How to plan a party on a budget

The party season is upon us. Its time to celebrate graduations, anniversaries and a multitude of other occasions and milestones.

We’re cutting back everywhere but do the parties have to go?


Parties related to a significant life events provide an important opportunity to bond and acknowledge people. In essence, they are an extension of the event.

I’ve been in the business for 16 years and have a lot of firsthand experience. I can tell you it’s possible to throw an elegant party without breaking the bank.

Here are some tips on cutting corners while still throwing an amazing event.

1. Host the party at home. This eliminates room rental costs, while providing a more relaxed environment that is not time sensitive. I find that party groups at restaurants, public places or private dining rooms need to be conscious of not overstaying and over celebrating.

2. Food and drink are the next costs to tackle. If one or more of the hosts is adept at food prepartion, I encourage them to keep the cooking in the house. Family members and close friends also can be assigned dishes to prepare and bring. If the group is going to be large, I suggest all or partial catering, but pick up the food to eliminate the delivery charges.

Food and liquor selections have a great impact on costs. For example, choose chicken over beef tenderlion for the entree. Serving beer and wine instead of a full-service, premium-brand bar can bring down the costs as well .

3. Skip the florist and head for the local grocery store to hand-pick your bouquet. Most stores such as Trader Joes or Whole Foods will have pre-arranged bouquets for a fraction of the cost which can be easily create a beautiful tablescape.

By Barbara Gilleece

Party Servers Chicago

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