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February 13, 2014

Super 16 Party.... On A Budget!

So the secret is finally out of the bag!  My daughters recently turned 16, and for about the last 6 months I have been planning a super Sweet 16 for them.  I can't believe it, that we actually pulled it off, without either of them knowing!  

For the last 6 months, they honestly thought they were helping to do things for a friends wedding!  We had a budget, and I knew that the budget HAD to be stuck to!  I knew that I wanted it to be elegant, and look expensive, just not have that expensive price tag!  

After we found a place to hold the venue, (at a discounted rate of course) I had to order invitations.  Invitations can get pricey.  So I stalked the Groupon site for weeks, until they had a Vistaprint deal.  I scored $70.00 worth of product for just $17.00.  I also knew that I would need response cards, and just by luck I found 100 response cards on clearance at my local iParty store for just $1.57 a package, down from $4.99 a package.  

Next, I wanted a jaw dropping centerpiece...

Of course, I was obsessed with finding ideas on Pinterest.  Looking to rent centerpieces, like these that we made would have completely blown the budget. So I began to try and hunt down ostrich feathers.  I ran into 1 big problem.  Each feather would have cost around $2.50 each!  I needed like 300 feathers!  I began researching these feathers everywhere, when I found a lot of 300 purple feathers on Ebay!  cost, just $62.00  granted they were not the 20 inch feathers I was originally looking for, these were just 10 inches in length.  however, when you realize that the tops would still be large, I figured they would work just fine, and as you can see they did!   The vases we used are called Eiffel Tower vases and are approx. 24 inches tall.  These can be found at just about every craft store.  My problem, was they were $10 a piece.  So I made multiple trips to my local AC Moore, and uses a 40% off coupon for each one.  cost just $6.00 each!   We also managed to drop in 2 LED lights into each vase on strings to light the base of them up!  

Because buffet dinners are cheaper than sit down meals, we planned on buffet style.  This way I could also enlist some family and friends help with making some dishes!  

Because the tables would look a little bare to me, and it was indeed a birthday party, I wanted the tables to have that finished look.  Normal favor boxes are always so small, and I wanted a "Wow" favor, that looked like gifts.  The problem with that was, I knew these would probably take a good chunk out of my budget.  4 inch squared craft boxes would cost me approx. 79¢ for each box.  Times that by 100, and now you're talking about $80 just for the boxes!  That's not even including the candy for the inside!  So I would have to research again online.  That's when I cam across a fabulous online store called Bags and Bows online.    I would need to purchase 100 boxes, which was fine, seeing as that's exactly how many I needed, but instead of paying $80 I paid just $15.95!  That's another savings of $64.  

All the candy I purchased, I waited until drug stores had cash back deals, like CVS for instance had buy $30 of candy, receive $10 back in ExtraCare Bucks.  I also didn't want to just tie a simple Thank You on the boxes.  Instead, I found some beautiful online quotes that I would print out on sticker paper, and apply them to the inside lid of each box.  (People could not stop talking about these!)

With the favor boxes being 4 inches, they really made the tables look beautiful:

Small White paper doilies acted like place settings, and everyone's silverware were wrapped in a napkin to complete the look.  

I managed to work out a few deals with local artists, like trading computer work for a 3 tiered cake.  

And am doing more computer work in exchange for the entertainment!  

Which the girls got their chance to work the DJ booth!  I'm a huge fan of the Barter system, especially when budgets are involved!  

While everyone was waiting for the girls to arrive, I wanted to keep people busy, so after spending about 2 weeks thinking of what to put out,  I decided on a cheese and fruit table:

Cutting celery and carrots, and standing them up in a small triffle bowl added another dimension to the table.

By placing all the cheeses at different heights adding depth to the table, it looked more expensive than it really was.  All the strawberries and cantaloupes were casually placed on the table itself, instead of on trays, I saved money buying and cutting the cheese myself, even though I had 11 different cheeses!  

I also didn't want people having to ask what kind of cheese was there, so I printed out the names of the cheeses, and glued them to wooden coffee sticks for each mound of cheese, really creating a finished look.  

Another easy idea that everyone loved were the dinner tags at the buffet table.  I printed out these and used an edging craft tool that I had to create the decorative edging, and glued them to a colored card stock paper.  With so many people dealing with allergies these days, I listed the ingredients that was in each dish.  Making it easier for everyone.  (Not to mention, avoiding anyone having an allergic reaction!) 

The card box was a favorite of mine.  I used left over Christmas boxes, lined them with black fabric and decorated accordingly!  

Although it was a tremendous amount of work, and research, considering the hundreds of dollars that I saved, it was well worth it all!  


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