ENTERTAINING ON A BUDGET!!!

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Last weekend, I hosted a small get-together for family. The purpose of the get-together was to celebrate my daughter being dedicated back to God. I wanted the get-together to feel personalized, intimate, and effortless. There are a few things I did that I feel made my vision come to life. I will talk about some of those things in this post and include links to items (where applicable) 

1. Start with a Clean/Neat Space

It goes without saying that you have to clean before you entertain, but what I mean here is that you want to do a deep clean. I got as detailed as polishing the cabinets, shining up the appliances, and shining up my sink and faucet. 

2. Make the Space Fragrant

Aside from lighting candles, I also made a DIY scent cocktail over the stove. I put cinnamon sticks, anise stars, and whole cloves in a pot. I brought  them to a boil and let the mix simmer on super low heat. What emanates is this delicious Fall cinnamon-spice scent. It's the perfect recipe for this season! It smelled as if I was baking something delicious, and made the get-together feel more cozy and intimate.

3. Fresh Flowers are a Must + A Few Balloons

Fresh flowers may become pricey for a large gathering (over 50 ppl), or for an event where there will be tables, but for a small gathering (10-15 ppl) like the one I hosted, you only need about 2 bouquets. I went with three bouquets as a part of a sale (3 for $12.00) at my local grocery store. I opted for 2 pink carnation bouquets and 1 pink sunflower bouquet. Fresh flowers automatically add glamour and elegance to the room without doing much.

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4. Bright Colors Add Value 

What I found is that bold, bright colors helped to make the space more festive without having to buy loads of decorations. I went for light and dark pink, with a touch of gold in my kitchen/dining area. Because the colors in that space of my house are so cool and neutral, the bold decorations automatically "lifted" the room. I recommend going with contrasting colors to your current color scheme to give the space a quick "facelift". I also did a few helium-filled balloons (just a few) to add some more color. The flowers + balloons cost under $20.

5. Assemble the Food 

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Try to serve platters versus large dishes, to avoid the time and cost associated. If possible, try to assemble the platters you wish to serve, as opposed to buying them pre-assembled. I hand prepared the sandwiches I served. I purchased loaves of Cuban bread from the deli, bought sliced sandwich meat, deli style mustard, cheese and lettuce. I made the sandwiches a little before the event and everyone seemed to enjoy them. I imagine they were good (I wouldn't know as I'm on a more plant-based journey at the moment). The cost of making enough for about 15ppl (with lots of leftovers) was around $20

 

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Instead of buying precut/premixed fruit I cut, washed and mixed them myself at home. That proved to be a much cheaper alternative. Not to mention, I was able to mix the fruits of my choice without having to pay a ridiculous up-charge for a custom mix. I did watermelon and pineapple.

6. Cupcakes versus Cake

I spent a total of $15 for two dozen cupcakes, as opposed to the $35 dollars a 15 person cake would cost me. I requested that the frosting be part light pink and part dark pink, to match my party decor colors. The cupcakes were beautiful and really made the set up look as if it took a lot of time and effort! 

 The cupcakes are sitting on some trays I purchased from Dollar Tree and I've got the trays sitting on top of leftover tassels.

The cupcakes are sitting on some trays I purchased from Dollar Tree and I've got the trays sitting on top of leftover tassels.

MORE DETAILS...  

This beverage dispenser is such a lifesaver. We purchased it for my baby shower and have been using it ever since. Two gallons of beverage will bring it to an 'almost full' level. It was purchased from Wal-Mart.

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The double-sided napkins are from Target. I love the versatility they offer, not to mention the super cute design! I purchased two packs at under $3 each. 

I also purchased some gold plates and cutlery from Target. Because I did more finger foods, I only needed to purchase one set. This is the style  of plates and cutlery that I chose.

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The last thing I wanted to mention in this post is my customized water bottles.  *If you plan on entertaining more than 20ppl, this method can get pricey.* 

I knew that I wanted to have personalized labels on the water bottles, but all of the options I was looking into proved to be too costly, or too difficult. I can't remember how, but I later had the idea of using chalkboard labels. I think that came up when I decided I would turn our homeschool chalkboard into a 'welcome' sign.

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Anyway, I purchased two of these chalkboard label packs from Joann's Fabrics/Crafts. I only had plans to personalize 16 bottles. I used some pink chalk from my homeschool stash and the end result was so adorable. Personalized, artsy, unique, and quirky are the words I think best describe the outcome. 

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Until Next Time,

Ker-Leen