Top Tips to Successfully Throw an Intimate Engagement Party on a Budget

Image Source: Mod Wedding

Image Source: Mod Wedding

Engagement parties aren’t supposed to empty your wallet; they’re supposed to be an intimate celebration with your closest friends and family to honor you and your fiance - don’t forget that in the midst of all the planning! We’re here to help you save money for your big day, so we put together a list of the most important things to consider when you want to throw an engagement party on the everyday girl budget.

Stick your budget - it’s not the time to go overboard!

Image Source: Zazzle

Image Source: Zazzle

Save the extra cash for the ceremony and reception - it’s inevitable that you’ll overspend along the way, so don’t blow the budget early on with the engagement party. Check out different vendors, price out different food, drinks, and rentals, and add everything up ahead of time. Factor in some unexpected and hidden costs so you don’t get blindsided by a surprise fee. But most importantly, come up with a figure early on in your planning, and remind yourself how crucial it is to stick to it!

Keep the invite list small.

The best tip to keep an intimate engagement party low-cost is to simply keep it intimate. Don’t go crazy with the guest list - you can do that later! Keep it low-key and personal, since the whole point of an engagement party is to bring the two families together ahead of the wedding. Not only will you save money on food and drinks, but you’ll also have a much more special affair, since everyone will be able to mingle and get to know one another before the big day.

Image Source: @manduhmichelle

Image Source: @manduhmichelle

Skip the open bar.

No matter how fun you want your celebration to be, there’s nothing fun about the price tag that comes along with an open bar, so keep the drink menu simple. Select a few signature drinks beforehand, and avoid over-the-top cocktails that are more hassle than they’re worth. Forget the fussy ingredients and go with something classy that everyone will enjoy like a fresh and fruity sangria!

Skip the three course menu, too!

Image Source: Simply Recipes

Image Source: Simply Recipes

Simplify your food just like your drink menu! You should have a little something for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you need to offer a fancy sit-down meal of everyone’s choice. Go with something effortless like finger foods that you can keep dishing out throughout the evening. We just came up with an awesome list of fresh new apps here.

Save the florals for the big day.

You don’t need vase upon vase of fresh flowers at your engagement party, so save the flower budget for the ceremony. Instead, thrift some fun centerpieces for a shabby chic vibe. For a really romantic look, use soft string lights and simple wood accents. You can totally DIY your engagement party decor, too! But remember - for an intimate party like this one, you don’t have to go over the top in your decor or in your budget.

Image Source: Etsy

Image Source: Etsy

Throwing a Jack and Jill The Everyday Girl Way

Image Source: Wedding Chicks

Image Source: Wedding Chicks

Weddings are already a major hit to the budget, but once you factor in all the extra traditional events - engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelor parties, you name it - it’s easy to overspend. That’s why our favorite new trend in the wedding scene is going the non-traditional route. Skip all the extra planning, and condense all your pre-wedding celebrations into one big event with a Jack and Jill wedding shower! Jack and Jills are unique because they don’t leave anyone out; think of them as a bridal shower, but for the bride and the groom - and yes, men are invited! Tons of brides nowadays are opting for a combined, single celebration that brings all their loved ones together, and we’ve got the low-down on how to throw a fantastic Jack and Jill party under even the tightest of budgets!

Image Source: Brit + Co.

Image Source: Brit + Co.

First thing’s first: the guest list. Jack and Jills will inevitably have more guests than a bridal shower would, as both the bride and the groom get to invite their friends and family. The best piece of advice for a bride planning on a budget is to keep your guest list small! Don’t over-invite guests just because you feel like you have to - they can always make an appearance on the big day. Make your Jack and Jill a small and intimate celebration with the people closest to you and your soon-to-be hubby! Less people means more personal mingling, less food and drinks to pay for, and it gives you the freedom to play fun trivia games or pass out adorable favors to every guest. Our favorite favor idea is super simple and easy: create DIY pressed flower coasters. We love the idea of picking out some of the same florals you plan on using at your ceremony and tying those into fun arrangements for each coaster.

