Posts Tagged ‘Budget’

Backyard Beach Party on a Budget


Melissa Newell from My Party Passion, is back with her first post of the summer on how to throw a budget backyard beach party!

Hello everyone – It’s summertime here in NY and we are gearing up for some nice warm weather. Today I am sharing some tips and tricks, on a budget of course, to throwing your own backyard beach party!

When our son turned seven, he wanted a Beach Party. My first thought was how am I going to turn our backyard into a beach theme? Well, if you know me, you know my first thought is BUDGET!

Now this party was more (money) that I original wanted to spend, however, there are a ton of “budget” friendly ideas that you can easily duplicate at home.



Centerpiece – I used a recycled large plastic pretzel container, filled it with water, and added blue food coloring. I slapped on a pair of dollar store goggles (you might already have some) and I added a hat from the dollar store. This made a big impact and all were talking about it!

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Cake Stands -- Again, off to the dollar store. I bought 6 of the beach themed sand sifters and hot glued them to a tin can that I had put colored duct tape on (but any craft paper would do). These were so cute in displaying our beach themed cookies.

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Beach Balls -- One of the biggest bangs for the buck, hanging beach balls over the goodie bag table caught everyone’s eye. It was so easy and affordable.

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Sandwiches – Using the Pepperidge Farm goldfish bread you can put tuna or chicken salad on them. I did some with PB&J too.

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Corn Dogs – When I think of the boardwalk or the beach, I go to corndogs in my head. I bought mine in the frozen section, heated them up, and stuck them dog side up in a cute display that I made with wrapping paper and a cardboard box. They were snatched up in 10 mins flat!

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Snack Shack -- If you ask any of the children at the party what they loved the most, most would say “shoveling” their own snacks. Again, using new dollar store buckets with shovels,I put snacks in them, tipped them and the kids were able to help themselves at their leisure! The Snack Shack was just for them. I found sea creature cups in the store for them to fill up.

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Keeping the kids entertained is so important at a party. It let’s the parents relax a little, too! Besides the obvious of a using sprinklers and kiddie pools, I had a few games planned for the kids that cost next to nothing.

Fill the Bucket -- Using recycled milk jugs (I saved from a few weeks prior), and a dollar store sponge, each team had to soak the sponge in the bucket with water and squeeze out the water into the milk jug. Once the jug was filled, that team was our winner!

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Water Balloon Toss – You can get the parents into this one too!

Sandcastle Building –- if you already have a sandbox – this one is a no brainer!

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Photo Booth -- Now this one I got real creative with, but it did not cost me a lot of money! I wanted to create a “beach’ for the pictures of everyone (and I mean everyone got into the photos).

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Using a backdrop I found at a craft website, and a few play yard bags of sand , the beach was born!

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I had a basket of props for everyone to pick from. They had a great time with this!

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It’s not that hard to pull this party together and celebrate with friends! I hope you found some beachy ideas and until next time friends... hang ten!

Thank you, Melissa, loving the beach photo booth you made with real sand! To learn more about Melissa, visit her at My Party Passion.

{DIY} How to Make a Fall Backdrop Using Cheap Woven Placemats

If you read my blog, you know I love interesting backdrops. When putting together my recent Halloween dessert table I wanted something stylish, modern, cheap, and easy as my backdrop so I came up with this...


  • 7 SNAR placemats from Ikea ($2 each)
  • 28 gauge galvanized wire

I found these SNAR placemats at Ikea. I bought eight (but used seven in the backdrop).

I laid them out on the floor how I wanted them.

Using 28 gauge galvanized wire, I wired them to each other.

When I was done, I used heavy duty XL Glue Dots to hang it on the wall (but you can also use fishing wire and small tacks if you like).

Simple! Oh how I loved how it looked and it took me 15 minutes to put together!

Planning My Daughter's 4th Birthday - Budgeting

(Last day to enter our $50 CSN giveaway by telling us what you love about spring!)

As I've mentioned before, I'm on a strict budget for Adelaine's party and the rule at my daughter's preschool is you have to invite the whole class. That means I'm throwing a party for 60+ people. Yikes.

So how am I dealing? Well, I'm prioritizing and trying to save where I can.

