Everyone loves a party, but if it’s your turn to host one, it can feel a little daunting. Maybe your wife is about to turn 40, your daughter has just graduated from university or your little darling wants a magician, Dr Who, the Chuckle Brothers and a feast for their 5th birthday. Parties really can be quite easy to organise if you ask for help, delegate, have a budget and plan ahead.
Decide on the budget
Knowing how much you have to spend will make planning far easier. If you don’t begin with a budget, costs can quickly spiral out of control.
They can cost from a few pounds to millions; William and Kate’s wedding in 2011 is estimated to have cost $70 million. However, if you’re on a budget but really want to do something special in a hurry, you could consider a short term loan from one of the many payday lenders, including Quick Quid, Payday Loans or wonga.com. Once you know how much you have to spend, you can start the true planning and if the plan includes paying the short term loan back quickly, then why not?
Write a guest list
Decide on your guest list early and stick to it. If you post it on Facebook or Twitter, you could find yourself with a couple of hundred extra guests!
You’ll need to be quite strict if you’re partying on a budget. When you send out invitations, decide if your single friends can bring a ‘plus one’ and be firm. Children can be an added cost if it’s an adult party, so also make it clear if the little ones are invited too. You could almost half the guest list if you stick to a strict guest list.
Plan the food
Are you cooking a full 5-course meal, or a simple finger buffet? Food is one of the major areas where you can cut costs.
Make this easy on yourself. If you are Nigella or Jamie, doing all catering yourself will be the proverbial piece of cake, but if not you can start stocking your freezer with easy to cook nibbles weeks ahead.
- Sausage rolls
- Potato wedges
- Indian bites
- Spring rolls
- Breaded cheese bites
Add a few dips, carrot sticks and supermarket own label crisps, and you have a cheap buffet.
Are you booking your local manor house with a marque, or using your back garden? Again, this is an area where you can keep costs to a minimum.
Your own house (or garden if the weather behaves) is obviously the most economical venue. Don’t worry about the mess, it’s a party! There are always guests who will give you a hand washing up, and to make this even easier, use paper tablecloths, paper plates and plastic glasses. Don’t go mad on the decorations; you can do this inexpensively too. Dig your Christmas tree lights out from the loft for a bit of glitz; make garlands with colour co-ordinated balloons; add ribbons and bows to your buffet table and cut coloured paper out in spirals to make eye-catching hanging chandeliers. Don’t forget the glitter too!