Pageant Budgets 101
Doing a Pageant can be a serious financial investment. As such, you need to set up your budget as soon as possible to keep your journey on track without breaking the bank. This also helps as you meet with potential sponsors so that you know what your costs are so that you can focus in on the benefits that you will bring their organization. (More discussions on this later.)
So how do you set up a Pageant Budget?
1. Look at the Pageant System Schedule
I first looked at the Pageant System that I would be competing in to determine what the entry fees are and the required events. The Mrs. Colorado Pageant is essentially a four day event. You arrive for orientation on a Wednesday evening, preliminaries are on Thursday, dress rehearsals and a luncheon are Friday, and the final events are on Saturday. In addition, the event is scored 50% on interview, 25% one-piece bathing suit with sarong, and 25% evening gown.
Your budget starts to list items that you will need:
- Entry Fee
- Orientation Outfit
- Swimsuit Suit
- Evening Gown
- Evening Gown Alterations
- Opening Number outfit
- Interview Outfit
2. Look to see what you own or can borrow. If you can’t borrow something, there is the option to purchase used.
I don’t know about you, but I love beautiful dresses and clothes.. The problem: I live in a remote part of Colorado where we are not known for our high fashion, unless you are talking ski gear. I’m also fairly petite and don’t know any people my size. Borrowing was pretty much out of the picture…
When I went to pick out my evening gown, I knew that I could I not afford one of the $1,000+ dresses. I researched evening gowns online at pageantresale.com and some of the various designers who specialize in gowns to get a feel for what I liked. Because it has been 14 years since I had worn a gown like this, I knew that I would have to try on multiple gowns to see what would work. As such, I met with Raeanne Smith at Royal Image Boutique for help. After telling her my Budget and a general idea of what I was looking for, she was able to find me a beautiful discontinued dress on sale. (and “No you can’t see me dress yet!)
Ebay has turned out to to be one of my friends. I lucked out and found my used pageant shoes on ebay (they had only been worn once for a fitness pageant!) I also don’t mind shopping sales and consignment stores to save money.
- Word of warning, you need to know your measurements and what looks good on you if you order pre-owned on-line. These sites typically have a no-return policy.
Your budget starts to look something like this:
|Item||E/U/N||Est. Budget||Actual Cost|
|Evening Gown Alterations||New||$XXX||$XXX|
3. Don’t forget the miscellaneous items!
When I met with the Executive Director of the Mrs. Colorado Pageant system, Emily Stark, I quickly realized that I left out multiple items in my budget. I had remembered the under garments, photos for my sponsor pages, and shoes. But a couple of big ticket items that I had left out was food during the event, hotel room for the pageant activities, parking costs…these items add up.
I also had the bright idea that I would do my own hair and makeup for the preliminaries and final competitions. Let’s just say that I quickly nixed that idea after several attempts with gel eyeliner and hair gel. The other reason I changed my mind to add these into the budget is that you need to apply makeup differently for on-stage than you do for a personal interview. For me, it makes sense to hire someone who knows how to do this.
Now I have a more extensive budget in excel that I am using as I prepare for the Mrs. Colorado Pageant May 15-18 in Denver. Feel free to send me your budget questions or to request a copy of my BASIC Pageant Budget excel sheet. Contact Yvonne.