9 Tips For Planning a Party On A Budget

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Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone had a fab weekend–I sure did! My daughter’s 3rd ‘Golden Birthday’ party went off without a hitch, (other than the giant gold mylar, ‘3’ balloon escaping in to the sky). As promised last week, I have compiled a tips & tricks list for planning a great party on a budget. This is kind of my specialty–ask me how I managed to create our 120-guest wedding, for under $10,000. (It can be done!) My favorite part of planning a party on a budget, is making it look like I had no budget.

So without further or due, here is what has worked for me:

1. USE WHAT YOU HAVE

This is number one for a reason. Assuming you have already picked a theme and a location, scour your house for things you already own that can be used to decorate. I am a person who loves a good theme, so I like to really use props and details to accentuate it. This includes, but is not limited to: serving-ware, garlands/banners/buntings, frames and pictures, art, wall decor, baskets and decorative boxes, mason jars, and anything I can spray paint. I can’t afford to purchase all new decor for every party I throw, and to be honest, I don’t really love the super matchy-matchy look.

We already had this chair, so I masked it off and sprayed it gold for a dipped look.

We already had this chair, so I masked it off and sprayed it gold for a dipped look.

This was an old frame to a picture we never hung. I removed the glass, sprayed it gold, and clipped some photos to it. (Those clothespins were from my baby-shower--I save everything.)

This was an old frame to a picture we never hung. I removed the glass, sprayed it gold, and clipped some photos to it. (Those clothespins were from my baby-shower–I save everything that can potentially be used for a future ‘project’.)

This cute little hexi tray was in the $1 spot at Target lasy year. I had already sprayed it gold after I bought it, and used it as a chalk tray for the kiddos.

This cute little hexi tray was in the $1 spot at Target last year. I had already sprayed it gold after I bought it, and used it as a chalk tray for the kiddos.

This was one of Ayden's toys (RIP), that I also sprayed gold last year, (I was on a gold-spraying spree; can you tell?)

This was one of Ayden’s toys (RIP), that I also sprayed gold last year, (I was on a gold-spraying spree; can you tell?)

2. MIX & MATCH

I recommend mixing and matching old and new to create a custom, whimsical feel. Unless you have a stockpile of paper plates and plastic ware, you will probably have to purchase these things. Don’t be afraid to buy ‘un-matching’ goods. And don’t be afraid to mix and match the things you already have, with some new things. You do not have to go out and re-buy everything, if you can work what you already have in to the equation.

I am a jar hoarder, so I always have mason jars on hand. I glitter-bombed this one, and used it as a straw holder. Gold paper straws were found on Amazon.

I am a jar hoarder, so I always have mason jars on hand. I glitter-bombed this one, and used it as a straw holder. Gold paper straws were found on Amazon.

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I bought a blank Costco cake, (chocolate per the Birthday girl's request), and decorated it myself. I used gold edible spray, gold edible pearls, pink edible glitter and a few gold sprayed figurines. Not only was the cake a hit, but the cake-to-frosting ratio was much better than a typical Costo cake.

I bought a blank Costco cake, (chocolate, per the Birthday girl’s request), and decorated it myself. I used gold edible spray, gold edible pearls, pink edible glitter and a few gold sprayed figurines. Not only was the cake a hit, but the cake-to-frosting ratio was much better than a typical Costco cake.

3. KNOW WHAT TO DIY

When I decide to plan a party, I suddenly become all too ambitious, and begin Pinteresting my little heart out. What I have found is that some projects end up costing more in materials and time, than I am willing to pay. If there is a decorative accent that I absolutely must have, I always check online stores (typically etsy), before running out to Michael’s for supplies. Sometimes buying pre-made decor is actually more cost-effective. Plus, I really like to support small businesses when I can. On the flip side, some things are super easy (see: chalkboard paint, spray paint, spray adhesive, etc), and can be really fun to create.

I made this photo-booth backdrop. It was super easy. I got the white peg board from Lowes, where they cut it for me, (this is 1/2 of the sheet). It cost about $15. I had the gold dot decals on hand, and the mini Polaroid pictures are from Paper Culture, (via Groupon).

I made this photo-booth backdrop. It was super easy. I got the white peg board from Lowes, where they cut it for me, (this is 1/2 of the sheet). It cost about $15. I had the gold dot decals on hand, and the mini Polaroid pictures are from Paper Culture, (via Groupon).

