You don’t need a big budget to host a gathering in honor of friendship. Phone tag and social media are one way to keep in touch, but face-to-face time will remind everyone of the meaning of true friendship. Add variety to your social calendar, get your creative juices flowing, and open your home and your heart to your friends with a wallet-friendly dinner.
To host a successful budget-friendly party requires a well-defined and creative plan to stay within your means. An upfront budget encourages you to make defined choices and keeps you from making last-minute, frivolous decisions when purchasing party supplies, food, and alcohol.
A perfect way to cut back on costs and be creative is to choose a theme. A theme helps to minimize the number of food and alcohol choices and encourages guests to be festive. An open bar with mixers, liquor, beer, and wine is a huge expense that can easily blow your budget. Instead, choose one mixed cocktail that punctuates the theme. For a Great Gatsby party, offer champagne cocktails, or for a James Bond party, offer a “shaken, not stirred” martini. No matter what the theme, the single cocktail offering not only saves money but also makes your theme come to life and allows you to showcase your creative flair.
Food choices around a theme can be just as simple. Strategically choose the appetizers, entrée, and dessert according to budget and theme simultaneously. Updated twists on classics like fresh vegetable crudités, deviled eggs, Caesar salad, meat and cheese platters, shrimp cocktails, and lemon cake are great for Gatsby. For Bond, around-the-world delicacies based on movie locales can give you an eclectic and flexible menu while still staying in tune with the theme. Try jerk chicken (to represent the Caribbean, where the first Bond movie took place) or shrimp cocktail in martini glasses.
Choosing decorations for a party can be overwhelming and extremely costly. The good news is that the best choices can also be the simplest. Nothing beats simple candlelight to create a romantic and sophisticated ambiance. No matter if you choose tea lights from the local drugstore, votive candles, or long white candles in various sizes, flickering light in a dimmed room can’t be beat!
Once alcohol, food, and décor are in place, all you have to do is greet your guests and enjoy the company of your friends!
- Set a time. Three weeks prior: Decide on date/time, guest list, budget, and menu, then send out invites and monitor responses.
- Make a plan. Two weeks prior: Finalize menu, tableware, seating, and décor.
- Prepare. Week of: Clean spaces that will be accessible to guests, purchase food and beverages per RSVPs, prep food, arrange seating, set tableware, put up decorations, and have entertainment ready.