Going back through the Aqua & Orange Baby Shower shoot I featured yesterday got me thinking. I spend a lot of time on the web and thumbing through magazines, drooling over parties, weddings, and plenty of beautiful things I cannot afford. It can feel a little defeating to the average person on a budget. Sure, a $100,000 party is usually gorgeous, but a $100 party can be too. Take a look at the details of our shoot, then take heart!
First off, the food: It's wonderful when you can spend $1000 on a custom cake, but don't overlook your local grocery store. When Jacin's handmade cupcakes met with tragedy, a quick trip to Safeway and a color request brought us these beauties. Even powdered sugar Donettes from the box look lovely on a decorative cake stand. The little jar of candy on the table? $2 jellied orange slices from Walgreens. Instead of paying extra for elaborate custom designs, focus on color and presentation to pull off a designer look. No food is too mundane to be pretty—just look at our clementines!
For more custom touches on the cheap, DIY when you can. Make your own tags for favors, your own favors if you can, and try your hand at decor. I learned to sew just to make stuff for parties. Those owls? They're the first sewing project I've ever completed, not counting one very ugly catnip toy I made my cat. Buy flowers on the cheap (farmers markets, Trader Joe's) and arrange them yourself.
Finally, ask around! Sure, you may not be friends with someone who owns a vintage prop rental company, but all of your friends have homes or apartments, and they've probably filled them with some good-looking stuff. That teal cupcake stand? Spotted it at a friend's house. Mason jars? Just ask a mother or grandmother. Borrow table clothes, serving bowls, even throw pillows or blankets if they fit the theme/color scheme. Each little detail adds to the next to give you a look that encompasses an entire room.
What are your tips for saving money when you throw a party?
Photography by Gavin Farrington