Party projects {party breakdown}

Who doesn’t love a party? Good food, good drink, good people & great atmosphere = great party!  But not everybody wants to spend a ton of money when throwing a party.  We wanted a kick-ass party without having our husbands cursing our names because we emptied their wallets.  We challenged ourselves to create a great backyard shindig for 70 while keeping to a $15 per person budget.  That works out to a $1050 limit for lighting, decorations, food and alcohol.  Not a lot of wiggle room but we made it happen!

Invitation:  The invitation sets the mood for any party & we wanted ours to be the preview to a night of fun.  I found these on etsy at papernpeonies.  The invitation file was $15 to purchase and printing them was $41.  That’s a grand total of $56.  We hand delivered them so there was no postage to pay.

suburbanbitches party invite

suburbanbitches party invite

(The invite has been slightly edited for blog viewing)

Lights:  If you’re having an outdoor party that as good a place as any to start.  As our pergola’s only been complete for a few weeks lighting was not in abundance.  Our first move was to pay a visit to our local Target (as if that something novel in our suburban lives) for some of their outdoor strings of light.  At $14 for a 20” strand they are the best bargain I’ve found for the larger bulb outdoor lights.  We zigzagged a couple strands across the pergola & hung the rest out from the house and attached them to a pole we commandeered from the hammock stand which we then securely placed in a large flower pot filled with rocks from our landscaping (first rule of decorating – use what you’ve got).

Party lighting

Party lighting

We wanted lighting in the rest of the backyard that was both fun and not overly expensive.  This is where the tiki torches and mason jars came into play.  Erin already had the tiki torches & I spent $10.50 at ACE on a dozen mason jars.  I used floral wire to hang the jars on our back fence.  Add a few tea lights I already had and the outer edge of lighting was complete.

Mason jar lighting from suburbanbitches

Mason jar lighting

We, and by we I mean my engineer husband, came up with the idea to hang a clamp-on barn light from Lowe’s (for $8 each) to the pergola & one to the house for the finishing touch to the lighting.  We also set out white IKEA lanterns that I had around the tables.  The grand total for lighting – $82.50

Decorations:  We rented 4 white to the floor tablecloths from an event company for $80.  That was more than we had anticipated.  For future parties I think I’ll look into how much it would cost to just buy them.  I already had two long collapsible tables and one round one and neighbors had two more long tables they let us borrow.  After covering the tables in the white tablecloths we draped them either with kraft paper (I had a HUGE roll I found in the drop cloth area of Home Depot a while ago to wrap gifts) or burlap that I had purchased for another party several years ago.  We scrounged up mason jars and mercury glass from around my house to use as vases and called on neighbors that needed to trim back their hydrangeas for the floral component of our décor.

hydrangea and burlap party decor from

hydrangea and burlap party decor

Erin purchased the two blue crates we used as stands for our s’more flames from Home Goods for $30.  The bowls Erin had on hand.  The sterno and the rocks for the flames came to $8.

DIY s'more bar from

DIY s’mores bar

We considered having a banner made but figured that we could save $50 and make it ourselves instead.  Even better we’d have the fonts from our logo if we did it ourselves.  I called the local scrapbook store, Scrap 2 It and asked the very sweet owner to create some vinyl stencils with her Silhouette Cameo in our fonts (Birch Standard & Witched).  We took advantage of my much too large scrapbook stash for the aqua and hot pink cardstock used in the banner.  Erin stenciled the letters on with a little bit of leftover gold leaf,  strung the pennants up with some twine we had and add some tassles that Erin made from gold mylar streamers.  Cost of the banner – $14.

suburbanbitches banner

suburbanbitches banner


suburban bitches banner

suburban bitches banner close-up

Erin designed these napkins that every party (including many of our future parties) should have for $45.

Trust me you can dance - vodka napkins

Trust me you can dance – vodka napkins

And since everyone should have a bit of chalkboard fun at a party we used this old piece of plywood painted with chalkboard paint Erin had hanging out in her garage & I put my chalkboard drawing skills to work to create a backdrop for our food table.

Eat, Drink & Be Merry banner

Eat, Drink & Be Merry banner

pre-party set up

pre-party set up

All told the decorations came to $177.

Food:  Here’s where things started to get more expensive.  We wanted a few items we didn’t need to make ourselves as we knew time would be at a premium on the day of the party.  We purchased two platters from a local catering company, Fiona’s, an artichoke-chile dip and a basil pesto torte.  They came with huge baskets of crostini and crackers.  The catering was right at $150.  The DIY shortcake station totaled $35.  The s’more station was $30  The crostini station was $55. The meatballs were $25, the pulled pork was $13 and the buns for both were $12.  Add some plates for $13 and forks that we already had and the total for food came to $333. (you can check out images of the food here)

Drink:  Of course this is where things can get expensive.  We wanted at least one half keg of good local beer (because our town is composed of countless good craft brewers).  We went with ODell 5 Barrel Pale Ale and Coors Light for those watching their waistlines (at least it’s Colorado brewed too!).  The kegs came to $110.  The mixed drinks, sangria & mint vodka lemonade, came to $95.  We spent $150 on wine (low but we correctly gambled that most people would go for the mixed drinks over wine).  Ice was another $21.  We had the drink containers already and the only non-alcoholic drink we put out was a big drink container of water (that’s just how we roll).  For cups we got a big container of clear solo cups from Costco ($18) and Erin dipped them in leftover watered down gold paint to get the cool dripped gold look .

gold dripped party cups from suburbanbitches

gold dripped party cups from suburbanbitches

Here’s the rundown of all the expenses:

Invitations:           $56

Lighting:                $82.50

Decorations:       $177

Food:                    $333

Beverages:          $394

GRAND TOTAL $1142.50

We had $7.50 left for wiggle room!  Yep, putting those mad, good budgeting skills to work – but shhhh – don’t tell our husbands what we are capable of!



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2 Responses to Party projects {party breakdown}

  1. Meg says:

    Okay, I guess this explains why I wasn’t invited.