your own!) and use the previously mentioned leftover whole fruit and place them in vases/bowls and use them as centerpieces with small votive candles for an effortless look. No one will know it was the same fruit leftover from their breakfast. 3. Reuse rented stage chairs after sessions are completed to be placed in either a reception area, speaker's room or foyer areas (when space allows!) for extra seating nooks or lounge gathering for guests to comfortably network. 4. Use a portable decorative chalkboard as a directional or welcome sign for when guests first arrive – and before your guests head out to a closing reception or snack break – change the message (whether you want to highlight your event hashtag or whatever is relevant to your event!) and save on printing costs for multiple signs. 5. Take notice of what may be available in the foyer or rooms at your contracted venue. If there are any potted plants, pre-light faux trees or any décor that could work as props for your event – talk to your venue contact to see if you can include borrowing those items for your event rental at no additional cost. This can help save you in renting plants for your stage or foyer welcome area, and every bit counts. 6. If you need to give a few attendees a small token of appreciation for attending, you could pre-purchase some decorative cookie gift boxes from a crafts store and arrange for the caterer to neatly transfer any leftover desserts or specialty items from your banquet order into these boxes as departing gifts. This is great if you have any local treats ordered, or just a nice way to give a little something directly from your event without spending more – just don’t tell them your secret and let them think you ordered it extra just for them. The point is to be creative and look for ways that you can use items you already have paid for to extend the ‘life’ of that purchase to save you money and have more to spend on other elements for the best attendee experience.