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Planning Ahead for the Perfect Party

The Mexican theme requires margaritas and Mexican beer, but I don't think I can afford both, as well as soft drinks, water, and ice. I'd like to get a keg, but I definitely can't afford that. I need to find a way to offer great booze, but keep the beverage budget as low as possible.

I'd love to have a tequila tasting, in which guests would each bring a different bottle of tequila to share, but I don't want to ask my friends to shell out a ton of money. Instead, I'll have a Mexican beer tasting. I'll invite guests to bring a six-pack of their favorite Mexican beer, and recruit three or four tasters to sample each beer. We can make a production of it, with blindfolds, a tasting table, and an emcee...this idea could really work!

Not only will this beer tasting cut down beverage costs tremendously, but it will clue guests in on what to bring for a hostess gift, and we can include the tasting as part of the entertainment. Sure, some people won't bring the beer, and others will bring duplicates, but it will all work out.

I can use a medium-priced tequila for the margaritas, which will save money. You don't need to purchase top-shelf tequila when you're making margaritas, unless you are hosting a very small party. Really, who's going to know? If you feel embarrassed, just decant the tequila into a vintage glass bottle. You can pretend you are being a classy host.

According to my calculations, I will be hosting about 50 people, at least 40 of whom will drink. Hearkening back to what we learned in Chapter 3, "Party Basics," plan for two drinks per person for the first two hours of the party, and then one drink per person for every hour thereafter. Because the party will last about 5 hours, I will need to plan about 280 drinks. Again, yikes!

A 1.5-liter bottle of tequila is equivalent to about 50 ounces, and each margarita requires 1.5 ounces of tequila. Therefore, each bottle will yield about 34 margaritas. Because we'll be featuring beer, soda, and water, and because tequila drinkers tend to only have a few drinks before switching to beer, I think that three 1.5-liter bottles will be enough. That's about 100 margaritas, if you are keeping track.

Here's what my Beverages shopping list will look like:

  • Tequila (4.5 L) $40.00
  • Triple sec (.75 L) $7.00
  • Sour mix (1 bottle) $5.00
  • Fresh limes (36) $5.00
  • Margarita salt $3.00
  • Corona (1 case) $20.00
  • Pepsi (12-pack) $5.00
  • Diet Pepsi (12-pack) $5.00
  • Bottled water (case) $5.00
  • Ice (5 bags) $5.00

It's going to be tight, but I think I can pull it off. If I can get a deal, or if I have anything left over from my food budget, I'll pick up a bottle of top-shelf tequila, which I can pull out if we want to do a couple shots.

Okay! Enough math. My drinks budget will look like this:

ElementCost
Total Budget$350
Venue$0
Invitations$0
Food$150
Drink$100
Tools$
Décor$
Entertainment/Activities$
Music$
Favors$
Emergency Fund$35
Total Costs$

That leaves about $65 left for the rest of the party, which I don't think will be a problem. My party is going to be on the kitschy side, so I won't need to invest a lot in décor or favors. In fact, the cheaper the better!

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Reproduced from Plan a Fabulous Party In No Time, by Tamar Love, by permission of Pearson Education. Copyright © 2005 by Que Publishing.

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