Some of my most rewarding moments as an event planner are times clients call me super excited to share feedback from their guests on how fancy their event was, many times they tell me everyone said ” it must have cost a fortune” or “where did you get that” (then they are shocked to find out where or how). This past weekend I helped a friend plan a dinner party we kept it simple, chic, and best of all CHEAP! (shhh)
A great event does not have to put you in debt: negotiation skills, a few great sales, and a little creativity can stretch your budget like its nobody’s business, or party:)
Here I will give some tips on how to have an impressive dinner party without breaking the bank.
1) Order your Wine by the Case – You get a discount, you will not run out of wine, and you will have some left over for your next event
2) Recycle – I think the most beautiful vases for your wine bar are wine bottles, also Patron bottles have a unique shape and have enough weight to make tall centerpieces. Old fabrics can change the entire look of your space.
3) Candles are Classic – nothing says fine dining like gorgeous lighting! Dim your lights, use those fabrics if you need too, and light those candles. Places like Ikea, Pier One Imports, even dollar stores have great prices and unique candle holders. Just remember scented candles should only be used in the restroom, no one wants to inhale ocean breeze scent as they are taking a bite of food.
4) 50/50 Food – Catering can be expensive and while a restaurant may have an amazing Sea Bass or Filet Mignon do you really need to have the salad, breads, vegetables, and starches catered too? Figure out what you can make yourself that does not take too much time to save money.
5) Potluck – How many times have you had a party and everyone brings dessert and you are left eating cheesecake and pastries and gaining 5 lbs the next week? Well an easy way to avoid that without turning away homemade goodies is adding a potluck rsvp to your invite, have spots for desserts, appetizers, and entrees . Who ever does not rsvp with what they are bringing will usually ask what they should bring – that is the perfect opportunity to fill in some blanks before your trip to the store. I cannot recommend having a theme too so foods and wine complement each other.
6) Signature Cocktails – You will all soon learn about my signature cocktail obsession, and they do not always have to have alcohol, but this past weekend’s cocktail did. It was a revamp of the Christmas Cookie Cocktail (everyone seems to love the non-pareil rim) We added cherry heart candies some clear peach soda, a few drops of red coloring and cherry vodka. I recommend the small martini glasses because you can make them as strong as a shot and still keep it classy.
7) Entertainment – Can you play guitar or piano? Well if you can or one of your guests can always offer that up. It is so beautiful and intimate to gather around some live music. If you do not, no worries just have a good playlist picked out on the mp3 player. Games are always good to have on hand as well.
“Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity.”
Peace, Love & Dandelions