Image Source: Curb Alert Blog

Image Source: Curb Alert Blog

With a Jack and Jill party comes one major obstacle: most bridal showers just have finger food and tea time since they’re traditionally elegant and feminine events. Amping up your guest list to include men may seem a bit intimidating, since they’re likely to eat a good dozen of each of the hors d'oeuvre you spent hours slaving over. Consider approaching your menu differently to save time and money. An outdoor venue is not only free - backyards make a gorgeous event space, and you can play up the greenery and incorporate it into a beautiful spring party - but they’re also the perfect excuse for a classic barbecue! Make a packed topping bar, grill up some burgers and veggie skewers, and serve classic cookout food for a casual and relaxed event.

Image Source: Martha Stewart Weddings

Image Source: Martha Stewart Weddings

If you’re looking to save even more money and your gathering is on the smaller side, ask each guest to bring their best family recipe and style the event as a potluck. You’ll just be responsible for the drinks, and you can focus your energy on less daunting parts of the planning! We love the idea of creating one signature, personalized cocktail to serve up for guests and having a little bit of beer and wine available on the side. This cuts down the cost of alcohol substantially, and adds a touch of creativity and originality!

Image Source: Wedding Wire

Image Source: Wedding Wire

The key to decorating for a Jack and Jill on a budget is making sure there’s some personalization involved. Grab some customized disposable dishes with you and your hubby’s initials, search for some old thrifted picture frames and fill them with photos of you and your fiance, and incorporate your wedding colors into the decor. Romantic touches like a customizable date mason jar add some adorable decor, but they also function as a fun way for your guests to get involved! Have each guest suggest a date night and toss it in to reference when you’re inevitably stuck somewhere down the line, or even incorporate some classic trivia. Because both the bride and groom’s loved ones are involved, couple’s trivia is even more personal and is sure to be entertainment for everyone!

The everyday bride doesn’t have to settle for less just because she’s working with a smaller budget. With a Jack and Jill party, you can actually have more for less. It’s economical, easy to plan, and it’s so much more memorable to get all the guys and girls together to celebrate! The key is to set a budget, leave room for expenses, and stick to it. No one ever said a bridal shower had to be an exclusive, ritzy event, so make it more your style, involve more of your loved ones, and save some money while you’re at it!

St. Patty's Day Party Guide

St. Patty’s Day is one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year, which means one thing: it’s crucial to plan the perfect party! We’ve got you covered beyond just the cocktail recipes, though, from start to finish. We’ve put together everything from our favorite decor ideas to the tastiest Irish recipes!

Image Source: Star Stream Design

Image Source: Star Stream Design

Invites

St. Patty’s Day invites are super easy to come by online, and getting custom printed ones can be affordable if you order from the right place! Incorporate some sparkle into your party invites with this adorable one from Etsy, or go for a more classic approach with something like this!


Image Source: Chef Savvy

Image Source: Chef Savvy

Food

It wouldn’t be St. Patty’s Day without some potatoes, so make sure to incorporate some Irish classics into your recipes! Your guests would be drooling over these Irish nachos, made with small, sliced potatoes and cheese and bacon. Serve your nachos with some guac for a little pop of green! Don’t forget the sweets either, though. Dip some strawberries in white chocolate and have some fun decorating them for your guests, or try out this mouth-watering recipe for Mint Andes Brownies!


Image Source: imbibe

Image Source: imbibe

Drinks

It’s one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year, so don’t be afraid to step your drink game up! Don’t forget to serve up some sweet Irish Coffee cocktails, topped with whipped cream and some green sprinkles. If you’re looking to offer another sweet-tasting cocktail, try out the Grasshopper Martini - it’s a classic, and it’s basically just an alcoholic, mint chocolate milkshake! To really get the party going, make some cute and clever shots to leave out for your guests. If you’re feeling confident, test out your bartending skills with this adorable Irish Flag shot!


Image Source: Babble

Image Source: Babble

Decor

It’s easy to opt for the obvious when it comes to St. Patty’s Day decor - a thousand different shades of green is usually the go-to. Make your party a little more sophisticated by going with the same consistent shade of green decor with glamorous gold accents! We also love the idea of adding a little rainbow touch to your party to break up all the green. A great decor option is filling up mason jars with some gold chocolate coins, and then top it off with tons of layers of rainbow skittles. Not only does it add a pop of extra color and fun to your decor, but it doubles as a delicious party favor for your guests, too!


