Party planning ideas to help you save money
Planning a party, graduation or special event can be a lot of fun, but it can be a challenge to get your big party plans to fit inside your budget. Check out these party-planning tips to help you control your costs so you can more easily enjoy the big day.
1. Cost-cutting invitations. Unless you're planning a major event like a wedding, you can save money and paper by sending invitations by email, Evite.com, or social media sites like Facebook. If you require paper invitations, look for inexpensive pre-printed invitations, or get a computer-savvy friend to design them.
2. Party venues. Holding a party at home or in the backyard is usually the cheapest option. If that's not enough space, then a restaurant or a picnic in the park might suit an informal gathering. For more formal events, you can often avoid expensive catering halls by planning a party at a cheaper venue, such as a church hall, community center, art gallery, public garden, or even a nightclub during the day.
3. Skip the sit-down dinner. Informal parties are often more fun than formal events, and cheaper, too. Consider a buffet, a backyard barbecue, a pool party, or a picnic in the park for a family reunion. Other options are a weekend brunch with a spread of pastries and juices, or a coffee and dessert party.
4. Affordable menu. If you are working with a caterer, limit the number of food choices, and serve a less expensive entree like chicken or pasta instead of steak or seafood. Make the meal a buffet to save on the cost of waiters. For smaller events, doing the cooking yourself will most likely be cheaper than hiring a caterer. To keep it manageable, include prepared foods to reduce the hours spent in the kitchen: supermarket salads and sauces can be tasty and affordable.
5. Supplies and decorations. You can entertain larger groups at your home by renting tables, chairs, tablecloths and dishes at party supply stores. For table décor, asking children to craft centerpieces can yield charming results. Some venues may not need decoration, like a hall already decorated for the holidays, or a garden in full bloom. For inexpensive flowers, check nurseries and the garden section of retail stores for potted plants that you can enhance with tissue paper and ribbon.
6. Entertainment. A party can be the perfect time to ask family members to share their musical or other talents. Consider a slideshow of family photos, for example, showing the birthday girl growing up over the years. Another inexpensive option is to play recorded music. Look for songs on the party theme, like graduation or New Year's.
7. Assistance. If friends and family offer to help, take them up on the offer. Do they have a talent for arranging flowers, experience as a DJ, or can they bake an incredible birthday cake? If this is the family's one annual reunion, make it a potluck and ask everyone to bring a dish.
More than anything, a great party is a chance to celebrate life's milestones with family and friends. It doesn't take a big budget to make your event a special occasion.
What's next? What makes a real bargain?