A Fun, Inexpensive Event Is Possible

It’s time for spring, time for another gathering of friends. Sadly, I’m entertaining much less than I used to but it still nice when the occasional occasion happens.

Sean in the past used to have a winter barbeque (and depending on the weather, eat the food outside) which I am intrigued by. It seems really impractical but also kind of fun.

You may remember how I threw a party with $50. I am going to do it again folks. I’m doing it today actually.

I used an Evite for my invitation and not only did it make for a prettier invitation then I would normally send but it also kept track of who said they were coming. This way, when I want to know who’s coming, I open one email instead of 15. Cost for Evite- $0.

For food, we have a steak ($5), ribs ($6), asparagus ($1, clearly on sale), roasted veggies like zucchini ($3), tofu for the vegetarians ($2) and some sweet potato fries ($3). Marinades will be made from whatever is in the fridge and all the veggies need is a little butter and some light spicing to be good anyway.

For dessert, there will be chocolate fondu made from a ginormous cube of chocolate ($6) and some leftover cream. What to dip in the chocolate? Peeps are in abundance this time of year but you can also dip pretzels, fruit, graham crackers, and most anything edible you have kicking around your fridge or cupboards (though I’ll invest $5 in some peeps, graham crackers, and apples). Plus in my experience people think fondu is fun and kind of retro. ( Which means clearly this is the kind of dessert people would expect at one of my gatherings.)

On the drink front, Sean has been stockpiling beer for awhile ($15-20 worth probably) buying a six pack most every time we grocery shop and we have some leftovers from other get togethers that people have left. My box of wine I opened a few weeks ago is still is half full. We are good to go.

We’re dragging the kitchen chairs (and others) onto our back deck and getting a fire going in the firepit. We’ve got plenty of scrap wood, cardboard, and newspapers to get a fire going and to burn it for awhile. I’m also breaking out the Apples To Apples, the wiffle ball set, and maybe a chess board or two, depending on the party mood. As always I’ll make a party appropriate mix on my iPod because nothing says party like some festive music. All these things, like other good things, are free in that we are just using what we already have in a way we don’t normally use it. If the weather turns, will move things inside but still grill.

So far it looks like it’ll be around 10 people, a good amount though we can always make people more work.

My point is that you don’t have to be a millionaire or very fancy to throw a great party that people have fun at. Here are my tips:

How To Throw A Cheap And Rocking Party

1) Pick a theme and stick to it. Winter Barbeque/Board Game Day: random but people know what to expect. Want to watch kungfu movies? Sit on floor pillows and eat wasabi crackers. Want to eat pasta? Throw an Itallian dinner with cheezy music in the background and biscotti dipped in wine for dessert. Use elements of the theme to set up the party but you don’t have to completely commit to it (hiring someone to sing Italian during dinner, for example, may be going a little overboard). Propose an interesting idea and if you’re interested in it, others will be too.

2) Make a music playlist. It takes a little time but it really keeps things upbeat and fun to have music. You can also use your playlist from Pandora if you are lacking in time to plan.

3) Plan your meal (and entertainment) around what you have in the house. Have ricotta lying around? Make lasagna. Have mac and cheese? Have a party with friends where you wear pajamas, eat mac and cheese, and watch cartoons. Buy as few groceries as possible to keep costs lower…and to allow you to buy drinks. Along the same lines, use what you have. Consider large tvs, game systems, sports equiptment, and even toiletries (masks anyone?) as resources.

4) Have fun, before and during the party. If you’re not havig fun, no one else will be.

5) Clean up after everyone is gone. No one likes a kitchen martyr. And nothing says "go home" like a sink full of soapy dishes. Only start cleaning up when you want people to leave.

Just because you can’t buy expensive wine or hire a six peice band doesn’t mean you can’t hang out with your friends. Party on and have fun! 

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