Another super easy DIY, for a fun little accent. $2.99 pumpkin from Trader Joe's, sprayed it gold, and used gold thumb tacks (that I already had), to create an 'A'. for 'Ayden'.

Another super easy DIY, for a fun little accent. $2.99 pumpkin from Trader Joe’s, sprayed it gold, and used gold thumb tacks (that I already had), to create an ‘A’. for ‘Ayden’.

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I am a little obsessed with this little gem. I found these letters at Dana Point Party Supply, and was able to create this customized banner. The letters were .30 cents each! Score!

4. BEG, BORROW, (BUT DON’T STEAL)

So you went to your friend’s son’s Birthday party last month, and noticed she had these amazing apothecary jars on display. You need apothecary jars for the candy-bar at your party. Don’t be afraid to ask your friend to borrow them. Most people, (at least in my experience), are happy to loan you their party supplies. People enjoy seeing their things put to good use. ***Tip: always return borrowed items promptly, and cleaned.

Borrowed a few of these rad, Aztec blankets from a good friend.

I borrowed a few of these rad, Aztec blankets from a good friend.

5. KEEP IT FAMILIAR

When I am planning a kids birthday party, I like for them to have plenty to do. This year we had Ayden’s party at the park, which obviously provides a lot of fun, (for free). I like for there to be options for the kids. I like options. I think most people like options, and kids are people too. The best activities (in my opinion), are activities that kids are familiar with–simple, fun things that don’t require much explaining.

Hoola hoops are always a hit, and make for some pretty adorable photos.

Hoola hoops are always a hit, and make for some pretty adorable photos.

Thanks to my amazing Mother-in-law, we had this giant bin of bubbles and wands. This was a HUGE hit, and I highly recommend it.

Thanks to my amazing Mother-in-law, we had this giant bin of bubbles and wands. This was a HUGE hit, and I highly recommend it.

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The park we went to had a huge sand pit, so I spray painted some rocks gold, and packed all of our beach toys and shovels. Viola!

The park we went to had a huge sand pit, so I spray painted some rocks gold, and packed all of our beach toys and shovels. Viola!

6. ACCEPT HELP

I am super fortunate to have in-laws who live close by, and friends who not only offer, but insist on pitching in. If loved ones offer to bring a dish, or help out, let them. What I have found is that people will not offer to help out, if they do not want to. You are still the creative director of your event, and there is no shame in delegating a few tasks.

You can't really tell from this photo, but my Mother-in-law made the best ever candied pop corn and fruit kabobs. This is the closest thing to a picture of it all, that I have. Oopsie.

You can’t really tell from this photo, but my Mother-in-law made the best ever candied pop corn and fruit kabobs. This is the closest thing to a picture of it all, that I have. Oopsie.

7. HAVE FUN – BE REALISTIC

So I actually enjoy creating an event–truly. But I can appreciate that this may not be your bag. Do as much or as little as you want to do. There are no rules. This year we had some serious budget restrictions, so I worked with what we had. My parties tend to have a bit of a homemade feel to them, and I am ok with that–I am not a professional event planner, and no one is employing me to do this. Be realistic about your budget, your enjoyment of the party-planning process and your willingness to spend time planning and/or creating your party. There is no one right way to throw a party–have fun, and put your personality in to it.

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8. FIND YOUR FOCUS

Some of the best party-planning advice I have heard, comes from one of my absolute favorite bloggers, The Allison Show. She also happens to be my party-planning hero. I watched her video, ‘How to plan a party regardless of budget’, and learned a ton from it! The one thing I really took away, was to not try to do it all. She talks about figuring out what is most important to you at your party, (theme, food, activities, etc). This was hugely helpful for me this weekend. It took all of the stress out of it for me, because I had decided that the theme, and fun-factor were my focal points.

9. BE INSPIRED

Last, but certainly not least, allow yourself to be inspired by other events, party-throwers, Pinterest boards or anywhere else you can draw inspiration from. That being said, do not feel like you must ever replicate something perfectly. I tend to get ideas from outside places, and put my own spin on it. I do what works for me, or what seems doable for me.

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I would love to hear some of your ideas for party-planning on a budget! Please feel free to leave feedback below!

xo, Emily

5 thoughts on “9 Tips For Planning a Party On A Budget

  1. Pingback: DIY Challenge – Day 1: Crayon Drip Pumpkin | Chasing Ayden

  2. Pingback: DIY Challenge – Day 2: Painted Feathers | Chasing Ayden

  3. Pingback: How To Throw a Surprise Party | Chasing Ayden

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