Prioritize essential budget items first (e.g., closed captioning, ASL, transportation, AV, facilities support/space related costs, rentals, name badges, event promotion such as poster printing/distribution). If food, beverage, and/or entertainment is an essential part of your event, be sure to factor in the following costs:
- Kosher, Halal, vegan, gluten-free, etc. meals - be sure the options are equivalent to what’s offered to other guests (i.e., don’t just offer salad while everyone else is having pizza).
- Certified serving staff (e.g., certified bartenders - resources here and here). Never serve alcohol on your own.
- Other licenses that may be needed include a one-day liquor license (if purchasing on your own from an approved city vendor) and/or entertainment license. Cambridge License Commission here; Boston License Commission here for alcohol and here for entertainment.
- Discuss certifications/licenses with the catering vendors you are using to determine what they already have and what you will need to obtain on your own (if any). Full service, onsite catering companies (recommended approach) will typically have all the needed certifications/licenses through their business operations. NOTE: all drop-off orders will require you to secure your own certified staff and licenses regardless of vendor used.
- If hosting an event with a cash bar and/or over 100 people in attendance where alcohol is being served, security will be needed. Harvard police detail can be secured here. NOTE: be sure to place a request at least two-weeks in advance.