You Need Good, Fast Or Cheap Event Decor: Pick 2 Out Of 3

April 23, 2018

There is a famous triangle of project management choices for getting something made or ordered for your special event: speed, quality and cost.

The irony is you can only ever receive two of those choices.

You Need Good Quality and You Need It Fast - And It Won't Be Cheap
If your client wants high quality products and you're on deadline to get them, they will have to pay more than normal. 

Typical scenarios for good quality and speed





  • If the item is the only one of its kind - such as event decor hire - then you cannot delay hiring it as other people can snap it up for the same day, and it won't be a low-price item.
  • If the decor item item is bespoke and/or has to be manufactured, there could be a rush fee (ie your order takes priority over anyone else's).
  • If you need to get it shipped quickly from interstate or overseas you will pay high delivery fees.
  • If you want this particular item made by an expert (because you don't dare risk getting an inferior item from someone who isn't recommended), you will have to pay for for their expertise (along with a possible rush fee).
  • Because you're on deadline and need it, you are in no position to seek a bargain or ask for a discount.

Best Speed & Quality situation: When your client is planning a special event to feature in upscale blogs and magazines, and wants it at (almost) any cost.

You Need It Good and You Need It Cheap - And It Won't Be Fast
If you want high quality items at a bargain price, you will have to allow time for online research to compare plenty of suppliers.

Typical scenarios for good quality at a low price

  • If it's an event hire item that many suppliers have in stock, because of its low cost it will be high demand so you will have competition with other corporates wanting it for special events then, such as chairs
  • You may have to spend quite some time contacting suppliers to see if they have it available for your client's date.
  • You will have to allow plenty of time for all the quotes to come in - and to compare them to make sure they're the same dimensions, weight, colour, material etc.
  • If these suppliers are overseas, such as in China, if you want to save considerably on your order you will have to choose shipping by sea which will add several weeks to your delivery deadline.

Best Quality & Cost situation: When you have several months ahead to plan, book and purchase now.

You Need It Cheap and You Need It Fast - And It Might Not Be Good
If your client is on a very tight budget and they have left their ordering to the last minute, you will have to choose generic decor.

Typical scenarios for inexpensive, quickly available items

  • Cheap, readily available, mass-distributed items are rarely considered special, unique or interesting. 
  • Because they're commonplace, suppliers compete on price (eliminating the quality you really need). For example, Ikea sell inexpensive bags of 100 x tealight candles for $6 which you can buy anytime - but they burn for only two hours
  • You can usually find cheap, readily available items on eBay, Amazon, Gumtree and so on - but you won't be able to see the items in person to check the quality
  • You can also locate items being sold on Facebook Marketplace. However, the items may be chipped, stained, missing pieces or in too few a quantity for your event. 

Best Cost & Speed situation: When your client needs a generic, readily available event item such as tealight candles and is not fussed about quality ie the size, texture, durability, colour or appearance. 

Enjoyed this? When Christmas is coming, find out what successful event planners do.