Whether it’s a casual get-together or a special celebration, having friends and family over can be stressful! You may be tempted to go overboard on everything from food to décor and spend way more money that you want to be (or should be) spending.
So stop right there — we’ve got the perfect budget party planning list for you to try out. You can still host a great event without spending a small fortune, and we bet your guests will still be just as impressed as if you did!
Food is arguably the most important part of a party, and it’s also where you’re most likely to go over budget. Using complicated recipes, preparing too many portions, buying expensive ingredients — the pitfalls are everywhere. Our favourite ways to beat the food buying frenzy? Stick to finger foods and/or have a potluck.
Whatever finger foods you choose should be easy to make, require readily available ingredients and taste good. Bonus points if you can assemble them ahead of time! These are some of our favourites:
Designating your get-together as a potluck event is the perfect way to keep your food expenditures to a minimum, especially if you’re expecting a crowd. Prepare a main entrée that’s enough for everyone (maybe crockpot chicken tikka masala) and your guests can provide the rest!
Beverages comprise the second biggest party pitfall, especially if you plan on serving alcohol. If it’s a must, make it a BYOB get together. Guests can bring their favourite drinks, saving you from a significant expense. If, however, you really want to provide some fun drinks, we suggest providing one “signature drink” or two to three non-alcoholic drinks. You can easily whip up some fun beverages that are sure to impress and cost a fraction of the price. Start out with one (or both) of our top picks:
Orange Slush Punch
1 packet Jell-O, orange flavoured
1 packet Jell-O, cherry flavoured
2 cups sugar
5 cups boiling water
8 cups orange juice
3 litres ginger ale
- Stir sugar, orange Jell-O and cherry Jello-O together in a large bowl. Add boiling water and whisk until dissolved.
- Whisk in orange juice.
- Transfer the mixture to two large, freezer-safe containers and freeze overnight.
- When ready to serve, place mixture in a large punch bowl. Break up the frozen mixture with a spoon and pour ginger ale over the top.
Basil Lemonade Punch
1 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed and coarsely chopped
¼ cup sugar
3 cups lemonade
3 cups seltzer water
1 lemon sliced
- In a large pitcher, muddle the basil and sugar together. Add the lemonade and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add seltzer and lemon slices and top with ice.
What’s a party without a little flair here and there? Even a casual gathering can benefit from some nice touches around the areas where guests are most likely to congregate. The key detail here is “little.” A few touches here and there go a long way for setting the tone and for keeping your budget in check!
Using What You Have
We’re big proponents of using things you already have around your home. Take for instance glasses and serving ware: If you have enough for your party, use it all. It saves you from buying disposable plates, glasses and cutlery. Plus, you’re helping to cut down on plastic use. That’s a great help to the environment, and we bet your guests will appreciate using real serving ware. Maybe you can even get them to help with the dishes later!
If you’re looking to spruce up your space, we like the idea of modifying things you already have (like updating plain vases) and creating simple yet festive decorative elements (like these wall flowers).
You could really incorporate any of these fun crafting ideas for your party. The trick is to find decorations you can make with materials you already have on-hand. You might be surprised at all the things you can design with some construction paper, double-stick tape, thread and scissors.
If You Must Buy
If you’re short on time and crafting just isn’t an option, visit the nearest party supply store. You should be able to find festive and budget-friendly items at stores like Partyrama, Party Pieces and Party Delights. Just be sure to have a set shopping list before you go — it will keep you from grabbing unnecessary items and help you stick to your budget!
(n.d.). 20 Non-Alcoholic Party Drinks Everyone Will Love. Retrieved 22 February 2018 from https://www.tablespoon.com/posts/20-non-alcoholic-party-drinks-everyone-will-love
L’Italien, J. (n.d.). 33 Easy DIY Decorating Ideas for Your Next Party. Retrieved 22 February 2018 from http://www.hgtv.com/design/make-and-celebrate/entertaining/diy-party-decor-simple-and-creative-ideas-for-your-next-bash-pictures