Let’s face it, when throwing a party not everyone can afford to outsource to an event planner – allocating an endless budget to food, drinks, decorations to name just a few. Whether you are planning a casual get together or fancy dinner party, there are more than a few ways to throw a great party without spending a tonne of money.
We’ve compiled a few of our favourite tips for hosting the perfect party on a budget:
Bottoms Up – BYOB (Bring Your Own Booze) is a great way to not only save money but to be able to offer a variety of beverage options. Plan a couple of cocktail ideas and when guests ask “What can I bring?” be specific. This way the bar will be fully stocked and you will be making cocktails like a pro. If your budget does stretch a bit further (and it might if you don’t have to max out the credit card buying expensive alcohol) then consider hiring a barman and leaving the drinks to a professional. That way you will actually get to enjoy your party rather than be held up making drinks all night.
Set The Mood – It’s the little things that count. There are many inexpensive ways to decorate and set the mood for your party. Balloons are inexpensive as is using things you may already have around the house to decorate. Throw some lemons and limes in a large glass jar as a table centrepiece. Dig out those tea light holders and candles in the bottom draw, pick some fresh flowers from your (or the neighbours) garden. Throwing a summer party? We love this idea: paint the tops of some pineapples and scatter around a few flowers and candles and voila – your table or bar will be all set for a festive summer celebration!
Get tech savvy with your invitations – Unless it’s a wedding or formal event your party doesn’t need paper invitations. Jump onto one of the many online invitation sites like evite where you can easily create and email an invitation to your guests. Guests can RSVP too. If everyone you are inviting is on Facebook then create an event and invite everyone along. Both options are free.
Spend Your Budget On Things That Matter – Ask anyone and most will tell you that the least enjoyable thing about hosting a party (besides rude or uninvited guests) would be that they spent the whole night cooking or catering to their guests needs and didn’t get to enjoy the party themselves. Let’s face it, by the time you buy all the ingredients, spend time prepping and then cooking and then serving and cleaning up it can often work out cheaper (and stress free) to invest in party catering (oh did we mention we might know someone? Wink wink nudge nudge!). Seriously though having professionals take care of the food part is a smart move – it means not only will you get the night off, you will actually get to enjoy your guests and party without any of the stress that goes with feeding everybody.
Timing Is Everything – If money is a bit tight consider the time of day that you throw your party. Typically at events later in the day guests will be expecting heartier food and an evening event can obviously run into the wee hours of the morning which will see not only your drinks budget blow out, but your relationship with your neighbours on shaky ground as well! Skip the all night affairs and consider a champagne breakfast, daytime BBQ, pancake brunch or game day get-together. It’s likely to be less expensive but just as much fun!
Who Needs A DJ – Good music sets the scene for any GOOD party. You don’t have to be (or hire) a professional DJ to nail the music. Nor do you have to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on CD’s or downloading music. If you have a computer or mobile device then you are in business. There are some great music streaming apps online such as Spotify or Pandora where you can play music for free. Our pick – Spotify – create your own playlists and once you press play you can set and forget and sit back and enjoy.
Saving your hard earned dollars aside, if there is one thing our many years catering to events in the Auckland area has taught us, it’s that the single common factor to throwing a great party is a relaxed host/hostess. So just make sure whatever things you do to save money don’t add to your stress/work levels on the day.
Got other money saving ideas for hosting a party? We’d love you to share them in the comments section below