Who doesn't love the idea of hosting a memorable party, one that feels thoughtful and generous, in addition to being a lot of fun? It's easy to do when the budget is unlimited, but even when cost is a major concern, you can throw a party that makes your guests feel like a million bucks. Here are the three strategies I used for the outdoor movie party I've been sharing this week, as well as the one money-saving idea I wish I had used.
Budget Strategy #1: Stick to Snacks
Budget Strategy #2: Pay Attention to the Details
First, I turned a portion of it into homemade Cracker Jack, which took more time and just a little extra money, but was definitely more impressive than plain popcorn or store-bought caramel corn. Second, I used printable labels to turn plain brown lunch bags into personalized popcorn bags, which made serving and eating even plain popcorn a little more fun.
And if you are putting a lot of effort into the food and drinks, consider displaying a menu somewhere. Guests always love knowing what they are eating and it's a classy way to broadcast the effort that went into the food and drinks.
Budget Strategy #3: Create an Impressive Moment
You can create the same effect by bringing around a tray of appetizers hot out of the oven, carrying out a cake or other dessert from the kitchen, or pouring a round of sparkling wine for a toast midway through the party. Anything that makes people stop, gather and enjoy a moment together adds another dimension to your gathering, without much added expense.
Budget Strategy #4: Share the Burden of Booze Costs
I know that the quality of the alcohol offered isn't a concern for everyone — my husband would happily drink Two Buck Chuck and Bud Light at every party — but if I were throwing the party all over again, I'd provide beer and wine to get the party started, ask guests to bring whatever they would like to drink during the movie, and use the extra money to make (or buy!) one more substantial snack.
What are your strategies for throwing parties that feel generous but don't break the bank?
(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)