Thursday, October 29, 2009

How To: Throw a Cocktail Party on a Budget

Andrea Wyn Schall has spent more than a decade planning some of the biggest A-list parties in Hollywood, including the Screen Actors Guild Awards®. She is the author of Budget Bash – Simply Fabulous Events on a Budget.

The holidays are fast approaching and before we know it, another year will have passed us by. So before the year’s end, why not celebrate the present with friends and family at a cocktail party that is easy and fun to pull together? Send out invites, pick a theme, and create your menu. Put together a party checklist, and you're ready to go!

After deciding on your budget, determine your guest list and then check out one of the many on-line invitation websites to help you create and manage your guest list. MyPunchBowl and Cocodot are both great sources for high-quality party invitations. They provide various invitation templates, help you create and manage your guest list and RSVPs, and also offer plenty of theme ideas and other resources.

Once the invites are in the “mail”, begin to cross off other items on your party checklist. Why not try a 70’s theme? For music, use Pandora’s iPhone application to stream disco music or share playlist ideas with friends on 8Tracks. Check out budget d├ęcor items from Oriental Trading Company or Party Supplies Hut for must-have extras like a mirror ball, door beads, disco paper plates and napkins. Don’t like disco? Blogs like Create My Event and Thoughtfully Simple offer inspiration and DIY tricks.

Select an hors d’oeuvres and cocktail menu that will appeal to everyone’s palette, avoiding known allergens such as nuts and shellfish. For your bar, try to include a signature drink and plenty of nonalcoholic beverages as well.

Some suggestions for easy to make, budget-friendly appetizers:

Mushroom Rolls
Honey Lemon Chicken Skewers with Vegetables
Sun Dried Tomato and Olive Tapenade Bruschetta
Seared Beef Tenderloin Mini Sandwiches with Mustard-Horseradish Sauce
Red Salmon Dip
Mini Peppermint Cheesecakes with Chocolate Chips
Lemon Cookies

With your checklist completed, your 70s party is ready to go. Don’t forget to have fun and do the hustle!

To find more helpful party planning tips, menus and recipes, advice, pictures and more go to Budget Bash – Simply Fabulous Events on a Budget.

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