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Hosting A Party On A Budget | The Newlywed NotebookThe Newlywed Notebook

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December 2014

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).
 
Hosting a party is fun, but really expensive! Read about my most recent experience hosting a party on a budget, and hosting my first

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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…
 
Hosting a party is fun, but really expensive! Read about my most recent experience hosting a party on a budget, and hosting my first
 
Hosting a party is fun, but really expensive! Read about my most recent experience hosting a party on a budget, and hosting my first
 
Hosting a party is fun, but really expensive! Read about my most recent experience hosting a party on a budget, and hosting my first
 
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!
 
Hosting a party is fun, but really expensive! Read about my most recent experience hosting a party on a budget, and hosting my first
 
Hosting a party is fun, but really expensive! Read about my most recent experience hosting a party on a budget, and hosting my first
 
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!
 
Hosting a party is fun, but really expensive! Read about my most recent experience hosting a party on a budget, and hosting my first
 
Hosting a party is fun, but really expensive! Read about my most recent experience hosting a party on a budget, and hosting my first
 
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.
 
Hosting a party is fun, but really expensive! Read about my most recent experience hosting a party on a budget, and hosting my first
 
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).
 
Hosting a party is fun, but really expensive! Read about my most recent experience hosting a party on a budget, and hosting my first
 
Hosting a party is fun, but really expensive! Read about my most recent experience hosting a party on a budget, and hosting my first
 
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!
 
Hosting a party is fun, but really expensive! Read about my most recent experience hosting a party on a budget, and hosting my first
 
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!
 
Hosting a party is fun, but really expensive! Read about my most recent experience hosting a party on a budget, and hosting my first
 
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!

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  • http://www.ripsinmypockets.blogspot.com/ Nina W

    It looks like you had such a lovely party! I have yet to host a party on my own. . . it seems daunting! Our apartment has family dinners a lot where we invite our friends, but it’s never anything too fancy. Perhaps when I move to a new apartment I’ll throw a housewarming party!

    • http://www.thenewlywednotebook.com/ Lindsay Ropella

      A housewarming party sounds like a fantastic idea! It was a bit scary at first, but I started writing down just little idea here and there about 3 or so weeks before the party, which I think made it a lot easier when it came down to crunch time!

  • http://www.thenewwifestyle.com/ chelsea

    oh my goodness- you threw SUCH a cute party lindsay! i am also highly impressed with your matching mugs…we have 2 that match. ha! your brownies also look delicious. glad your party was a success and super affordable!

    • http://www.thenewlywednotebook.com/ Lindsay Ropella

      Thanks Chelsea! :) I had a lot of fun with it, and I’m glad the food turned out…for the most part anyway. LOL the mugs were on our wedding registry..otherwise we would be in the same boat!

  • Sarah K.

    The party was wonderful. :) I am ready to come over again! The decor was so adorable and I loved that your invite was up on the TV screen. The brownies were oh, so sweet. I think you did an awesome job and it was warm, welcoming, and super super fun! Thank you for hosting and having us over.

    • http://www.thenewlywednotebook.com/ Lindsay Ropella

      Thanks so much!! It’s tough hosting your first party not really knowing what to expect or how things should go, so I’m glad you enjoyed yourself! It was so much fun all spending time together!

  • http://www.newlywedsonabudget.com/ Erika Newlyweds

    this is so cute! We’ll be having a housewarming and am totally thinking of ways to save money!

  • http://www.newlywedsonabudget.com/ Erika Newlyweds

    this is so cute! We’ll be having a housewarming and am totally thinking of ways to save money!

    • http://www.thenewlywednotebook.com/ Lindsay Ropella

      Thanks! I found that planning in advance (like everything else, it seems) helped in the budgeting department the most. If you have a Dollar Tree new you, make sure to hit up the party aisle. I was shocked by how much they had!

  • http://www.walkingdotphotography.com/ Walking Dot Photography

    So cute! And I love the idea of a book swap! Did that work out well?
    xox
    giedre

  • http://www.walkingdotphotography.com/ Walking Dot Photography

    So cute! And I love the idea of a book swap! Did that work out well?
    xox
    giedre

    • http://www.thenewlywednotebook.com/ Lindsay Ropella

      Thank you! We had fun. :) And yes, I think overall the book swap went really well! Only about half of my guests were big readers, but I think if the majority of your guests enjoy reading it would be really fun! I just had a book table with a sign to leave a book and take a new one (or two) on your way out!

  • Paige Gunter

    Lindsay, that was amazing! You did a great job…and now have me craving brownies, thank you very much! :) In the last year I have actually thrown a few parties and like you have discovered that The Dollar Tree is a dream (newlywed or not). There things have become a lot nicer since I was little girl it seems. Also, $1 section at Target and $2 section at Michaels. I try to always buy things I can use again as well. Again, really nice, Lindsay!

    • http://www.thenewlywednotebook.com/ Lindsay Ropella

      Thanks, Paige! I know – it seems like over the past few years stores have really upped their game! I actually got some really fun little accessories for the table in the dollar section at Target too – I totally forgot about that! I have to find the discount section at Michaels – I’m scared ours doesn’t have once since I’ve never seen it, but maybe I’m just not looking hard enough!