Ooh la la! I saw Heather L's Pink Parisian Patisserie Party and I was swooning -- all that pink, all those treats, all those fluffy pom poms!
Then I noticed the budget... $75! Can't be done, I thought. But I was proven wrong. Here's how Heather pulled it off...
Anyone who knows me, knows how much I LOVE to throw a party! I have so many ideas running through my head, it can get overwhelming at times. However, I get a reality check every time I think about actually implementing all of my crazy plans when I remember the “B” word – BUDGET.
As a stay at home mom of five, with a hardworking husband who has recently started his own business, I feel that it is my job to keep a very strict budget when it comes to party planning – but still make those in my life feel special and spoiled! Over time, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks for creating a fabulous party on a budget. Here are a few ways I saved money but still managed to get the look of a more extravagant party.
Use what you have, borrow what you don’t! This is my favorite tip, and I cannot stress this enough. For this particular party, my daughter wanted a cupcake/bakery theme. As I was thinking of ideas for the party, I realized that a French bakery theme would be cute – especially since my daughters’ shared bathroom is decorated in a pink/black Parisian theme.
I simply borrowed some items from their bathroom – like the metal Eiffel tower, a small painting, a cute poodle, and much more! I also pulled many things from both daughters’ rooms. If it was pink or black, I grabbed it =)
I had a ton of tulle on hand (that I have kept since my 12 year old daughter’s fourth birthday!) so I used tulle on everything. For NO money, I had instant party décor. As you are deciding on a theme, think about what you have in your house that matches your colors – maybe there is a red bucket, a cute aqua shelf, or a pink bird cage that would look just PERFECT dressed up for your party. Additionally, borrow what you can – for my Paris party, I borrowed several serving plates/platters as well as both tablecloths I used.
Don’t plan your party during a meal time. I purposely planned our party for 2:00 – 4:00 pm. I knew that I couldn’t afford to serve a huge spread of food, so I kept it light and simple – and it was perfect for little tummies!
I served cupcakes (baked at home using boxed mix and canned frosting that I piped on to look more “professional”), sugar cookies I baked and decorated myself, marshmallow pops (I already had the marshmallows and just purchased pink candy melts with a coupon), a little candy, and some grapes and pretzels to balance out all the sweet stuff. I already had the grapes and pretzels on hand for my kids’ lunches, so I only had to purchase a few items. Our drinks were inexpensive “Shirley Temples” made with Sprite and grenadine.
The kids had plenty to eat and most even took some treats home with them. If I had served lunch, I would have busted my budget for sure.
Start planning early. I always start planning my parties well in advance. One reason for this is that I just can’t help myself – I’m always looking forward to the next party =)
The main reason, though, is so I can start looking for items that are deeply discounted that go with my theme. You can find cute buckets, frames, serving pieces, scrapbook paper/supplies, etc. on major clearance at craft stores if you know what you are looking for. It might be on sale six months before your party, but if you know your theme ahead of time you can purchase it at a great price.
Use party printables (reasonably priced ones). In my opinion, cute party printables really do make your party. However, you have to factor in the cost of purchasing them as well as printing them. If you purchase a very expensive party printable package and then go to the office supply store to get it printed (or use up all of your own very expensive ink!), you might be shocked at how much of your budget is gone. Shop around, and find a reasonably priced printable package.
I was able to find a great one for my Paris party for only $10! Even if you can only afford to get one printable item, such as cupcake toppers/party circles, print a bunch of them and use them everywhere. Other than cupcakes, you can use them as favor tags, to dress up store bought party hats, or even glue them to ribbons and have them hanging from your chandelier. For my Paris party, my very talented mom embellished the already adorable banner that I printed, and it looked like a million bucks!
Do it yourself. People tell me all the time that they “can’t” make things, or they “aren’t crafty.” Well, let me tell you – if you have a small budget, you’ll figure it out quickly =)
Every single party I do, I make most of the decorations. There are SO many tutorials out there in blog land – just Google what you are looking for and you are sure to find instructions on how to make it. Everything might not be perfect, but my kids don’t care – and they are SO proud to tell their friends, “My mom made that!”
For this party, I wanted a beautiful floral arrangement for my front door, and while I do consider myself pretty crafty, I am NO floral arranger – at all! But, I was determined, so I purchased five bunches of flowers at the Dollar Tree and played around with them in a door bucket I already had until I achieved the look I liked. I tied a little ribbon and tulle around it, stuck in a party sign (and a cute little poodle) and voila! I can only imagine how much I would have paid a professional to design that bucket for me. Certainly more than the $5 it cost me =)
Here is the breakdown of the cost of my party. (My mom purchased the adorable little macarons from Trader Joe's as well as some of the candy):
- Printables/printing - $15
- Paper goods - $12
- French cupcake tags (used as party décor) - $4
- Flowers (from Dollar Tree – five bunches) - $5
- Candy - $6
- Poodles (party favors – purchased from Oriental Trading) - $15
- Craft supplies - $9 (I already had many supplies on hand, such as ribbon, glue, tulle, rhinestones, etc.)
- Baking supplies - $8 (had some on hand, only needed to purchase candy melts and some extra canned icing)
Just amazing, Heather! Thank for sharing all your smart tips. It shows that with a little ingenuity, you can add lots of special touches without spending a fortune.
If you haven't already, check out the rest of Heather's chic party.