Posts Tagged ‘entertaining on a budget’

If you’ve been avoiding hosting an event or party because of the expense involved, think about budget-friendly entertaining. Yes, there is such a thing! In fact, when you pair creativity and resourcefulness with some simple tips, you’ll find entertaining within your means is fun.
Set Your Budget
Decide how much you’d like to spend and then stay within that budget. A  good way to figure out the cost of a dinner party is to divide the amount you are planning to spend by the number of guests who will be attending. If you want to spend $150 and you are inviting 10 guests, plan to spend about $15 per person. When setting your budget, remember any price range will work if you are creative with your party ideas.
Set Realistic Expectations
What is the one thing you want to focus on with your party?  Is it an unbelievable menu? Exotic food? Breathtaking decor? What is the one area you want to be outstanding for your guests? Once you decide on your focus, plan your party budget by scaling back on certain areas and highlighting your main focus. What aspect of throwing a party excites you the most? This is the area where you will shine and where you should focus. If you are a fabulous cook, friends most likely enjoy feasting at your home. If you have an artistic flair, put your focus in the decorations.
Spend Wisely
If you are hosting a huge dinner party on a low budget, shop at wholesale stores. Keeping your menu simple will also cut costs. Choose something easy like an Italian theme and feed the masses with lasagna, bread and salad for a very low cost. If you want to do a Chinese  theme, whip up some stir fry, fried rice and have fortune cookies for dessert. A Mexican Fiesta could be nachos and  tacos. Shop for fun decorations at a dollar store. Look at items with a creative eye and you’ll be amazed at what you find. A recent trip to the dollar store ended with a purchase of metal candle sticks and marble coasters that, when glued together, created a perfect stand for oversized cupcakes! Candles also lend a festive mood and can be put into a variety of interesting containers you may already have for stunning centerpieces or accent lighting. This time of year, you can bring the outdoors inside with twigs, leaves and  pinecones to create centerpieces or accent table settings.
Serve Only One Course
If you are on a really tight budget, have friends over for dessert and coffee.  Fruit dipped in melted chocolate or a signature dessert that everyone loves would be very much appreciated. Or invite friends over for appetizers and beverages. Meatballs, cheeses and finger foods are always popular!Exchange Recipes

Hosting a recipe exchange is extremely budget friendly. You invite a group of friends to bring a favorite dish and enough copies of the recipe for all attendees to have one. Everyone samples the dishes, takes the recipes of those they like and there is minimum cost to the host, who is then credited for having a fabulous party with tons of great food. The only cost to you is your own dish, beverages and decorations. You can also use this recipe exchange idea during the holidays for a cookie exchange.

Host a Competition
Throw a best entrée or meat competition. You provide a salad, beverages, bread and dessert, your guests bring the entrées and compete for the winning title. You will need to furnish a prize for the “people choice” award winner, but it is a fun way to give your guests a variety of eating options. The prize could be a certificate you create or something inexpensive like a pack of recipe cards.Create a Welcoming Atmosphere

Warmth and genuine hospitality are free, but often overlooked. Greet your guests with warmth and enthusiasm, make them feel welcome, and you will have created a memorable experience. Turn the radio to an appropriate station that goes with your party theme. Light candles or turn your lighting to a warm glow. Fill your home with inviting scents – which could even come from a crock pot filled with cinnamon and apple juice.  Be gracious and that is what your guests will remember – not how much money you did or didn’t spend, but how wonderful you made them feel in your home.

Parties are all about the people, so make your next gathering one to remember!
Happy Entertaining!

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