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entertaining on a budget

In continuing with Part 2 of the Boston Chambord/Hip Hostess recap – here are a few more of the tips we shared for our “Entertaining on a Budget” theme…this time focusing on party decor & general concepts. (Find tablescaping tips in Part 1.)

Pictured above are a couple shots of the Party Decor Ideas table before the party started, and the image directly below shows everything lit up during the party, which helps to demonstrate the very first tip: “Let there be light. When you’re short on time or money for party decorations, candles & string lights will always save the night!” It really is amazing how much the soft glow of candlelight can do for the feel of a room…

entertaining on a budget

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Next up is the idea of Re-purposing: Look around the house and use what you already have! Decorative vases, house plants, sculptures, and other accessories can double as fantastic table centerpieces or party decor.

entertaining on a budget

The cool “circular thing” (for lack of a better term) pictured above is actually a picture frame – but it easily becomes party decor when filled with the same decorative scrapbook papers used elsewhere in the party. You could also personalize something like this for the guest(s) of honor by mixing in a few photos of the birthday girl or happy couple in some of the circles.

The “pedestal candle holders” are actually simple glass cylinder vases ($1.50 – $3 ea) wrapped in scrapbook paper with candle-safe plates set on top of them. The plates are secured firmly to the vases with glue dots, which easily peeled off after the party was over.

entertaining on a budget

Pictured above: more home accessories dressed up with paper, butterflies, & inexpensive vase fillers & grasses purchased at Michaels.

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Speaking of vase fillers, here’s tip #3: Opt for Botanical materials where a little goes a long way, such as tall branches (like mitsumata, curly willow, manzanita & bamboo).

entertaining on a budget

In other words, $10 worth of very tall mitsumata branches are going to make a bigger impact than $10 worth of flowers because of the height factor. Here are some mitsumata branches that I spray painted red for one of the table centerpieces (one set of three 48″ branches is only $6.80 at save-on-crafts.com):

entertaining on a budget

It’s also fun to dress up branches and willow with things like butterflies, paper shapes, and ribbon. (The smaller curly branch shown in the red branch is kiwi vine.)

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Next up is a topic I’ve mentioned here before: “Use rub-on transfers, stickers, and rhinestones to create themed glasses & dishes from items that you already own.” This tip can takes a little patience but looks great if you’re up for it.  (Use scotch tape and/or hot soapy water to lift and remove the transfer when done.)

entertaining on a budget

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Last but not least: “Details, details! Look for creative (& affordable) ways to carry your theme into all areas of the party.” For example, at the Boston event we cut butterfly shapes from scrapbook paper and attached them to paper lanterns, favor bags, and plastic drink stirrers…

entertaining on a budget

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Here are a few more of the tips we featured in frames throughout the room:

Pick a theme. Whether your theme is specific or as simple as a certain color, having a party theme in mind will make the planning process much easier (and keep you from buying things you don’t need).

Go modern minimalist. Instead of very large, expensive floral arrangements, try displaying just a few individual stems in bud vases or simple glass cylinders.

Serve a variety of finger foods instead of a fancy full-course meal. Keep the recipes tasty, yet simple and focus on creative presentation.

Rise up. To add height to centerpieces & serving trays, flip small bowls upside down to act as pedestals for the larger dishes. (No need to purchase specialty serving dishes!)

Decorate vases and candles with scrapbook paper to create party decor that perfectly matches your theme.

Cheers! Dress up cocktail glasses with fun details like rhinestones, ribbon, metallic pipe cleaners, & festive DIY drink charms.

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Hope you’re able to find some of these tips useful at your own future get-togethers! That’s it for the Boston recaps… I’m off now to continue working on the details for next Thursday’s “Old Hollywood Glam” event!