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Planning Ahead for the Perfect Party

After planning out the food and drinks, I have a good idea of what I'll need to make this party work. My budget for tools will be minimal; I already have a grill, and there's plenty of propane in the tank. I have all the tools I'll need to prepare and serve all the food and drinks—I even have a blender in case someone insists on a blended margarita!

I already have all the candles anyone could ever want, including tea lights, votive candles, and tapers, all in white—which is one of the colors of the Mexican flag. I have about a dozen tiki torches and enough oil to last the night; plus, we have red chili-pepper lights strung in the backyard, so lighting is all set.

I have red-and-white checkered tablecloths for the kitchen, patio, and picnic tables, and I picked up a ton of white dinner napkins at a sale last year. I'll need to buy clear, plastic cups and utensils, as well as small and large paper plates. I can get all of that at Costco or a discount store for about $20.

I will need two large, plastic buckets—one for the beer and the other for the soda and water. I'll fill the buckets with ice and let guests help themselves. I happen to know that I can pick up plastic buckets (red, even, which will go nicely with my theme) for $4.99 each, so my shopping list will look like this:

  • Red plastic buckets (2) $10.00
  • Cups $5.00
  • Utensils $5.00
  • Small plates $5.00
  • Large plates $5.00

A week or two before you throw a party, it's a good idea to take inventory of your kitchen and make sure you have everything you'll need to prepare and serve the food and drinks, including tools, gadgets, electronics, serving dishes, and cookware. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of preparing your carnitas, only to find you don't have the right pot in which to cook them! So, I'd better start keeping track of the stuff I'll need to get out of storage or borrow, just to make sure I don't forget anything, here's a list:

    I'll Need
  • Candles
  • Checkered tablecloths
  • Tiki torches and oil

Before the party, I'll make sure that I actually have all this stuff and that it is clean and in working order.I can also update my budget sheet:

ElementCost
Total Budget$350.00
Venue$0.00
Invitations$0.00
Food$150.00
Drink$100.00
Tools$30.00
Décor$
Entertainment/Activities$
Music$
Favors$
Emergency Fund$35
Total Costs$



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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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