Image Source: Pizzazzerie

Image Source: Pizzazzerie

Tablescape

St. Patty’s Day isn’t just about Irish pride and celebrating with friends - it’s a sign of spring, too! Incorporate some fresh, colorful florals into your tablescape to really embrace the time of year, but add little touches of green and gold so you don’t totally lose the holiday in your place setting. Bring in some more of that lucky Irish touch with some trendy gold plates or silverware, and add some green centerpieces and napkin rings to tie the look together!

The Pretty Disposable Partyware You Need

IMAGE SOURCE: PAPER ESKIMO

IMAGE SOURCE: PAPER ESKIMO

There’s nothing better than a dinner party to catch up with your girlfriends, but there’s also nothing worse than the clean-up that follows. It’s hard to spend time with your guests when you’re worried about the huge mess that’s left behind after dinner. Even worse? Those brand new dishes you picked out aren’t dishwasher-safe and way too expensive to risk tossing in. Next time, skip the hand-washing and save yourself some money with on-trend paper products!


Zazzle and Paper Eskimo are just two of the many companies jumping on the bandwagon, and their paper plates are affordable and adorable. They offer everything from simple patterned plated to completely customizable options, which makes it a great option for any occasion. If you’re throwing together a last minute girls’ night, grab a simple solid colored plate - the mint green ones are super cute, and are perfect for the springtime! If you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous, the polka dot and striped plates add a fun and feminine touch that will really elevate your dinner party! Grab the matching cups and napkins, or mix up different patterns for a bold statement your guests won’t forget.

IMAGE SOURCE: NOT ON THE HIGH STREET

IMAGE SOURCE: NOT ON THE HIGH STREET

IMAGE SOURCE: PAPER ESKIMO

IMAGE SOURCE: PAPER ESKIMO

You could also impress your guests with customized products if you’re having a more formal event. With templates for everything from a bridal shower to a birthday, there’s an endless amount of choices that will compliment whatever theme you’re going for. If you and your hubby are hosting a dinner party, add your monograms and the date to the middle of your plates for a classy touch.

If you’re not one for over-the-top decor, we love the idea of sticking with understated, solid colored plates and mixing in a fun striped napkin or a chevron cup. The colors still make for fun decor, and you don’t have to commit so much to a vivid statement. If you’re still looking for that unique touch of customization, consider personalized wine labels that will have everyone talking!

IMAGE SOURCE: PAPER ESKIMO

IMAGE SOURCE: PAPER ESKIMO

IMAGE SOURCE: PAPER ESKIMO

IMAGE SOURCE: PAPER ESKIMO

Personalization sounds a bit pricey, but it’s actually much more reasonable than investing time, effort, and money into dishes and glassware. Most plates average around $1.50 each, which is just around $15.00 for a decent sized dinner party, and there’s usually some sort of discount code or deal available too that saves you even more - it’s a totally affordable way to glam up any occasion!

IMAGE SOURCE: TARGET

IMAGE SOURCE: TARGET

IMAGE SOURCE: STYLE ME PRETTY

IMAGE SOURCE: STYLE ME PRETTY


The Complete Guide to Hosting Galentine's Day

Image Source: Glitter Inc.

Image Source: Glitter Inc.

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for romance anymore, thanks to Leslie Knope, we have Galentine’s Day to think about too! Galentine’s Day is all about spending a fun, relaxing day catching up with your girls and sharing the love with one another. Are you in charge of hosting or planning this year’s event? We’re here to help make the day perfect for you and all your ladies!

Outfits

Stick with the holiday theme for your Galentine’s Day outfit. Think reds, pinks, and hearts galore! For a more formal look, opt for a fun, whimsical dress. If you’re planning on a more low-key and relaxed day, or just looking for a warmer option, stick with a cute and bright festive sweater instead.

Tablescapes

There are so many directions you can take your tablescape in, and it really depends on your style and the feel of the event! Keep it more neutral with a brown bag runner covered in X’s and O’s and pops of color in additional decor. Or embrace the holiday to its fullest and carry on the reds, pinks and hearts throughout the decor! We love pulling in the sparkles with different accent pieces too!

Food

Food should be tasty and fun! Our pick is to stick with snack-y finger food and desserts. Think Chex mixes, kabobs, and pretzels. There are so many fun and easy ways to add the holiday feel and festive colors into your snacks. You can even turn decorating your snacks into a party activity! Dip pretzels and fruit into chocolate and coat in pink sprinkles… whatever your heart desires!

