BSBs are known for throwing beautifully planned events. But sometimes we simply don’t have the budget for what we want. In my case, I have a book club program for girls called Progressionista and before the program took a break for the summer I thought the girls deserved an event to celebrate. This idea was very daunting for two reasons. First, I have never done this before. Second, my budget was like any entry level PR girl with lots of other things to do with her money– nearly nonexistent!
My fears, however, never got in the way of my event. I planned the event of my dreams without breaking the bank or shedding any tears. Use the following tips to make sure your event is everything you envision even if you can’t afford it.
Do. It. Yourself!
I would suggest before you think of any vendors deeply thinking about what you can do yourself. I knew that I wanted to have a tea party theme for the girls. I also knew that I wanted to include books and butterflies in the decor because our organization’s logo included those things. I immediately searched “book club parties” and “tea parties” on Google and Pinterest. This gave me the best thing any DIYer can have– inspiration.
From there I began making streamers with book pages and ribbon for the ceiling and table settings made out of stacking books I already owned. I raided stores’ dollar sections like Target and Michaels and didn’t sleep on the dollar store itself! Decorations are very expensive at wedding supply places and Party City– when all it really takes is a cheap craft store and the childlike creativity within you.
This is the key. Time will always be the best substitute for money. I suggest planning five months out or more if you can. Starting early made me gather lots of decorations and supplies for very cheap that I would not have been able to shop around for if I waited until the last minute. For example, I wanted to put costume butterfly wings on the back of each chair. But at $5 a set that would be too pricey for a group of 50. Having time to shop around allowed me to find them at Dollar Tree, where everything’s a dollar!
Starting early also is important if you want any speakers. I was able to schedule an inspirational author who is very well known in the community to speak. Why? Because I asked her so far in advance her schedule was clear! Never expect anyone to come before you ask them. Schedule people in advance.
Utilize Friends and Family
The thing about family and friends is that they love you– and that means deals. I was very fortunate to have a sister who cooks amazingly who catered the entire event! I also have a creative mom who used her calligraphy to write out the cards on each table setting as well as creating the teapot flower arrangements. I even used my brother to do the photography! You may not have as many talented people in your circle as me but think long and hard on who is before you pay more for someone else.
Amazon, Ebay, and many other websites are a hub for deals! I found gifts for each girl for less than $3 a gift. They all received a canvas tote, a ring, necklace and temporary tattoos. I also bought linen table cloths for about $4 a cloth- the same table cloths that average $10 a piece rented.
Have A Team of Helpers
You cannot do it alone. Especially with your amateur budget. Ask your friends, mentees and co-workers for help. Whether it’s set -up or collecting RSVPs, you’ll appreciate the help. I know I did.
A Few Last Tips
Before I let you go, I want to share some last tips that’ll cheapen your event planning even more. Book a venue that has their own tables and chairs. It will save time but also a lot of money. I would also suggest you make invites in-house. I purchased decorative note cards that matched my color scheme and glued inserts inside I designed on Photoshop. Lastly, look around your house and see what can be used as decor, it’s free!
Overall, my Books and Butterflies Year End Tea Party was a complete success! And I regret nothing because I refused to overspend.I wish you much success for your event and I hope you get the most beauty for your book. 🙂0