December, 2013

Dec 13

Host a New Year’s Eve party the money saving way!

Christmas is almost here, which for all of the party goers out there means it is almost New Year’s Eve and arguably the biggest party night of the year!  However, you don’t need to hire Calvin Harris to do the tunes or employ Gordon Ramsay for the canapes to make your party a success.  Here are ten top tips for throwing a party on a budget…….

  1. FOOD – Unless you have specifically said it is a dinner party, you don’t have to feed your guests a full sit-down (and expensive) meal like the above pic!  Most of the supermarkets have special offers on nibbles so just cook up a load of those and save your cash!  However, if you do want a full meal, go for something you can cook in bulk like a chilli or curry and then just buy nachos or naans.
  2. DRINK – New Year’s Eve feels like a bubbly night but you don’t need vintage Bollinger to make your party go with a swing! There is always a great Champagne deal to be had but Aldi and Lidl are consistently cheap with Champagne for £12 and £13 and serving Cava or Prosecco is perfectly acceptable and Majestic Wine is great if you are buying by the case
  3. GLASSES: If you are buying plastic glasses (often the best option if you are worried about cleaning or breakages!) you can get 100 for £1.50 at ASDA with free delivery or free click and collect. Or if you’re looking to hire, Sainsbury’s offer free glass hire but you must give at least 48 hours’ notice and pay a £20 deposit.
  4. VENUE: If you don’t fancy having a load of people in your own house, then have a look at pubs, bars and restaurants that might let you have a room for free if your guests use their bar.  There will probably be a minimum spend but on New Year’s Eve you’ll reach that without much help! However, many places will charge you a ridiculous entrance fee or ticket price so home is probably best!
  5. MAKE UP: You’ll want to look your best but don’t worry, discount make up sites like Gorgeous Shop and Allbeauty have LOADS of your favourite products discounted by up to 70%. If you are confident enough, you could also try a free make-over at your fave make-up counter in a department store.  You only have to buy something if you visit a MAC concession but otherwise it is up to you if you walk away glossy faced and empty handed!!
  6. THE OUTFIT: I have already gone through my LBD options in a previous blog but don’t forget that you can shwop with your friends and have an outfit exchange for New Year’s Eve.  It is amazing how different a dress can look on a friend!
  7. MUSIC: Seriously, it is not worth splashing out on a DJ or band when a personalised playlist on your iPod will guarantee you get all of your favourite tunes. A free trial of Spotify Premium will give you access to millions of songs so you can create a fab setlist to get everyone dancing!
  8. INVITES: Don’t bother sending out written invites, sites like evite have free templates you can email which also have an RSVP function and even email and text is acceptable (and free!) these days
  9. HAGGLE: If you are holding an event in a hotel make sure you ask about a discount on their rooms for your guests or whether you could get a bottle of wine per table thrown in for FREE!
  10. Although not as chic as bone china, disposable tableware can be a real time saver as you just chuck everything away!  However, if you invest in plastic plates, you’ll only spend a couple of quid more than paper but if you can be bothered to wash it all up, you’ll get at least 3 uses out of it hopefully!

Find more tips read my 1 Minute Guide to Throwing a Party  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Dec 13

Celebrity wedding at a fraction of the cost!


There has been a real rush of celebrity engagements over the last few weeks with Leighton Meester and Adam Brody confirming their intended nuptials, Ashton Kutcher allegedly about to make it official with Mila Kunis and of course the elaborate proposal of Kanye West to Kim Kardashian!  Celebrities love to flash the bling and go over the top and I have no doubt that some of these A-list weddings will be nothing short of spectacular!  Kim’s second wedding to Kris Humphries cost $10 million and Justin Timberlake’s recent nuptials were around $6.5 million!!  Even the average UK wedding costs well over £20,000 these days!  However, it really IS possible to have a beautiful and romantic wedding without breaking the bank!


Here are my top ten ideas for a wedding on a budget:


  1. Choose a less popular date – Fridays and Sundays are becoming increasingly common as venues are usually cheaper and you can save money by avoiding Spring and Summer with dates in January, February, October and November often costing less
  2. Although it is good to provide sparkling wine for a toast and some wine on the table (remember to avoid corkage costs if possible), you do not have to have a free bar all day and night, just mention on the invite that it will be a pay bar in the evening so that guests can come prepared
  3. Sit down meals can be expensive so go for a buffet or BBQ (with a good organiser to manage any queues).  I even went to a wedding where the cake was made of pork pie and wheels of cheese so this doubled as food for the evening.  Great money saving!
  4. If you have handy friends, ask for their help in lieu of a wedding gift.  Cake makers, photographers, singers and hairdressers could all provide their expertise for free, or at least with a big discount!
  5. For ‘the dress’ look at eBay and Preloved.  Most wedding dresses are only worn once so second hand gowns will probably be in excellent condition.  Also give Oxfam’s Bridal Collection a try as some designers donate ex-display dresses for just a couple of hundred pounds.
  6. If you have been living together you probably don’t need traditional wedding gifts for your home, so ask for money to put towards your honeymoon or trips whilst you are there.  Sites like honeymiles and trailfinders are brilliant
  7. Cut out expensive stationery by using a wedding website like or where you can send out e-invites, receive RSVPs, update gift lists, give directions to the wedding and even share your photos
  8. Don’t waste your money on hiring a classic car and go for something fun or quirky (like a friend’s vintage Beetle or even a tractor).  Being original or comical will still provide the wow factor and provide LOADS of great photo opportunities
  9. Table centres can be made very cheaply. You could borrow jam jars and fill them with hand-picked flowers or use glass vases filled with floating candles or even oranges and lemons!  Lavender or rosemary from the garden would be gorgeous and make the room smell amazing as well!
  10. Remember, being different (rather than ostentatious) is the way to make your wedding memorable.  Use sites like Pinterest to pick up some fabulous offbeat ideas that won’t cost a fortune.  Even something as simple as some twinkling fairy lights can turn a normal venue into something magical


For more magical ideas read my 1 minute guide to budget weddings


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