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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Replay: frugal party planning - picking a theme

It seems that many of my blogging and IRL friends are planning parties lately. I thought I would dust this post off and give it some new life. This post was originally published August 26, 2008.

photo by normanack

A few weeks ago I posted on 5 tips for saving time and/or money when planning a party. In this post we'll follow up and elaborate on how a theme can save you both time AND money!

First, a theme can save you money if you tailor it correctly. For example, say you are having a birthday party for one of your girlfriends. You want to save money on food, but at the same time you want it to be delicious and fun - 2 possible options are a brunch or appetizers. Prefer a morning party? Go with a brunch. Looking for something later in the day? An appetizer party could be early afternoon or later in the evening (after dinner). Let's choose brunch.

A theme can also help you save time by giving you direction and helping you determine where you want to go with your party. Think about what your friend's interests are when choosing a theme. Does your friend like to travel? Does she enjoy gardening? Let's assume for the sake of this example she enjoys to travel. A travel themed brunch could center around breakfast foods from different parts of the world, or you could simply make up cute names for more "ordinary" foods that tie in your theme. A few things I would prepare for this theme would be french toast bites, tropical fruit salad, Mediterranean omelet casserole, and exotic fruit drinks and coffees or teas. Brunches are especially economical because breakfast foods tend to be very affordable.

Now that you know you're having a party with a travel theme, you can think about ideas for invitations and decorations centering on this theme. If you want to give a party favor, your travel theme can also help you come up with an idea for favors. Don't feel you have to extend the theme to all aspects of the party if you're having trouble tying it together, only use it in so far as it will help you.

I used the travel example because I threw a travel themed bridal shower for a girlfriend who really enjoyed travelling with her future husband. We sent pretty traditional shower invitations, but we requested guests think (if they wanted to) of a way to suggest the bride use her shower gift on a trip with her groom to be. We included card stock and requested each guest provide a travel tip or a suggestion for a future trip the bride and groom might enjoy. We used this card stock along with photos from the event to make a keepsake for my friend. We included a few games since it was a bridal shower, and the prizes for the game winners were travel themed.

For my daughter's first birthday I found a great deal on some cute dessert napkins and plates that said "I'm One" and had a teddy bear on them. I only bought a few items with this design and filled in with coordinating solid colors. I made a teddy bear smash cake for her to eat. In this case, the napkins and plates, and a matching bib provided me an idea for what kind of cake I wanted to make and a basic color scheme.

Next week I will wrap up this series with some tips on how to save money on decorations for parties.

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Nene said...

I have several parties coming up that need some planning - this was excellent! Thanks for all the great tips and ideas!

Marva said...

Great themes and ideas! I love your mind set! Hope you are feeling better! Blessings!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for some more great tips! My son's first birthday is coming up in a couple months!! ;-)

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

Great ideas!

Tips a Cake said...

I really liked your article, very useful tips to make cake decorating ideas which I will make, I will wait for tips on how to save money on decorations for the party.