First, figure out a theme. This is the best part, but also, the most difficult. There are soooo many adorable and creative themes out there. And if you are like me and obsessed with Pintrest, then good luck. This step is going to take you a while. Pick a theme that will compliment the type of party you are having. If it's a child's birthday, pick something they are into at the moment like Hello Kitty, or Construction. Even Barney can be done very tastefully if you use some creativity. ;)
If you are hosting a bridal shower, think of an elegant theme. I love vintage inspired for a bridal party, especially if the bride is totally into that stuff. Try to incorporate the bride to be's personality. If she is into designer labels, throw an awesome fashion party incorporating her favorite labels into the decor. Go flower crazy and throw her a beautiful garden party with tea and pretty desserts. Any girl would love that. Whatever theme you choose, make sure it works well with the party and person you are throwing it for.
Decorations can get very pricey and it is so easy to get distracted and go way off budget. Try using your crafty side for this one. Using pretty printed paper to make beautiful fans or a great original banner would be super cute and super inexpensive. Using aluminum cans and spray painting them in gold or whatever color your party theme is, and sticking flowers in them would be a perfect money saving tip for dressing up any table scape. Choose flowers that are pretty but on the cheaper side. Like Gerber daisy's or carnations. Roses and Hydrangeas are beautiful but can be pretty pricey. Go on a hike and collect long branches and twigs. Stick them in a tall vase, it'll add instant drama to your tables. Throwing a vintage themed tea party? What better place to shop for mixed matched tea cups and vases than at the local thrift store? You would be surprised at what you can find and how cheap it is. These days die cutting is so popular and I happen to be obsessed with my die cutting machine. Cut out great silhouettes of things that go with your party theme, add some string and hang them from the ceiling. I did my son's construction birthday party just like that. Yellow hard hats and orange caution cones were hanging right above my table scape. It was perfect. There is so much you can improvise with to decorate your party on a budget.
Food. A very important part of a party. I honestly would spend most of my budget here. You want your guests to go home full and happy. If you feed them good, they'll remember that party forever. Don't go crazy with appetizers if you are having a main course. And try doing it simple. Use things like toothpicks and labels to dress up your appetizers. Remember, even the food table is decoration for your party. So make sure you dress it up. If you are on a tight budget make your party a potluck or do an appetizer only party. Whatever you choose, make sure its all tasty and looks good!!
The candy bar. The major hit of the party. You can have a whole table dedicated to candy and desserts, or you can incorporate a few cute jars and bowls of candy onto your food table if your party is on the small side. When doing a candy bar you want to remember a few things. Obviously your budget, the color scheme of your party, and presentation. You want to make the candy bar very eye catching. It's the decor of your party. Dress it up right with glass apothecary jars or even acrylic tall vases would do the trick. You want to have different size jars and vases and fill them to the top with hard candy. If you want to incorporate lollipops and things use shorter vases and use a hard candy as filler, then stick the pops in. They'll stand up much better. Use things around the house and be creative. I remember I filling my son's toy dump trucks with M&M's for his construction themed birthday party.
Mason jars would be a fun and inexpensive alternative to glass vases. You can even add some height to your candy bar by stacking a few books under the table cloth here and there, then putting a candy vase or jar on top of the covered books. This gives good drama to any table scape. This would work great for your food table as well.
Party favors. Keep it simple and sweet. Tiny labeled jars filled with candy, or cute baggies with toy goodies. Or vintage tea cups that were used for the vintage table scape. Guest love taking something home to remember your party. Even a little handmade card with a nice thank you note would do the trick. You just want your guest to know you appreciated their presence at your party.
Using thrift store finds to decorate make a beautiful table scape. Perfect for a vintage party on budget. Use love notes, dollies, and strands of pearls for an elegant touch.
Paper makes great decorations. And it's super cheap. Plus, you can use them in your photo album of the party after it's all over! ;)
Here are some paper fans I used as a backdrop for a wedding reception. They were super easy to make and I'll share on how to make them next time. ;)
I hope some of these tips help you when you plan your next party. Follow these and you are sure to stay on budget and still have a fabulous party.