Traditionally we always have a small party during the major summer holidays. They include Memorial Day, 4th of July and Veteran's Day. We were hesitant this year to have one because we weren't' sure if it fit into our frugal goals or if we were really ready to entertain. We haven't hosted a single party in our rental house and have only had a few dinners here with friends. While Dave was away on business and couldn't talk me out of it, I decided that we were going to have one.
To begin the party prep I used Pingg for the first time after receiving a very sweet invite from Rachel of No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane. Pingg is a free online invitation site that offers paperless options. I chose this Martha Stewart design. It was very easy to use and best of all free.
I may have been tempted to buy disposable plates and silverware. Instead I stayed green and cheap by using our Ben Seibel dishes (I've collected over 40 of them) & flatware from the kitchen which I placed them in Ben Seibel creamers.
I brought out many of our glasses, a combination of thrifted, won on Reluctant Entertainer or bought from Ikea. The glasses on the right were featured in a Mad Men episode. Well not my glasses, but the same style exactly.
Instead of buying juice for the children I made some herbal iced tea and mixed in some honey.
Although it wasn't planned, costs were kept low when people offered to bring food. Cathy brought a pasta salad and Kathleen brought a potato salad. Wine was also an unexpected gift. The flowers were picked by Cerys from our garden.
The biggest expense of the party was the organic ground beef. We did buy it at Costo which offers 3 pounds for around $12.00. We bought 6 pounds although we didn't use it all. If you were really on a budget you could ask your guests to bring their own BBQ options. I also made a huge serving of Sangria. It included 4 bottles of cheap wine. It went a long way and tasted incredible.
While we only invited a handful of people to test the waters, I'd say doing a party on the cheap was successful. Our next party will be bigger and we will try to keep our expenses even lower. It was a lovely touch the following day when Pingg sent out an automated Thank You note to our guests.
Do you throw frugal parties? What tips do you have to share with us all?