Friday, December 21, 2012

Party on a Penny

I blogged a few days ago about a Christmas party I got to throw for my nieces and my inspiration for it: wrapping paper. Earlier in December I showed you my own kids' Christmas party and once again the inspiration piece was: wrapping paper!

If you're like me, you browse Pinterest and drool at all the amazingly detailed events pinned on there. It's hard to imagine being able to come even close to that level of customization and detail, especially on a budget. 

Since I don't have an unlimited budget {far from it!} I've had to study those photos and try to figure out what it is that makes them look so darn amazing. Here are a few things that I've noticed:
  • Repeating Colors and Patterns - this doesn't necessarily mean everything is matching, but the same pattern and colors appear throughout the event

  • Order & Symmetry - I'm referring to the main food/dessert table here. Typically, things appear in rows and are almost always plated, even if it's not necessary (i.e. water bottles lined on a tray). And everything should have a place, so that it's obvious the layout was well-planned.

  • Details, Details, Details- This may seem obvious, but those amazing parties you see on Pinterest are full of details. Once you really start looking and dissecting each picture, it's like a new treasure is hidden around every corner. Which can be expesnive, but doesn't have to be. It may take a little more time, and certainly your *imagination*, but even on a budget you can get down to those little details and create a fabulous, affordable event.
  • Depth, Height, Variety - Chris Nease over at Celebrations at Home has a great post about how to create the perfect food table. I took lots of tips from her and reference the post when planning a new layout. She also has lots of other great basic party planning tips - a great website for the party planning novice!

Keeping those four points in mind, I always sit down with a good old-fashioned pencil and paper and brainstorm ideas along with a simple sketch. By simple, I mean {SIMPLE}. I don't end up with a final version until the day of the event, when I actually have all the decorations and food in hand, but my sketches at least give me a reference point and help me cover all the basics.

Knowing what looks great is one thing....doing that on a budget is a whole other story! I'm no where near being an expert on this, but I have learned a few tricks that I think will help you on your next Budget-Friendly Event! They are:
  • Package it! I don't have the money to buy all custom foods, but for a few dollars I can purchase cute packaging and keep the party looking professional and coordinated. These little red boxes were about $5 for two dozen from Oriental Trading Company. I housed generic fruit snacks and split up a bulk bag of freeze dried peas into each, added a little embellishment, and ended up with really cute, coordinating pieces for my food table!
  • Think Bulk - To accomplish all those repeating patterns, you need a lot of something. Rather than buying all sorts of individual decorations for parts of your party (which can also be really time consuming & frustrating), find an affordable wrapping paper or fabric that you love and develop your party around it. For the two Christmas parties I just threw, I started with wrapping paper because I can buy it in bulk at a very low cost, it's readily available, and there is a ton you can do with it. Such as....
*Drink wraps*  

*Food packaging*

This one goes back to the first tip...I used old paper towel rolls and put baggies of goldfish inside each, wrapped them in the coordinating wrapping paper and ended up with a great addition to my food table for almost nothing! 


I especially loved the deer silhouette on this wrapping paper, so I traced it and used a sheet of black felt to cut out some extra deer embellishments to use around the party.

*Cupcake Wraps*

*Framed Prints*
My backdrop consisted of a yarn wreath embellished with a felt deer silhouette and two white frames holding a piece of the wrapping paper, all hung by red ribbon.

Yes, I even used the wrapping paper to actually wrap something!

*Drink Labels* 
  • Splurge Once or Twice - My last little nugget of advice is to choose one or two details of the party to splurge on. This will add some of that WOW to the party that you want and will also help you not feel quite so bound by your pocketbook. I usually pick one or two resuable items to splurge on {such as a new serving tray, centerpiece decor, etc.} and one disposable item {such as a custom dessert}.  

I'd love to hear some of your party tips and tricks. Hope mine will prove to be helpful when planning your next event. Merry Christmas and don't forget to...

 Celebrate life, one day at time!

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1 comment:

  1. so adorable! i love your creative ideas & that you're willing to share. so inspiring ;)


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