The holidays are here and that means one thing: parties! Whether your space is large or small, hosting a party doesn’t have to be as complicated or as overwhelming as you would think it would be. Since we decked out our apartment for the holidays, we decided to invite some friends over for an impromptu holiday bash. We didn’t want to break the bank on throwing a party, so with a limited budget ($100) we set out to create a fun holiday gathering in our apartment for our friends.
We followed this simple checklist as we got the party planning started: Pick a Theme & Invite Your Guests!
We decided to keep it simple and picked the theme “Eat, Drink and Be Merry” for our party. We made a list of all of our guests and used Evite to create stylish, free electronic invitations to our party. Evite is great not only because it’s free, but it helps you keep tabs on who’s coming and allows you to send reminder emails or updates to your guests. Create the Soundtrack!
Every party needs a great soundtrack. We wanted to set a good vibe throughout the night with some great tunes. We loaded our iPod with some classic Christmas tunes as well as some new ones. If you need some inspiration for your playlists, services like iTunes, Pandora, or Spotify can definitely help you out. Search for what genre of music you’re looking for [in this example: holiday] and you’ll get a steady stream of great music. iHome or JAMBOX wireless speakers are an inexpensive investment to get you sound system quality to fill your apartment with great tunes.
Contact a Caterer and Get Your Menu Set
Don’t stress yourself with having to cook and prepare food as well as hosting a party — that’s no fun. There’s many great ways you can get delicious food on a budget. For our party, we wanted something light and healthy, yet different from traditional holiday party fare, so we reached out to our friends at Olive Mediterranean Grill. They helped us create a simple, tapas-style menu filled with colorful flavors and all under $50!
Clean Your Apartment!
A day or two before your party, be sure to clean it! We’re not talking surface cleaning either, we’re talking DEEP cleaning. Always remember to start cleaning by dusting first, then vacuuming or sweeping, and then mopping your floors. Also, be sure to get those small corners you usually miss around your apartment! Also, don’t forget to give some attention to your bathroom! Make sure it’s sparkling, has plenty of toilet paper, and fresh hand towels ready for your guests. At PPM, one of the exclusive concierge services we offer through Lifecrowd is apartment cleaning — so our residents can leave the ‘dirty work’ to someone else without any worries!
Make a centerpiece for your serving table.
With some inexpensive innovation, you can easily create a great centerpiece for your serving table. We used some vases we had around the house and with a few holiday greens and pinecones, we made a great holiday-themed centerpiece!
Decorate your apartment and arrange the furniture for cozy conversation.
Whatever the theme of your party may be, decorate accordingly. Our friends from Flora Chicago helped us decorate our apartment for the holidays with festive greens, silvers, and golds. Be sure to arrange your furniture in a cozy way that invites conversation but also allows for good traffic flow in case extra guests show up!
Create Your Shopping List!
With catering covered, your shopping list is significantly reduced, which makes it much, much easier! A few items to remember that are easily forgotten when planning a party include:
Coat hangers — don’t just throw coats on a bed! This simple step is a classy way to welcome your guests and saves time at the end of the night when people are searching for their coats.
Trash bags — make sure you have plenty on hand and make sure you monitor the trash throughout the night.
Toilet paper — as mentioned above, you definitely don’t want to have to run out to a drug store in the middle of your party for this!
Non-alcoholic drinks — remember that some guests may not drink alcoholic drinks, so be sure to get a few things for them. Around the holidays, cranberry juice with a dash of Club Soda and a slice of lime can make a refreshing and fun cocktail for your non-drinking guests.
Ice — how many parties have you been to when there’s been little or no ice? Be proactive and pick up a few bags, especially if you’re doing a BYO party.
Plates and napkins — pick recyclable plates and napkins to save you cleanup and help save the environment.
Get Inexpensive Wines — You’d Be Surprised What You Can Find!
We walked down the street to our neighborhood Trader Joe’s to find some inexpensive, but delicious wines for our guests to enjoy. Speaking with the wine expert at the store, we selected 3 reds and 3 whites for our party. For under $30 we got a great selection of wines that were a step up from the standard “Two Buck Chuck” from Trader Joe’s. We also learned from the wine expert that you can mix different varietals of the Charles Shaw reds to make an excellent blended wine.
Set Your Table!
Arrange for your caterers to arrive with your food about an hour before your guests arrive so you have time to set the table and make sure everything is perfect, or arrange to pick it up well in advance of your party. Give yourself some time to ensure everything is perfect before your guests arrive. This beautiful spread came from Olive Mediterranean Grill and offered great and healthy options for vegetarians and meat-eaters! It’s fresh, affordable, and different in a great way! Plus it smells amazing!
Arrange Your Plates and Napkins
Take a couple of minutes to arrange your plates and napkins in a decorative way. Don’t just plop them down or leave them in an opened package! We selected some fun, holiday-themed plates and napkins for our party — regardless of the time or season, try to match the theme of your party, all the way down to the napkins!
Presentation is Everything
Arrange your food with attention to detail — presentation is everything. This beautiful tapas spread from Olive Mediterranean Grill cost us $25! With hummus, pita, olives, tabouleh, baba ganoush, and chickpea salad, there was something for everyone and it was all so much healthier than typical holiday party food! Gie you guests something unexpected and delicious!
With everything in place and ready to go, start to welcome your guests, pop the corks, and have fun!
Make a Toast to Love, Health, and Happiness!
When a majority of your guests are there, take time to make a celebratory toast!
Party planning doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive!
Would you believe we threw our entire party for around $100? That’s all it took! And, by following a simple checklist, what would normally be stressful was easy and everyone had an amazing time. The next time you throw a party, follow these steps to ensure both you and your guests have a wonderful evening together!