Tips & Tricks

Designing on a budget

September 7, 2015


For many people, budgeting is just one of those necessary evils that you take on when you become an “adult.” I happen to love it! So much so that I want to help others budget successfully. One of my main goals with Liv Studio is to give people the tools and helping hands needed to style and host unique events on their budget – whatever that may be. We often think that hiring an event planner or stylist is WAY outside of our budget, but it doesn’t have to be. Each event is scaleable and we can get creative to make it happen! Here are some of my best tips when planning events:

Tip #1: Get organized

If you’ve never used Google spreadsheets, your life is about to change for the better. I plan everything on Google docs – which is extremely helpful and a tad bit sad. But it’s the perfect solution for party planning because you can keep all of your details in one place and you have an archive to reference later.

Create a spreadsheet with at least the following tabs: Guests, Budget, and Tasks. For Guests, keep a list of all the guests you plan to invite, their addresses, their RSVP status and the gift they gave after the party for sending Thank You notes. On the Budget tab, keep track of everything that you have purchased for the event to ensure you stay on schedule. For Tasks, this is where you keep your “to-do list” and a status column to keep notes or check things off. You can also add a date and/or priority column.

Refer back to your last spreadsheet when planning a new event so you don’t have to ask guests for their address for the 50th time. It’s embarrassing!

Tip #2: Price check

Amazon, Target, Party City, Etsy and other smaller online party retailers compete for your business. While buying everything from one place may be convenient, shop around. You can get the same look but for much cheaper by taking a little extra time. Use your spreadsheet to keep track of prices as well.

If you don’t have an amazon prime subscription, your life is too hard. Free 2-day shipping is a lifesaver for planning down to the wire.

Tip #3: DIY

Spend a little extra time making decorations instead of buying them for convenience. There are a ton of DIY’s on pinterest, in magazines or even on our blog page.

Try making your own cake. Bake a week in advance and freeze it. That way you don’t have to stress and the texture of the cake holds better for frosting.

Tip #4: Reuse

Use things you already own or reuse from past parties. You’d be surprised what you have laying around the house that would be a perfect compliment to the party.

I like to use our real dishes and flatware because it looks more formal and you don’t have to buy all of those brightly colored plates, bowls, forks, cups, etc from the party store that end up in the back of your pantry for years.

Tip #5: Do something unexpected

There are a thousand ways to skin a cat. If something seems too expensive or cumbersome, think of a different way to go about it. You can also search online to see if others have run into the same issue.

Think about using a painter’s drop-cloth as a floor-length tablecloth. Or piece together a chunky floral garland table runner using a bunch of artificial garlands mixed with real flowers.

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