Do you love to entertain but find it expensive? I absolutely love all the themed parties Kara’s Party Ideas has the pleasure of planning, however, there is no way I could financially host a party like hers. I love going the extra mile to make my guests “ooh” and “aah” over the décor. Over the years, I’ve come up with a few inexpensive ideas for Party Planning on a budget. The frugal side of me approves and better yet, my party kit is something I can use over and over again.
White Dishes: This is a great starting point for any dinner. White dishes make your food look fantastic and will match with any color scheme you have picked for your party. You can easily dress up white dishes with napkins from the dollar/discount store! I purchased large square plate and have used them to eat on as well as serving dishes for appetizers or even cookies for my Cookie Christmas Party. My guests have commented many times about how they enjoy my square plates as they can fit more food on them.
Clear Glass Ware: I constantly watch for unique, inexpensive vases, dishes, candle holder, etc at my local thrift shops and discount stores. Keep in mind you do not need to use the dish for it’s indented purpose. Fill it up with seasonal candy, rock salt and a scented candle, leaves, pinecones, flowers – anything! It’s even better if Mother Nature provides it for free from your own back yard. It’s so easy to customize for the theme of your party. Make some specialized signs on your computer and print them out. Buy ribbon from the discount store for a splash of color.
Candles: I find candles add a special element to any gathering. It seems to put people at ease and adds an certain elegance. If you’d like to invest in some large pillar candles that will be around for a while I suggest you choose white so they will easily coordinate with any theme. If you also have white serving dishes, white candles will look intentional. White candles also tend to be cheaper and easier to find.
Wine Glasses: I recently purchased two dozen wine glasses for a wine party I held. They were purchased at the discount store for $1.25. No one would know the difference but party budget did. I purchased the larger sized ones and I’m so happy I added them to my collection. I don’t use them for just wine. I serve all types of drinks in them and people love being served their non-alcoholic drinks in them as they feel like they are still getting a special treat. The glasses can also be prettied up by tying a wide ribbon around the stem, filling them with bulk candy or float a candle in the glasses.
Mason jars: There are so many possible ways to use mason jars when you are entertaining. From getting food ready before the party, to serving drinks in the jars, to decorating your table by filling the jars with utensils, napkins, flowers or even candle. Mason jars are truly invaluable and totally fit within my party planning budget.
Cookware: Do you have a favorite party recipe you like to make each time you have company over? Perhaps your friends and family always request you bring a particular dish to a potluck. Watch for sales and invest in a beautiful serving dish to use. You would also be surprised what you will find at Yard Sales too! And never underestimate your local thrift store.
Serving Dishes: Pick a theme for your serving dishes and stick with it. You don’t have to go crazy all at once and break the bank. Be a smart shopper and keep your eyes open for that special dish that jumps out at you that will be a lovely addition to your collection. This would also make an excellent gift at Christmas or for your birthday.
Stainless Steel or Aluminum: Aluminum containers can be expensive, so watch your thrift shops and discount stores for these. And use your imagination. Containers can be repurposed for just about anything. Before I started to host parties, I had purchased some adorable little aluminum pails at the discount store for $1.00 each. I bought 5 with the intention of using them in my hobby room to store pens and markers. They never made it that far. I’ve used them to serve treats, napkins, forks/knives, etc. They work beautifully for any party.
Table Clothes: Table dressings are the base to any party table and can add the biggest pop to the theme. I purchased in a long white table clothe for my table from a store that was going out of business. Then I watched my local thrift shops for smaller table clothes I could layer on top for a punch of color. Even multiple linen napkins could be used as accent pieces. Simple, easy and very affordable!
White Christmas Lights: I purchased some Christmas lights over 9 years ago at the end of the holiday season. Those lights have participated in over 5 weddings, countless anniversary parties, Christmas parties and regular party events. They can be used in your back yard during the summer, or hung behind shear curtains in your house to add a soft glow to the party area.
Folding Chairs: If your party turns into a standing room only party, you know you’ve had a successful party. If you’d like to make sure your company has a place to sit without always having a lot of bulky furniture around your house, this is the perfect inexpensive solution. Have a special storage place for them – even under your bed. Take them out only when you need them and put them back into hiding when you’re done. They are great for your backyard as well as indoors.
Last words of advice: watch for the sales, check out the thrift or discount stores and visit yard sales to see what you can find. Get yourself a large Tupperware container where you can store everything and when you’re having company over, pull it out and start decorating. If your collection will not fit in one container, keep it organized by theme and label the outside of the container so you know which one to reach for when you need something. Happy Planning!