The ways I'm saving:

  • I'm hosting the party at a "pocket park" right next to her preschool instead of renting a space, and I'm spreading out picnic blankets instead of renting tables and chairs.
  • I'm serving only pizza, cupcakes, water, and juice. That's right, no elaborate dessert table for me. It would never fly with the other mothers at Adelaine's preschool, and I'm actually relieved about the cost savings.
  • And finally, I'm borrowing everything I can from my sweet friend, Liezel Munez Gunn! Liezel is a freelance style editor who used to work at both Martha Stewart and O, The Oprah Magazine. From her, I'm borrowing fabric for the tables, cupcake trays, galvanized tubs, sea shells, and picnic blankets. It's nice to have generous friends with taste. :)
My two biggest expenses are the entertainer and the photographer:
  • Our entertainer is named Goofy Gil. He's an actor and theater teacher in LA whom my daughter just adores. He has that magic touch and can keep kids  laughing, dancing, and entertained for hours. However, I've only booked him for one, so sorry kids. :)
  • I've never hired a photographer before, but because I wanted to capture the party for posterity and for my blog (so you can all see how it turns out), I decided to bite the bullet this year. I've hired Samantha Zachrich, an LA based photographer who specializes in fashion (so if I look especially good in the photos, you know why).
Okay, given my financial constraints, how am I making this party special -- I'm a party blogger for God's sake, I must!

So stay tuned for my next "Planning My Daughter's 4th Birthday" post to find out...

(To catch up, here are my earlier party planning posts.)

How to Save Money on Your Wedding -- An Expert Chimes In

Again I wanted to blog about Liz Coopersmith, my friend and LA party planner, because she's leading monthly workshops in LA, called the Recession Bride's Workshop, to help brides and grooms save money while throwing their dream weddings.

So I posed her some questions to get the skinny on what really matters and what doesn't, and here's what she said...

Liz Coopersmith with one of her happy clients
Liz Coopersmith with one of her happy clients

What are the three easiest ways to save when throwing a wedding?

  • Find a wedding site that costs less than $3000 to rent, control your food and liquor costs by either bringing it in yourself, or limiting either, Keep your wedding flowers simple and seasonal.

If you're on a strict budget, do you still need a wedding planner?

  • Gasp! Trick question! Personally, I try and make sure that I save my clients the cost of my services. Think of it this way - I know where the best deals are, where to find the vendors that are going to get you what you need and how you need it. Basically, I'm going to save you time,money and energy. If you truly don't have the money for a full-service coordinator, hiring someone (like me!) to help you find your vendors will help relieve the stress of starting out. And hiring a day-of coordinator will help you enjoy your wedding. HOWEVER, there are also some great books out there that will map out all this stuff for you. So, yes...and no.

How do you get the best deals when talking to vendors?

  • Come with a budget, and ASK. 50% of your budget goes to the ceremony and reception (site rental, food and drink, etc.), the rest goes towards everything else. ASK if there is a way to get a better deal.

Any unusual wedding locations you can recommend to save money?

What is an easy DIY project that doesn't take a lot of time, nor need a lot of skill, but will cut down on cost?

  • Using invitation kits. Target has some beautiful ones. Including ink, it will run you way less than $100.

What should you do if your fiance and you can't agree on a budget?

  • Break it down.Try and agree on how much you're willing to spend on the ceremony and reception. Are you willing to pay $50 a person for food and drink or $90 per person, or less?

What are your favorite wedding websites for great deals?

  • So many great resources! I'm on, and they always have lists of promotions. There's, 12kwedding,style me pretty, and pretty much all the blogs and sites they have listed.

What is the one thing not to skimp on when planning your wedding?

  • I'd have to say photography, since it's the one thing you're going to take away at the end of the day. I would encourage couples to NOT pick a photographer based on how much they cost, because if you don't like their work, you're not going to like your pictures! Luckily, there are quite a few really good photographers that are decently priced.

Liz's next Recession Bride's Workshop will be Sunday, July 19, 2009 from 1:00 - 3:00pm in downtown Los Angeles.  If you're newly engaged and live in LA, I'd highly recommend it, and you can still take advantage of the $10 "Early Bride" Discount by using the code WEDCHARMEARLY at checkout.

Thanks, Liz, for your expert advice!!

The Fake Cake

This is a brilliant cost-saving idea.  Let's say you're throwing a party and want one of those beautiful designer cakes but don't want to spend the money, what do you do?  Buy a fake cake instead.

Looks real, right?
Looks real, right?

The fake cakes are covered in fondant, which is what cake designers use, but underneath it, pure Styrofoam.  And the idea is this... At your party, everyone gets to marvel at your beautiful cake, but then when it's time to eat it, it gets taken to the kitchen to be "cut" and instead you serve a much less expensive sheet cake in the same colors in it's place.

You can even make one of the tiers real cake so if it's a wedding, you can do the cake cutting ceremony and no one will know the difference.  And the cost savings... One of these cakes costs about $250.  A real designer cake costs about $2,500.

Beautiful, right?
Another fakey

Like I said, brilliant.

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