Gifts

Show your ladies some love with a little something special. Whether you want to go big and buy everyone something sweet, or create your own DIY gifts, this extra touch will be appreciated by all! Not that Galentine’s Day should be about presents, but the simple gesture of giving a nice, thought out gift really illustrates just how much you care about your favorite gal pals.

Office Holiday Party Outfit Guide & Inspiration

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Every year we are obligated to go to an office holiday party, and every year we have difficulty deciding what to wear. This season, we’ve created a guide with inspiration to help you choose an appropriate and stylish outfit!


casual dress code

If your daily work attire is casual, you can expect a casual dress code for your office party! Pair jeans with a cute sweater or flannel shirt. Tuck a simple shirt into a fun colored or patterned skirt, or wear a stylish wool coat! Use bright colors and jewel tones to your advantage to make your casual clothes fashionable!


business casual & semi formal dress code

Business casual & semi formal attire ranges from pants to dresses. Pair cropped pants or formal joggers with a bright heel. Wear a flirty dress or skirt, or be bold and try out a jumpsuit! Add a little sparkle to a structured outfit for some holiday spirit!


formal dress code

A formal dress code is the green light to be as fancy as you desire! Where pants are not quite acceptable at a formal party, you can wear a fashionable jumpsuit! Find one that is tailored and monochrome. Skirts should be full, textured, or colorful, and dresses should be knee-length or longer. Since it is a holiday party, your dress should stand out, whether with appliques, color, or silhouette!


Halloween Signature Drinks

In search of the perfect spooky or spirited drink to serve for Halloween? We have you covered. Whether you’re throwing a party or just looking for something fun to have on hand while handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, enjoy a fun and tasty beverage to get in the holiday spirit! We’re sharing some of our favorites from around the web:

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For the Adventerous:

Candy Corn Jell-o Shots

via Tipsy Bartender
 

candy corn jello shot.jpg

Ingredients:

  • White Layer

  • 1 Packet Pina Colada Ez Jello Mix

  • 2 1/2 Cups Water

  • 1 1/2 Cups Coconut Rum

  • Orange Layer

  • 1 Packet Orange Crushed Ez Jello Mix

  • 2 1/2 Cups Hot Water

  • 1 1/2 Cups Butterscotch Schnapps

  • Yellow Layer

  • 1 Packet Lemon Drop Ez Jello Shot Mix

Directions:
Watch this quick YouTube video to see exactly how to prepare your own!


For the Family-Friendly Crowd:

Black Lemonade

via instructables

image source: instructables

image source: instructables

Ingredients:

  • juice of one lemon

  • 1-2 capsules activated charcoal

  • stevia or maple syrup

  • water

  • ice

Directions:
Cut lemon in half and squeeze it with a juicer releasing the juice. Make sure to pick out any seeds that may sneak in. Add lemon juice to a 16 ounce glass.
Break open 1-2 activated charcoal capsules (check dosage on your bottle or container), add to the lemon juice, and stir to combine.
Fill glass to the top with ice and add water. Stir in sweetener to taste.
Garnish with a slice of lemon and enjoy!


For the Festive Family:

Witch’s Brew

via sugar hero

image source: sugar hero

image source: sugar hero

Ingredients:

  • 2 liters ginger ale chilled

  • 4 cups pineapple juice chilled

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice fresh (optional)

  • 1 gallon lime sherbet

  • 1 block dry ice (used 5 lbs for a 3-hour party)

  • Large cauldron

  • punch bowl that fit inside cauldron

Directions:
Break the dry ice into large pieces using a mallet or other tool. Be careful that you use gloves when handling it, since it can cause burns if it comes into contact with your skin.
Place some of the dry ice in the bottom of your cauldron. Put the remaining dry ice in a cooler nearby.
Pour some hot water on top of the ice so that it starts to smoke.
Place the punch bowl on top of the dry ice inside the cauldron.
Combine the ginger ale, pineapple juice, and lemon juice in the punch bowl, and stir to combine.
Add scoops of lime sherbet, mix it for a few minutes until the sherbet starts to melt, then serve!
Replenish the dry ice and hot water as necessary, to keep the smoke effect going.

