Hosting a Party On A Budget
Written by Lindsay Ropella
This past week I hosted my very first “grown up” party! Actually, I think it was the first party I’ve hosted ever! Remember when I talked about how I got roped into throwing a Premier Jewelry party and wasn’t super thrilled about it? Well I started getting more excited about it (especially since it was going to be my first “official” hosted party), and decided to have some fun with it!
Since I had never really thrown a party before, I had a lot of fun scouring Pinterest for party planning tips and decor ideas. However, I soon found myself stuck in the place between throwing a really good party, and staying within a reasonable budget. I really didn’t want to skimp on style, but this was just a little party I was throwing together and not any sort of special event, so spending $$$ on a little Sunday afternoon shindig seemed a bit crazy to me.
My search terms quickly turned from ” beautiful feminine party inspiration” to “throwing a party for cheap.” After looking at all the different ideas and images, I came up with three simple guidelines to throwing a great party on a budget:
1. Have an overall design theme.
2. Have cute food.
3. Have only one or two really adorable “focal points” for party guests.
Pretty simple, right? Let’s take a quick look at how I attempted to do this for my party!
I started out by coming up with a “theme” for the party. I didn’t want it to be anything too “in your face,” but I did want my little get-together to have a cohesive feel. Since the party was focused on jewelry and snacks, I decided to title my party, “Books, Brownies, and Bling.”
Here is the invitation I thew together using Canva. If you haven’t checked out this free online resource yet, you HAVE to! It’s a really simple way to make all different types of graphics from Facebook cover images and blog post info-graphics to invitations and business cards!
So my first step after I had my theme was to create the invitation. Once that was completed, I used the graphics to create a cover image for the Facebook event and a few decor pieces for the day of the party (which I will show in a minute).
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I had a lot of fun with meeting guideline number 2! I spent the night before the party making 3 different kinds of brownies, and the morning of popping almost 4 batches of popcorn to try and create that perfect “sweet and salty” mix!
And just as a tip: don’t burn an entire batch of popcorn and fill your entire house with smoke 25 minutes before the party is about to start…notice the open window in this photo. Yea – I may be due for a Confessional Friday post this week…
Did you know that The Dollar Tree has the most amazing party decor ever?? These plates are actually plastic disposable plates, but they could definitely be washed and used over and over again. They are a little more expensive than regular paper plates (I think it was $1 for a pack of 6) but I think if you reused them a few times they would be more economical, and best of all they are super cute and hold food much better than your traditional paper plates!
I also purchased the really pretty square plates shown below (both square and round) for just a dollar a piece as well! Seriously – make sure to hit up The Dollar Tree and the party aisle at Walmart the next time you are hosting a party. They will be your best friends.
And don’t be afraid to hit up your family and friends to borrow some of their decor! The white lace tablecloths I used came from my Grandma and the mason jars I used for water and tea came from my mom. If you plan ahead a little bit, you will save yourself a lot of money and headache!
I decided that I wanted one of my “party focal points” to be the popcorn bags. I saw a similar idea on Pinterest, and decided to try my hand at throwing together some vintage-looking individual popcorn bags. All I did was purchase a pack of brown lunch bags from Walmart for under $1, a roll of lace for $2.50, and some cute little labels from the dollar section at my local Target. A little bit of hot glue (and a lot of burned fingers) and voila!
One thing that was important to me at the time was offering a few different types of beverages for my party guests. I had both a “hot” and “cold” drink table set up in opposite corners of my dining room. On our coffee bar I set up mugs and a few different kinds of k-cups. I don’t have a large matching set of mugs, so I just worked with what I had to set them up in a way that was visually pleasing to me.
In the opposite corner of the room, I had a “cold” beverage station set up where I was offering both water and Arnold Palmers. The mason jars and fun straws were an extremely inexpensive substitution (I’m talking less than $5) to the typical water glass or red solo cup (although singing the solo cup song really does get the people going).
Our TV is pretty big and hangs on the wall, so instead of it being an eyesore I decided to turn it into a focal point! I created a graphic with Canva, and just projected it on to my TV for the duration of the party!
If you’d like specifics on how I did this just let me know in the comments below, but basically I created an image that was 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels tall using Canva’s custom dimensions option (if you have the typical 16:9 HD widescreen TV ratio), saved the image on my computer, dragged and dropped the image into an empty browser window, and projected that browser tab onto my TV using our Google Chromecast. I think it added a little bit of extra decor to the party, and best of all it was free!
The final party focal point was the jewelry table. For this I just used one of my grandma’s old lace tablecloths, bought a roll of burlap from Walmart for $3 to make a little “jewelry” banner, and slapped it all on a folding table I borrowed from my parents!
All in all it really wasn’t anything fancy or special, but I had fun putting it together, and I think it turned out pretty nice for just a casual Sunday afternoon get together! I started planning some of the food and decor logistics of the event two weeks out or so, but I really didn’t have to spend any time getting things made or pulled together until a day or two before the actual event. I truly believe that it was because of the advanced planning I did and the fact that I just focused in on making a few key areas of the event really cute, that I was able to throw an entire party together for less than $50!
So tell me – what was the last party you threw? Did you spend a lot of money to make it a lavish affair, or keep things more simple and budget-friendly? Let me know in the comments below!