|Photograph by Jim Franco from The Find|
1. Set your budget. Even for the smallest home gathering, knowing how much money you can spend frees your mind to get creative. It is also a good way to help you prioritize the what you can live without and what is a must-have.
2. Pick a theme. This theme -- a color, a person, a time of year, a place a type of dog a TV show, or whatever -- the invitations, the menu, the music, the decoration and the dress for your affair. I once threw what I called a Dolly-Rama, a celebration of all things Dolly Parton. My good pal Michael Quinn is infamous for his Christmas celebrations with themes that range from "Mexican Christmas" to "Christ-mystical."
3. Use what you have for unexpected décor. Raid your kitchen cabinets, closets, bookshelves and friends' and neighbors' cabinets, closets and bookshelves for interesting objects that will personalize your event Mix and match your dishes and flatware for an eye-catching tabletop. Use a crazy piece of art or statuary as a centerpiece. Decorate your space with miniature floral bouquets in juice glasses. Let your imagination roam, but stay within your theme.
4. Plan your music. Everybody know that when the liquor is flowing and the music is just right, then that's half the effort of having a party that nobody wants to leave. Select music to complement your evenings' theme. Music that pops up randomly from a playlist can ruin the mood of all your hard work.
5. Offer a parting gift. I often keep a set of mismatched vintage dessert plates on hand for guests to fill up and take home. I don't worry about getting the plates back, and party goers gain a memento of our time together. Michael often creates handmade jewelry in the theme of his parties that guests wear right out the door!
Now's your chance to win a private event-planning consultation from Michael and me. Tomorrow night, The Sustainable Classroom Project, is auctioning off our services to help raise funds for the Advancement for Rural Kids, an organization that promotes getting kids get back to school in developing parts of the world. You can buy a ticket to the event, here, or join in on the silent auction to win Michael and me for a few hours and receive a signed copy of The Find.
Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,
The Elegant Thrifter