Parties can be satisfying yet nerve wracking and stressful. Last year I had a housewarming/anniversary party that was a great success and didn’t cost me an arm and a leg.
I started by getting inexpensive invitations to send out to friends and family. I sent them out far enough in advance so that people could make plans to be there. I sent each invitation out a month in advance and including an RSVP at the bottom so I would know how many to plan for. I also called most of the individuals before I sent the invitation to make sure that the date I had planned, which was flexible, was acceptable for everyone. One thing to keep in mind is a reminder. You can do this by a phone call to your guests. There’s a catch-22 to sending out invitations. If you send them out too early, people forget. Send them too late, people have other plans.
Make sure you are prepared for the early guests. We had errands to do that day and since the party wasn’t till 7 pm, I was sure I’d have enough time to prepare my food. Imagine my surprise when I had guests call and see if they could come at 6:00 pm instead. I had to scramble to get things done for those special guests. However, I’d never tell them it wasn’t possible to show up early, I just made different accommodations.
The food was actually fun to shop for. I made sure I had the usual that you would find at any party but I wanted to have things that were fun to eat and a little different. I used my most of my own serving dishes since I have some unique items. I bought a few things to add to my collection as well, such as charger plates. Ironically, after this party I received a chocolate fountain for Christmas so you can be I’ll be using that for our next party next year.
I shopped at Sam’s Club and got lots of food items. We bought plenty of vegetables and dip, meatballs which we made with sweet and sour sauce and barbeque sauce, mini quiches, party crackers (we got a sweet deal on fancy crackers that included about 5 different styles, blue tortilla chips and salsa (we make our own salsa from scratch so that was a nice addition), a lovely chocolate cake, spiral rolls, mini egg rolls and duck sauce, crab dip, strawberries and chocolate dipping sauce, spinach dip, and stuffed rolls with broccoli and cheese. All of this was less than $200 and we had plenty left over.
We made this a casual affair so I put in a concert DVD that would appeal to most everyone. We chose the Eagles Live Tour and I set the volume at a comfortable level so people could still talk and enjoy the music as well.
Gifts weren’t something we had really planned on but every person who arrived brought a gift for us so we set up an area to place all of the gifts. We also took pictures of these gifts and since they were in one area, it was easy to do. We also bought a picture frame that guests could write a special note on and sign. We included a wedding picture in the frame and made sure all guests signed it. Now not only do we have pictures, we have this special picture frame to remind us of our party and guests.
I sent out thank you notes about 3 days after the party. I have to say that this was my first real party and it turned out to be a huge success. One thing I might do differently in the future is to get some trays from Publix since their prices are very affordable and offers a variety of options. I’ll still get food from Sam’s Club since part of the fun was making the food and displaying it.