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How to throw a big party on a small budget

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How to throw a big party on a small budget

Hosting a fabulous party doesn't need to drain your bank account . There are lots of affordable and creative ideas for catering, decoration, and party styling that are sure to impress your guests. If you have an expensive idea then rethink it and see if you can turn it into a handmade or homemade idea.  Focus on keeping things minimal and easy to do.  It's totally still possible to wow, even with a limited budget.

I'm going to share with you some ideas of how to turn that tiny budget into an unforgettable party. Remember, that every party is a networking opportunity, especially for those of us who have our own businesses.  Friends and family are always so interested in what me and my husband do as our businesses, so before you start making a plan, have your mini business cards ready to be sure they check out your website after the party.

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Photo by Amy Shamblen 

Send paper invites

Sending some beautiful handmade paper invitations make the event extra special and shows you are putting the effort in, especially if it's  a special occasion and you need a RSVP from everyone.  It's more personalised than sending a group text and gives the first impression of your fabulous party.  There are lots of ideas or templates online if you are not a very creative person.

Choose a party theme

Choosing to have a theme for a party can sometimes seamlessly tie a party together.  It doesn't have to be costly or complicated either, but something as simple as a colour theme which runs from the invites through to the colour of the decor at the party.

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Photo by Amy Shamblen 

You could choose a rustic look and feel for the invites and then continue this with the decor by covering recycled glass jars in jute material and tying with brown string, then popping wither candles in the jars or water and daisies from your garden.  None of this needs to cost a fortune - pick your own flowers from the garden, use what you have or check charity shops.  Pinterest is an amazing resource if you are looking for inspiration and decor ideas.

Do it yourself when you can

A DIY party decoration can often be better looking and more thoughtful than a store-bought version, plus it can be more cost effective. All you need is some inspiration and creative ideas and you might even have all the materials you need already at home.  For a child's birthday party, for example, you could decorate a paper table covering with colours and characters that suit the theme or that are their favourite. Or draw outlines of characters that the party kids can decorate themselves - now you have a great tablecloth for the party and a party game in one!

Don't go overboard on food

If you're entertaining on a budget then expensive menus are going to be off the list.  Instead throw a buffet style party or nibbles. If you're throwing a kids party then create them each a little lunchbox to ensure there is no food waste and money wasted.  Simply pop each child's lunchbox meal in a striped paper bag and tie with streamer to make it more partyish and exciting!

You could always arrange the party to be held outside of eating hours, for example a kids party between 2-4pm when no one is hungry.  Simply state 'light snacks serves' on the invite and lay out a few bowls of crisps, bread sticks, crackers and vegetable fingers.

Or, if you're hosting a BBQ then ask guests to bring they're own food - whatever they desire to be BBQd.  You'll cook, but they can supply what they like to eat!

Offer a signature drink

Signature drinks are a great way to save money when party planning and will keep costs within your budget.  Unlike an open bar, where costs can quickly add up especially if you're trying to offer drinks to suit all manner of tastes, offering a signature drink instead will be much more affordable.  Create a big post of mulled wine for a festive party or a large bowl of a fruity cocktail for a summer party with a ladle and glasses for guests to help themselves.

Again, you can always state BYOB on the party invitations (Bring Your Own Beer).

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Photo by Amy Shamblen 

Some of us don't drink alcohol, like me, or people might be designated drivers and only on soft drinks, so make sure these are served too.  There's also no need to have to serve alcohol at a party.  Why not have an afternoon tea party instead and actually serve several different pots of herbal and flavoured teas.  Very civilised!

Hire or borrow instead of buying everything

If this is a one-off special event that isn't likely to happen again, then you'll be wasting money on buying expensive equipment if you can hire it instead just this once.  Check with friends and family to see what tables and chairs can be borrowed if you need more, or check local marketplace's or thrift stores to find some for cheap.  We hired hay bales from a local farmer when we hosted our garden wedfest.

Ask guests to bring their own

As mentioned above, you could ask guests to bring their own.  Quite often guests will ask what they can bring anyway as they don't want to turn up empty handed!  it's quite normal to ask them to bring their own drinks and you'll supply the food, or to ask them to bring one of the courses such as starter or dessert.

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Photo by Amy Shamblen 

Create your own music instead of hiring a band

Create a party playlist before the event which is full of your favourite tunes that are suitable for the big event.  Make sure there's enough to last the event or only loop a couple of times so as people don't get bored of the song choices.  Use a bluetooth speaker to play the music wherever the party is being held and make sure it's fully charged.  


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How to throw a big party on a small budget