This is a contribution from Anne Francis, who is helping me out while I get another project ready and work on my yard – a never ending job! If you want to guest post, please email me.
A party is a gathering of kindred spirits who come together to celebrate an outstanding milestone, special occasion or simply the fact that it’s the weekend. They’re festive, fun and a great reason to break out a flashy outfit that you’ve been saving for a big night. However, if you’re the one stuck planning the shindig, your party can leave you overworked, frazzled and left holding a monstrous bill. No longer is your party quite as fun, is it now? As easy as it is to get carried away during the planning stages and overspend, it’s equally easy to cut some financial corners to lower the price tag of your magical night.
1) For certain kinds of parties, the venue can be the biggest cost of all. Depending on the amount of space at your disposal, consider holding the party within the comfort of your own home.
You may want to consider purchasing decorations to dress up your house’s décor, don’t be afraid to be creative, or ask friends if they have any festive adornments to contribute.Perhaps your friend has an assortment of centerpieces you can use, while another may have an abundance of cocktail umbrellas that are left over from her Hawaiian luau. If your personal space is not an option, be unconventional when choosing a venue. Inquire to whether renting an area would be cheaper if it was on a weekday rather than a weekend, and consider approaching a local hidden gem that might gladly accept the business (and be eager to show off), instead of the hottest, most-pretentious locale in town.
2) Once upon a time, people valued the effort it took to handwrite a letter and mail it out. These days are long gone and, chances are, your expensive invitation will end up in the trash. Save yourself a few bucks and alert people about your happening electronically or, for a more personal touch, over the phone. If you pride yourself on being old-fashioned and want to provide your guests with something decorative to hang on their refrigerator, design the invitations like postcards, as this will shave off the cost of embellished envelops.
3) For many parties, the food is simply the fuel to keep your guests going rather than the focal point. To fend off hunger without splurging on a full spread of food, have trays of goodies circulating the entire night; by keeping portions small and the timing slow but consistent, it will give attendees the chance to swallow their food and feel full instead of overstuffing themselves when their eyes are bigger than their stomachs. Certain foods tend to be expensive than others, so offer these in smaller quantities, like serving a veggie-and-cheese plate rather than a platter simply of cheese. If you prefer to have a more formal dinner, provide your guests with a buffet serving style (and smaller plates), as this will also encourage individuals to practice restraint instead of loading up their platter and only eating half, as second helpings will require a little more legwork than simply reaching across the table.
4) Hold the party at an hour which isn’t associated with mealtime so guests will arrive having just eaten rather than experiencing grumbling stomachs; 2 o’clock and 8 o’clock are always safe bets. When preparing your ingredients, remember that many of us have a tendency to prepare too much rather than too little and that, if you run a little short, no one is going to starve. Prepare foods that will store well after your event is done instead of having to be tossed.
5) When it comes to the bar, forego expense in favor of presentation. When stocking up for the big night, forego top-shelf liquors and, instead, wow them with flavorsome mixers and pleasing, nontraditional garnishes. Depending on the nature of the party, consider the possibility of having a cash bar; you can provide your guests with complimentary tickets for drinks or the option of purchasing an open bar package that is easily distinguished with wristbands; this is an especially viable possibility for fundraisers, though it is common at other kinds of celebrations like weddings, Bar Mitzvahs or larger events where guests and host are not intimately acquainted with one another. There are also ways to save money on alcohol if you plan on buying liquor for your event.
So don’t let your next fiesta empty your pockets and strip you of peace-of-mind. Share in the comment section below any successful tips you have for keeping costs down when hosting your parties!