Are you one of those many people who shy away from entertaining away because you think you can't afford it? Don't despair if you think the only fun parties are big-budget affairs. Not only can your entertaining ideas be low-budget and conducive to small spaces, they can yield downright fun results.
If you want to have a dinner party or a fun get-together with friends, consider your options. If you want to invite twelve people over and your apartment will only hold four and still allow for breathing room, there are inexpensive options. Elegant entertaining is nice but doesn't always have to be the case. Consider having a picnic outside - then you have plenty of space. If one of the friends you invited has a larger place maybe you can tag team. You can handle the event and she provides the space. If cooking yourself isn't a priority, many restaurants have meeting rooms you can reserve. Churches, fire halls and other public buildings often have rooms to rent inexpensively as well.
Most of us don't have real silverware or a china dish set that will serve fifty lying around, but that doesn't mean you can't set a nice table. You can also do it inexpensively. Scout out the local thrift stores and garage sales in your area. This can be a treasure trove of entertaining goodies. Everything from dishes to cloth napkins can be had for pennies this way. Flower arrangements, interesting centerpieces and candles are other goodies that can be often found in second hand stores. Purchase dishes in bright colors and mix and match for a fiesta look.
Clearance sales are another great way of making affordable purchases for entertaining and party decorations. You can buy items that would normally be outside your budget when you shop after the season. Christmas, Easter and other major holiday items go on sale the day after the event. This is the prefect time to find goodies, such as cloth napkins, napkin rings, holiday plates, cups and decorations.
Do It Yourself
Many of the extras that make a table or room special when entertaining are touches that you can make yourself. A yard or two of holiday fabric can yield some extra special napkins. A matching table runner or table cloth is easy to make as well. Candles from a budget bin can be decorated with ribbons, buttons and even sequins with a little craft glue. Make inexpensive place settings yourself and save money. Use what you have on hand.
Pint canning jars make cute glasses for a lighted hearted summer event. Tie raffia around the neck of the quart jars and add some wildflowers. Put silverware and napkins into interesting shaped containers, vases and buckets.
Inventive Meal Ideas
When we think of having friends or family over we usually think in terms of a meal we have prepared just for them. But maybe your budget won't allow for you to prepare a meal for six. Don't let that stop you from hosting a gathering. There are lots of fun options for food, fun and fellowship.
Consider having a coffee and dessert get-together. This is less work than a full blown meal but just as fun. Let others join in the preparations. Whether it is a holiday celebrations or just a dessert gathering ask friends to bring something. You can prepare the meat or main dish and ask them to bring a side dish, salad or their favorite dessert. A potluck meal may just become your favorite way of entertaining. Keeping meals simple can also allow you to entertain on a budget. Spaghetti, salad and hot Italian bread makes for a wonderful meal, feeds a group quickly and is delicious! Remember the time spent with friends is the cake - the meal is just the icing.
Other Low Budget Entertaining Ideas
There are many fun things you can do on a budget if you want to host family or friends. Breakfast or lunch are usually lighter than dinner making them more affordable. A buffet style dinner where everyone contributes is a great idea. Consider having a cookie exchange, tea and cookies, a hot chocolate party (offer hot chocolate, toppings and muffins) or a day of fun and games at an outdoor picnic. Have a movie night at your house. Rent some old black and white comedies and pop a huge bowl of popcorn. Ask everyone to bring their favorite soda and theatre candy and you are all set.
Keeping things casual and planning ahead of time will make it easy for you to host a party. A thoughtful menu and guest list will make hosting a party run smoothly.
Living in a rural community, we have no local theaters, malls, or "teen clubs." When he was little, our son Vince attended a bevy of birthday parties, and of course I hosted his annual event at a variety of venues.
You as the holiday party host always want to make sure your guests are happy and satisfied at your party. But it's not easy task to host a party alone and accomplish this. In fact it can be overwhelming.