Life is full of joyous occasions, and along with those joyous occasions we like to have a joyous celebrations. As we get older and more friends and family get married, have babies, birthdays and all of the good things that can happen, there is a good chance you will find yourself the key host/hostess for such an event. And while you are probably overjoyed to have been chosen to plan a soiree, your bank account can really cramp your plans. I’ve hosted many bridal showers, baby showers, surprise birthday parties, and numerous other gatherings. Throughout trial and error I’ve figured out some great ways to save money and still make a special event to remember. Here are some ways that you can stretch your dollar and actually enjoy your own party!
Pick a Date
I can’t save you money on this one, you’re on your own.
Location, Location, Location
Ideally you’ll be able to host the get together in your own home or the home of someone also associated with the party. If you book a space with a hotel or restaurant there will be minimum food and beverage costs, gratuities etc. that can really add up. A great alternative is to use some of the places that your taxes already help pay for. Wait, what? Unbeknownst to most people, your own city is full of venues you can rent for a fraction of the cost. This can vary from parks, community buildings, recreation centers and how many people you will need to host. Simply google your city governments website and there should be an option for facilities rentals. You will be eligible for a non-profit rate as long as you aren’t seeking to raise any funds during the event. For example; I am hosting my sister’s baby shower at a beautiful community center in Fort Collins, Co for $30/hr and they provide tables, chairs and cleanup. We also have access to a kitchen and can provide all of our own food. Simply contact the venue that you wish to rent and they will be happy to provide you with more information and book a date for your party. A small deposit will be required at the time of booking.
An Outdoor Affair
If you procure a park space or even a backyard, an outdoor party can be a fun and beautiful location. Then again, seating can be a issue with a lack of picnic tables, and the cost of bringing in extra seating. Why not do a picnic party? Simply go to your local thrift store, purchase some fun printed blankets, take them to the laundromat and wash them and spread them around, planning 4-5 per blanket. In the center, have an individual food spread for each blanket. This prevents people from having to continually rise and sit to get what they need. Plates, silverware, everything. It’s a one stop shop. Drinks can be brought around and offered to each guest and refilled as needed or they may also be offered at a combined drinks/dessert table. Make sure you arrange the blankets in close proximity to one another to keep things social. Also at your local thrift store you can find apple crates, baskets, cheap dishware and any other little touches that would enhance the picnic. Mother nature will do most of the decorating for you but paper lanterns, wildflowers, or other theme appropriate items can be nice as well. Timing can affect type of food people are expecting to be served, so opt for an early afternoon start time that will go well with light appetizers. Think cheese, crackers, fresh fruit, finger sandwiches, iced tea etc…here are some pictures of how you might set it up.
Plastic silverware with a napkin and a paper doily wrapped around it and secured with twine or ribbon is a functional, yet personal touch.
**Any guests that are unable to sit on the ground can easily be accommodated with a chair and TV stand that someone is bound to already have.**
The Incredible Indoors
When your event will be inside, you don’t need to worry about overhauling the space. Small touches make the biggest impact. Tablecloths can be purchased at any party store for around $2 each and in a wide variety of colors. Use place mats to create surfaces to set flowers, decor, food etc. Using different colors and patterns creates visual interest and is very inexpensive. Centerpieces or table decor? Simply type into Google what you have pictured in your mind and more than likely there will be a tutorial on how to make it. There are videos on arranging flowers, creating luminaries, banners, paper lanterns etc. Marthastewart.com is a personal favorite of mine. The woman literally knows how to make everything….and it’s usually on the cheap. Here are some of my favorite (super easy) party touches.
Limes? Flowers? You got this.
Regular Christmas lights and some paper? Who knew?
Just some twine, clothes pins, fabric flowers and a onsie. Go ahead and have shower guests write well wishes and words of wisdom to the Mom to-be on colored notecards and pin them up. This makes a great memento for the guest of honor.
Rally the troops! Once again, there will be people who are also closely associated with the party that wouldn’t mind helping out by bringing a little something to contribute, and eat! Everyone has a “go-to” that they can whip up to create an eclectic mix of appetizers that are sure to leave everyone full and happy. If you’d rather shoulder the food portion yourself, be practical about what you serve. Veggie trays, meat and cheese trays, tea sandwiches (make a regular sandwich and use cute cookie cutters to make four small sandwiches out of each one), pasta salad, cupcakes, snack mix, hummus, etc can all be purchased ready-made and will keep you from having to cook on top of everything else you’ll have going on. Sam’s club is a great way to get all of these items in bulk for a big discount. If your party will be serving alcohol, don’t be shy about letting it be a BYOB, but make sure you have some water and tea or soda available for those who don’t care to imbibe. Just set it up and enjoy!
Fruit + water = yum!
A little something for everyone.
Do ’em, don’t do ’em…It’s really up to you. They aren’t really expected anymore and making a donation to a charity close to the guest of honors heart in the name of the guests at the party serves just as well as anything that will just collect dust in someones closet.
This should have you all set to host a very special, not to mention cost friendly gathering that will be one to remember. Set a play list on your ipod, get all dressed up and have a GREAT time!!
“It’s not where you are, but who you’re with.” -Dave Matthews Band