You have an event coming up and you need it to be fantastic, but let’s be honest – you’re in two weddings, you have a baby on the way and you just took a family trip to Europe – so you’re a little strapped for cash.
News Flash: You can STILL plan an awesome event, even if you’re on a budget. Here are some tips and tricks for doing just that.
Keep Your Invites Digital
You need to get the word out there, but just don’t want to spend the money on the invitations and postage. Use websites like evite to send out your digital invitation – especially if you have a younger guest list. If you have a mixed guest list – you could send out the digital invites to your tech-savvy friends and family, and purchase a few physical invites to send to guests like your Grandma Karen.
Make Your Own Décor
Do you spend time on Pinterest, wishing you could make all of the awesome things you see? Well, the truth is – you probably can. Or, if you can’t you probably have a crafty friend you can call. Have a friend with good handwriting? Go buy a piece of wood and some paint, and ask her to come over and write on the sign you want to make. Need something really tall for centrepieces? Use sticks and a little spray paint if you need to change the colour. Sticks are a great way to add height without adding a lot of money.
The Dollar Store Is Your Friend
You’d be surprised what you can find at the good ol' dollar store. Go there to get things that might not matter as much – a votive candle is a votive candle. Save a little money there and get the less expensive version. Need some streamers? They’ll likely have those too.
Make Your Dessert
Desserts can be the best part of some events. Let’s be honest – you’re the stealer of the cakes at all of those weddings you’ve been attending. But, desserts can really add up – especially if you want to do something like a dessert bar. Desserts are can also be pretty easy to make on your own. But, if you don’t have a baking bone in your body – give your retired Aunt Judy a call – she’d probably be delighted to make your cupcakes.
Skip The Band
While bands can provide excellent entertainment for guests - they can also make a big dent in your budget. Download Spotify or Pandora, pick a station and hook it up to your speaker. You’re set! Don’t have a speaker? I bet your friend does.
Collect Your Own Games
Having an outside BBQ? Get your friends to bring over some of their yard games so you can have a variety. Throwing a baby shower? Use your friend Google – there’s tons of games available online and all you need to do is print them out.
Farmers Market Flowers
I know I’m a big advocate of the farmer’s market – but if you need some fresh flowers to spruce up the place, don’t hesitate to make a visit to pick up some inexpensive bunches of flowers. Give them a fresh cut, place them in a mason jar and you suddenly have centrepieces.
Put Away Your Tablecloth
Gone are the days of fancy white tablecloths – unless you’re having a fancy party of course. During your dollar store visit pick up a role of the brown craft paper – ( you can find it in the form of wrapping paper). Use this as your tablecloth. You can even write some fun messages on there for your guests.
Make Your Food
Food and alcohol are typically going to be the more expensive parts of your event. If you’re having a small to mid-sized party, try to make the food yourself. You can keep it simple and do something like grilling or fancy cold cut sandwiches. If this stresses you out, you can always have a few things catered – like the salads, and you provide the meat. Or, you could divvy up your needs and ask your friends and family to pitch-in. Here are some ideas for simple DIY food at parties:
- Taco bar
- Make your own personal pizza (only if you have enough oven and/or grill space)
- Charcuterie platter – you can never go wrong with a little meat and cheese
- Fish fry – have a fisherman in your family? Maybe they’ll be able to catch a few fresh fins
- Make your own burger bar
Buy Bulk Beverages
Want to serve alcohol, but know it’s the most expensive part? Don’t be above boxed wine and keg beer. Boxed wine has come a LONG way from the days of Franzia, and keg beer can be good, despite the memories you might have from college keggers. Don’t get the bottom of the barrel beer – but bulk could end up saving you in the long run.
If you want to include some non-alcoholic options, hire out some drink dispensers, and make some large pitchers of infused “spa” water, and punch. This can be a good way to cut out purchasing cans and bottles of soda.
Bring Your Camera
If you’ve read the previous blog posts, you know how important I think capturing your event is. So, don’t forget to assign your friend to taking photos – or look to the local photo school and hire a photography student looking to earn a few extra dollars.
So my friends, I advise you not to get discouraged if you’re planning an event on a budget. Know there are many things you can do to still make your event feel special!