Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We Planned, We Shopped, We Conquered

Holiday Party Saving & Planning Tips.

About a month ago, Hip Hostess was approached by a gentleman who wanted help with his annual holiday party. He had considered cancelling due to the economy but was urged by a friend to see if Hip Hostess could help him out. Our challenge was t0 provide food & drinks, serveware and entertainment for 100 people for under $17 a person....oh, and the party usually stretches as long at 6+ hours. After Amber and I picked ourselves up off the floor we decided to put our money where our mouth was, after all aren’t we always preaching that with good planning you don’t have to give up your holiday entertaining?

We were lucky that the apartment created instant atmosphere with almost panoramic views of Manhattan. The next step was finding food items that were both plentiful and beautiful to double as décor. We were asked to stay away from any definitive "holiday themes," so instead we decided to incorporate a Parisian City of Lights theme. Suffice it to say that in the end the party was a smashing success and the guests were completely unaware that the host was on a budget.

This was a journey filled with research, hard work and lessons learned. In an effort to inspire you to not give up on your holiday entertaining, Hip Hostess would like to share some photos and tips that you can incorporate into your own party to help you stay within budget.

1. Use seasonal items to double as centerpieces such as Clementines shown below.
2. We used the carton that the Brie came in and printed out a label to tie in the Parisian theme and double as décor.
3. We covered candles with vellum luminaries that we printed ourselves to incorporate the theme.
4. We purchased checked blue and white fabric for $4.00 per yard which enabled us to use plastic platters as serving pieces.
5. We searched many grocery stores and found that Trader Joe’s offered the best prices on cheese and has amazing chocolate croissants that you can bake yourself.
6. Use finger foods as much as possible to cut down on serving ware.
7. We offered all Champagne based drinks such as Kir Royales, Bellinis and Mimosas, which allowed us a discount per case but still offered variety with just a few additional ingredients.
8. We offered crudite in individual servings with the dip already in the bottom of the container. It was easy for the guests to grab and eat...and also created a great visual element.
9. We bought all fruits and vegetables from Manhattan Fruit Exchange (a wholesale produce provider) which ensured the price point was low and the merchandise fresh.
10. Cut off the tops of diaper pins to double as cheese markers
11. Use egg based dishes to stretch your budget.
12. Everyone likes to receive a gift when they leave. We prepared easy, yet delicious palmiers for guests to take as a favor.

1 comment:

Debbi said...

Loved the theme and cost effective way of throwing a party under a strict budget...the "diaper" pin cheese i.d. holder...who would have ever thunk! Nice set up with the veggies, too.