How to Throw a New Year’s Eve Party on a Budget
Yes, it is possible to host a memorable (and stylish) shindig without breaking the bank – or getting stressed
It’s the holidays and everyone is in relaxed mode, so no one is going to question why you want to start the party at nine. Let’s face it, it’s usually after the clock strikes midnight that things really get going.
The advantages of a late start? Besides the fact that you might be able to have a lie-in before the party prep begins (if you don’t have to go to work that is), it also means you don’t have to provide a full-on buffet or sit-down dinner.
Stick to hors d’oeuvres and ask each guest to bring one of their favourite snacks. Get out your best china and your crispest white tablecloth, and you’ll have a pretty serving area ready in five minutes flat. You could even bling it up a bit with a glass bowl filled with LED fairy lights. Easy-peasy.
Planning a sit-down dinner instead? Here are some handy tips
Now you’ve decided on the kick-off time, instead of texting or Facebooking friends and family, why not ‘post’ a proper invitation? There are quite a few free online services available. Paperless Post has some smart invites that can be sent to all your guests’ inboxes. Not all the cards are free, so make sure you look for ones that say ‘Starting at Free’. Alternatively, if you prefer to put pen to paper, there’s a good selection of affordable stationery out there.
Want to let your tree shine until Twelfth Night? That certainly comes in handy when New Year’s Eve rolls around, because you get party decorations for free!
If your tree is already in its box or back outside, consider keeping a few Christmas trinkets out for your New Year celebration. Look how lovely this collection of baubles is underneath a bell jar.
Dot a few more displays like this around your party space and Bob’s your uncle. Think metallic decorations hung in front of a mirror and baubles in a bowl on the buffet table. The end result? Shiny and stylish with no extra outlay.
Alternatively, skip the baubles completely and pick up a few gorgeous paper decorations that are so popular now and won’t break the bank. Pompoms, fans, lanterns, garlands, honeycomb designs – there are so many options to choose from.
Stick to a colour theme, such as black and white or hot pink and orange, for style kudos. Another budget-savvy decoration hack? Try hanging curled ribbon from the lights.
Turn the lights down, dot a few votives around the room and –hey presto – your space will feel magical. If you have a fireplace in your designated party area, put an arrangement of different-sized white candles in the hearth. Or try candles in hurricane lanterns for a more finished look.
Another inexpensive way to illuminate your room is to bring out the fairy lights. You may already have them out (it is Christmas, after all), but if you don’t, you can pick some up in the Boxing Day sales. Go for battery-operated LED lights that don’t require a plug socket nearby. That way, you can drape them over a mirror, your mantelpiece or even a work of art.
Big fan of fairy lights? Check out these 10 twinkly ways to use them
First things first – if you really want to stick to a budget for your soiree, you’ll need to make it BYOB. Everyone will be so glad you’re playing host, they’ll be more than happy to provide a bottle (or two). Just tell everyone what you want them to bring. You could ask half the guests to bring wine and the other half bubbly to ensure you have a variety of drinks on hand.
Second money-saving idea – wait until the clock strikes 12 to serve the actual champagne and hand out a less expensive bubbly earlier on in the evening. Or serve the champagne early, but as a cocktail to make it last longer. One champagne cocktail to try is the poinsettia, which requires champagne (or any fizz), Cointreau and cranberry juice. Just Google it to get the recipe. Nigella’s poinsettia is particularly good.
While having a DJ on the decks sounds amazing, it might be unrealistic unless you have a musical friend willing to play a slot. If none of your close pals are DJs, don’t fret – with a little planning, you can still have some amazing tunes on the night.
Most music streaming services have a pre-selected party playlist ready to download, or make your own beforehand with a mix of music to suit all tastes. You could also have a back-up playlist with pure crowd-pleasers on it. If your first playlist isn’t going down well, switch to the crowd-pleasers. And don’t forget to put on Auld Lang Syne.
Hands up who’s been to a wedding with a photo booth? Pretty cool, eh? And it’s certainly great for providing memories. Now I’m not suggesting you rent a booth, but have on hand a Polaroid camera (or a disposable one) and some ‘photo booth’ props. You can get props on eBay for less than a fiver. Then all you need is a fun New Year’s Eve background. You can also take photos with your smartphone, making uploading much easier.
To make the main event extra special, have some confetti on hand for when midnight strikes. You can buy it or make your own. To do it yourself, just cut up any leftover Christmas wrapping paper or tissue paper – it’s as simple as that.
You could swap confetti for balloons. Just bring them out when everyone starts the countdown. Budget-friendly but beautiful.
How are you celebrating New Year’s Eve? Share your money-saving ideas in the Comments section.