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Throwing the ultimate bash
There are tons of reasons to party — pick your theme and set your budget

by Kristi A. Larson


Everyone dreams of throwing the ultimate bash, that one amazing function that has your guests talking about it for days, even weeks later. But in today’s budget conscious economy, how is it possible to take your guests’ breath away, without taking yourself to the poor house? The answer just might be simpler than you think — all it takes is a little creativity, a theme and some work. After all, what’s a little time and hard work when it comes to creating a legacy?

By dreaming up a theme for your occasion, you give yourself a jumping off point. Themes can range from the simple to the elaborate, depending on your goal. The theme will guide you in your selections about decor, food and beverages, even what you might wear.

Before you start buying things however, set a budget for your event and stick to it. Out of this budget, plan on about 75 percent of the budget going toward food and beverages and 25 percent going toward decor. Even with doing everything yourself, you are still looking at a minimum of about $10 per person and up. This figure will help you decide how many people you can invite while still staying within your established budget. You can always invite fewer guests and do a more elaborate function as well.

Some themes you might consider: An Asian Experience, Blues and BBQ, High Rollers (A Casino Theme), Shaken Not Stirred (A Martini Affair), or even a Meteor Shower — the reasons to celebrate are endless. Design your invites or evites around the theme — shaped like a martini glass, for instance. In today’s online society, I prefer the evite. If you aren’t familiar with evite.com, I highly recommend it. You can customize and send out your “evitations” — then as each person RSVPs they can also add messages for the rest of the attendees. It also makes it easy to track who has responded and to follow up with those who haven’t.

Plan your menu and beverage selections accordingly and be creative. If you choose an unusual theme, like a meteor shower, consider taking cocktails and assigning them names such as a “Saturn Slush” or a “Rocket Shooter.” Do the same with the menu items. How about offering some star fruit for this astronomical affair? Encourage guests to come dressed in theme attire to really get them into the spirit of things.

With the holidays upon us it’s practically impossible to miss an opportunity to snag a theme that’s already a long-held tradition. Christmas, Hannukah, New Year’s and the Winter Solstice are also perfect reasons to celebrate and easy to decorate for: Menorahs, dreidles, Christmas trees (real ones are great but the revolving silver trees with a changing color wheel are the bomb), spray snow, mistletoe, retro holiday cocktail music, some apples and cinammon on the stove and a log in the fireplace can make your place a hoppin’ party pad for the holiday season.

Even the humblest of us secretly dream that our next event will be so remarkable, so awe-inspiring, that it will set the standard for all future affairs. We dream of it, but for most the reality of the price tag is a nightmare. With proper planning and some budget conscious creativity, your party legacy will last a lifetime.
— Kristi A Larson is BellaOnline’s
party planning editor.

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