I am a party-hosting fiend, my friends. I LOVE hosting parties at our house, and everything that comes along with it. Cooking, planning, decorating, drinking, hosting, drinking...it's all good! So when it was time to start making New Years Eve plans (read: July), I decided that we would host a swanky NYE party at our house with some of our friends. I decided on a color palette of gold, white, and black because I thought that it would be the easiest to decorate for, and also the most elegant. I planned this whole party on a strict budget (we spent less than $30 on decorations total- including champagne glasses!). Here are
a gazilliion a few pictures from the evening! (Also, there are several projects in these pictures that I have not shared with you yet...can you spot them?)
When we invited our friends, we asked them to bring a bottle of liquor in lieu of anything else. I have been vigorously stocking my new bar cart with all of the fixins'...included proper glassware!
Here is our buffet with some of the glassware for the evening.
I purchased a few emergency candles from the Dollar Store, and painted gold polka dots on them! Cheap, and they last forever! I also made a tissue paper garland that I'm sure you've seen all over Pinterest.
We had hourly activities...(I ordered gold and white pearl balloons on eBay from China. SO much cheaper than Party City!)
When I took our Christmas tree down, I saved all of the ornanents (I only used gold and silver this year) and put them in vases. If you follow me on Instagram (scsmith1), then you saw this already! I also bought a roll of gold polka dot wrapping paper from Hobby Lobby, and used that as a table runner on every surface. This looked great, and was such an easy clean-up!
Party favors (I glued gold garland around the top and bottoms of the hats to make them more festive).
This is where I got crazy. I wanted to make mylar garland that I could hang from the ceiling, but I didn't want to pay $3 for three sheets. So instead I ordered an emergency blanket on eBay (from China) that was gold on one side and silver on the other. I cut long strips and taped them to the ceiling. The blanket only cost .89 cents- including shipping!
Cardboard letters covered in gold tissue paper.
My mother-in-law trimmed the branches off of one of her trees and gave them to me. I spray painted them gold, and put them in a large vase. We all wrote down out New Years resolutions and hung them from the tree! Oh, and there's champagne. FYI- Ikea sells a six-pack of champagne flutes for $4.99. No more plastic for your guests!
Balloons and Dollar Store hanging stars (that were technically Christmas decorations and 50% off after December 25th. .50 cents each!)
Horseradish cream cheese, sauteed green beans, and roast beef wraps. My favorite.
Streamers from the loft.
I made a photo booth backdrop out of the wrapping paper form Hobby Lobby, and added a few tissue paper pom-poms and streamers. Here's Nick and I ringing in the New Year!
In other party news, I also hosted an engagement party for my friends, Chris and Lauren. There were about 40 people packed into our house, so I came up with the idea of an evening champagne brunch. Breakfast food is cheap and easy to make, and everyone loves it!
Mimosa bar, complete with different juices and fruit.
Champagne and paper straws! (Pack of 20 at Target for $1.99!)
I didn't even get a chance to try one of these cinnamon rolls...
Mini silver dollar pancake stacks! These were a hit.
They specifically requested a photo booth for this party as well, so I bought a roll of craft paper, and drew a floral design with oil pastels.
I re-used the branches from NYE and hung some baby pictures of the couple by the front door!
My photo booth drawing...I was worried about this, but they loved it! (at least, that's what they told me...) We had everyone sign the paper at the end of the night like one giant guest book. I rolled it up and gave it to them to take home!
Some of the recycled NYE decor, with a little splash of their wedding colors!
I took the Christmas ornaments out of the vases and replaced them with candles. The more candles, the better!
The combination of my wonky lens and the fact that both of these parties happened at night makes for pretty crappy pictures.
Here are a few tips that I've learned along the way:
1. Explore all resources. While places like Etsy and Party City have everything your might be looking for, they also might charge a pretty penny for something that you can do yourself. Look on eBay, craft stores, sales racks, anywhere! You can find so much just where you wouldn't expect it. Use wrapping paper as table runners! Emergency blankets as ceiling decor!
2. Be willing to DIY. You will save even more money if you are willing to spray paint that pink tray blue if it suits your party's needs. Make bunting banners out of craft paper! Paint dollar store candles! Make tissue paper garland! Your fingers might hate you, but your wallet will be happy.
3. Pick a theme. This will help you streamline your ideas and plans, and give you some confines to work within- this will absolutely help you edit! For example, I knew that we would have to feed a lot of people at my friend's engagement party. Because I always let my budget dictate what kind of party I would have, I tried to think of the least expensive way to feed 40 people. Breakfast food! Brunch party! Mimosa bar! It all fell into place, people loved it, and it was easy and less expensive than a full out dinner.
4. Think outside the chips and salsa. Yes, I know that hot dogs and chips and salsa are so easy (we do this at least monthly with friends over the summer), but you will be surprised at what kind of party you can plan if you're resourceful. We spent about the same, if not less, on the the brunch party as we would have on chips and salsa, and burgers and hot dogs for everyone.
5. Finally, go with neutral decor. Vases and white candles, black and white decor, silver and gold knick knacks, neutral napkins, etc. can go a long way for each party! If you have a good base of neutral decor, it's easier to sprinkle in color here and there to make each party look different. Those small decor items will cost a lot less than buying all brand new items in a specific color for each party. Recycling can be your best friend!
Have you thrown any parties lately? Have any other tips you'd like to add? I'd love to hear about them!
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