There have been so many times where I hear people say they want to throw a really nice party but can’t afford anything too crazy. I know that exact feeling because I have said and done it myself. I wanted to throw a surprise party for a relative but I was young at the time and had no idea of all the costs. I had to come up with a budget and be very strict about it. I think that is one of the most important things to do first. Come up with a budget that you are comfortable with and stick to it! Be realistic and save your money as much as possible. Start looking into affordable options. Ask friends and family what they think are some good options.

You can always rent a hall and ask friends and family to help cook food. See if anyone can bake desserts too or just buy cake for the occasion. Offer to pay them for the food and all supplies needed. Most halls will have a bar, you can just have them set it up as a cash bar. Ask if they can put a pitcher of soda and water on each table and let people pay for any alcoholic beverages. If you want to have it at a venue, look into cheaper buffet options or brunch options. Ask them what their cheaper menus are and do the math on how many people you have. Some places you can get a buffet option for under $20 per person. The majority of your budget should be spent on the food.

Determine how many people you really want to have at the party. Set a limit to only family or both friends and family. If you have a big family, like I do, limit it to family and first cousins only. Getting into extended family can start really costing you and hurting feelings! It’s a tough situation. Make sure you are really thinking of all the costs. The more people you have the more food, drinks, invitations, tables, chairs, linens, paper goods, favors, centerpieces, etc. It all adds up pretty quickly!

I always try to do the little things myself. Get some plain cardstock at the store and create your own invitations. It will save some money so you don’t have to buy anything fancy. However, sometimes you can find a really good deal on Vistaprint, especially if they have discounts or sales going on. Same goes for favors and centerpieces. Get creative! I always like looking around online at ideas and coming up with something fun but cheap. Most items you can find at a Dollar Store or online party website like Party City or Oriental Trading. Amazon has always been my favorite for a really good deal though. You can also find most of your paper goods, linens and utensils at any of these sites.

Think of other costs as well, like a DJ, Gratuity for any Servers or Bartenders (if it’s not already included in your bill), photographers, etc. Ask if any of your friends or family are DJ’s or Photographers or knows anyone they would recommend that will be of small cost. Another option would be to just bring speakers and a docking station and set up an IPOD with a playlist you put together. Saves you a lot of money right there. You can also set up cameras on each table and just have guests take pictures or have them take pictures with their phones and tell them to send them all to you!

There are so many ways you can save on your event! You just have to learn how to stretch your dollar and get the most for your money!