Note: dry ice can be harmful if swallowed, so do not put it directly in the punch bowl or beverage cups.

How To Guide: Halloween Parties

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Halloween is just around the corner, so let your inner child free with a fun and spirited party! Have nothing planned yet? We’ve got your back! Follow our entertainment guide for awesome recipes, decor, and games guaranteed to make your party a success.


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We decided to keep the food and drinks elegant, classy, but still spooky and Halloween themed! For appetizers we chose bite size and portable foods so you can easily mingle and save room for the entrèe and dessert. The entrèe should be beautiful and delicious, and the dessert should be fun and lively!.


DRINKS.jpg

Drinks should be festive and enticing. Think dark colors and bright garnishes. Experiment, and take your mixology skills to a new level!


DECOR.jpg

The decor can be as over the top or subdued as you like! Want to scare your guests? Place creepy skeletons and masks about the house. String spider webs everywhere, and hide motion activated decorations to scare unexpecting guests. Want to keep it simple or have less of a clean up? Decorate with colorful pumpkins, leaves, and lanterns. Place some crows or bones across the mantle and on side tables.


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If you want a sit down dinner, make your table the focal point of your decor. Use dark table linens and plates. Make a table runner of flowers, skulls, and tall candlesticks. Scatter some creepy crawlers on napkins and flatware. Your guests will love the creativity!


GAMES.jpg

It’s not a party without some fun and games! Go all out and make the whole night a murder mystery game involving all your guests, or hire a fortune teller! On a smaller scale, carve pumpkins, play charades and pictionary with a Halloween theme, or assemble the classic donut-on-the-string eating contest!

New Year's Eve Party Inspiration

New Year's Eve is a night of celebrations. Whether you decide to have your wedding, have a dinner party or throw a count down, here are our favorite New Year's Eve designs. Wishing you loads of confetti and champagne this New Year's Eve.

Designer + Planner: Kelly McLeskey-Dolata,  A Savvy Event  / Photographer:  Scott Clark Photography  

Designer + Planner: Kelly McLeskey-Dolata, A Savvy Event / Photographer: Scott Clark Photography 

A wedding is a party, but a wedding on New Year's Eve is a big party! If you choose to have a New Year's Eve wedding you want to find a balance between your wedding details and the traditional New Year's Eve elements. You don't want to have one overwhelm the other.  We loved this inspiration from A Savy Event. Mixing silver and gold design elements showcases the glamour of the evening but also is an elegant wedding color palette!

 


Now this is a party! We love this rich and moody color palette designed by Beijos Events. Think geometric shapes, a bar cart filled with bubbly and confetti.  The richness of this look is accomplished by mixing deep jewel tones including pink, green and blue. Don't forget to add elements of gold to round out the look.

Photographer: Megan Welker / Design & Styling: Beijos Events


This look designed by Gray Harper Maker is everything you want for a beautiful and festive New Year's Eve dinner party. Ring in the New Year surrounded by a white and black tablescape, softened by pink and gold accents. Love this look? Be sure to check out our shopping list below!


Want to throw a bash for your besties? Sounds fabulous! We loved this girly, gilded and spunky design from Francine Ribeau Events. To capture this fun look layer different patterns, go for stripes and chevron. Use black accents as your base and glitter the room with golds and pinks!

Photography: Melissa Biador Photography | planning + design: Danielle from Francine Ribeau Events

Loving these looks? Us, too! We wanted to share our shopping list with you so you can design your own sophisticated New Year's Eve gathering. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Happy New Year!

Top Holiday Party Outfits

Having a hard time figuring out what to wear for your holiday festivities? We’re here to help! One of our favorite parts of the holiday season is the wide variety of options you have to choose from while still looking cute and staying on a budget. Between bold, seasonal colors, bright, fun metallics, and classic neutrals, the possibilities are endless!


For a more classic look, we love a simple base dress that you can accessorize to your heart’s content. Add a statement piece necklace or a cozy blanket scarf, throw on some ankle booties, and you’re ready to go!


Looking for something that does all the talking itself? No problem. Here are some of our favorites for the girl looking to add a little character to her outfit.


Finally, for the girl who really wants to make a statement! We love the bright, flashy sequins these options offer. No doubt, all eyes will be on you!


Do you have a favorite holiday look? Let us know what your secret is!