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Planning Ahead for the Perfect Party

Here's when the real fun begins: decorating! Because almost no one does it anymore, I happen to love decorating for parties. I tend to lean toward the kitsch, selecting super-cheap décor that makes people laugh.

I only have $35 left in my budget, so I'll have to be creative. My friend, Ben, has a full-sized Mexican flag, so I'll hang that from the edge of the porch in the backyard, which is where most of the party will take place. Another friend of mine collects sombreros (I don't know why), so I will beg him to loan them to me for the party. I have about five Mexican blankets, which I can spread on the grass in case anyone wants to sit. I picked up a bunch of Mexican saints candles a few months ago (I liked the kitschy labels), so I can use those to anchor down the tablecloths and decorate the food table.

I'd better add to my list of stuff to get ready:

    I'll Need
  • Candles
  • Checkered tablecloths
  • Tiki torches and oil
  • Mexican flag (Ben)
  • Sombreros (Tony)
  • Mexican blankets
  • Saints candles

Because the budget is so small, and because I want to save about $25 for the favors, that means I only have $10 for the décor. Bummer! It's a good thing most of my décor is either free or in my party closet.

I can pick up some helium balloons in red, white, and green (the colors of the Mexican flag) and tie them in clumps around the back fence. I think the balloons will only cost about $5, so I guess I'll use the remaining $5 to buy a piñata. I really hope I can find one for that price, or else I'll have to dip into the emergency fund, which is a big no-no.

As you're planning your décor, don't be afraid to get creative, as I've done for this party. Scour discount stores and closeout sales for themed items that you normally wouldn't buy, even for $.99. A cracked, heart-shaped bowl can make a great centerpiece for a Valentine's Day party: Just use it for flowers, and you won't notice the flaws.

Okay, I think that's it for the décor. Here's my shopping list:

  • Balloons $5.00
  • Piñata $5.00

And to 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$10.00
Entertainment/Activities$
Music$
Favors$
Emergency Fund$35
Total Costs$

Well, I don't have as much décor as I'd like, but the most important elements for this particular party are the food and beverages, which will be great. The backyard is in good shape, with a lot of flowers already blooming, so I'll have to let nature be my decorator and let the Mexican details lend atmosphere.



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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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