Gathering a group of girlfriends together once you have kids can sometimes be a struggle. I don't mean getting together for coffee or brunch dates with local friends (and by local I mean within a 10-20 minute drive) in the middle of the week. I'm talking about a full evening of letting loose with the ladies, sans kids and significant others. A few hours to talk and mingle with other mothers who get it, and who also enjoy the idea of eating "fancy" hors d'oeuvres while sipping wine & champagne and not having to cut anyone's food.
A mom's night out is a glorious thing y'all. But it doesn't have to be this over the top catered event like what you see on the Real Houswives of Wherever. In reality, the #housewifethuglife keeps it 100 and works with a budget that's more realistic to the rest of the world. I love my ladies but I can't ball out the way I'd like so I do my best to work with what I got. Fortunately my homegirls are just grateful for the night out to giggle so hard they fall out of they're chairs so they're not too concerned if the place is perfect.
Last week I gathered some of my faves for a few hours of laughter and libations. It was a "lituation", for real.
The really dope part is that I did it all for under $200. It actually cost me approximately $160 (give or take a few necessary household item purchases) to host 15 ladies. And now I'm sharing my secrets with you. Because I'm kind like that I think that every mom should have a night in with her friends.
1) Go to Pinterest for inspiration. Then take those ideas and figure out reasonable hacks. I love a good homemade whatever just as much as the next person but aint nobody got the time (or money) to run around for specialty ingredients for one solitary dish. But don't get carried away by trying to do all the cool ideas. If it's not feasible for you to have luxe faux furs strewn about, nix it and figure out another move.
2) Trader Joe's is key. Seriously. They have so many options for party snacks and in a variety of health requests depending on your guests dietary needs plus they have flowers and libations so you're pretty much covered all around. Say YES to all the cheese. Trust me on this. Plus it's a great way to try out all those snacks and treats you see but never buy because they're too "frivolous" and you know the kids won't eat them.
3) Keep it simple with champagne & wine. Y'all know I love a good cocktail. But when hosting an event, the cost of purchasing all the liquor or specialty ingredients to make a killer cocktail can add up. Particularly if you get caught up in the Pinterest web. You can also encourage guests to bring a bottle of their own they have lying around (IF they have any lying around) and then people get yet another way to try something they might not have otherwise tried! Double win!
4) Over invite, but keep the final guest list short. I know you want to invite the world. Trust me I do too, but the only way to keep it on budget is to stick to a limit. Also, just know that not everyone will show up. Even if they RSVP yes, life happens. So make that short list a good mix of people from all facets of your life, and not just the ones who all know each other either. What fun is it if everyone is into the same thing and knows all the same people?
5) Outsource what you can: Got a homegirl/ mom-friend who rocks at making sweet treats? See if she's willing to whip something up! Same thing goes for anything else you can think of. Does anyone have a wicked playlist? Have them bring that over and rock out. Let your friends get in where they fit in and let the good times roll! People will ask you what/if they can bring anything so have something in mind that will benefit not only you but the whole party!
6)Pics or it didn't happen: So I know having a photo booth is all the rage and I fully recommend documenting the evening in some way. But when you're ballin on a minimal budget you might not be able to work that out. There are some dope options like the HP Sprocket printer, to instantly print out photos from your phone without the whole booth set up and pricey payment. Another fun thing is to create a hashtag for the event and have your friends use that when/if they plan to post on social media.
7) Light it up: Okay, so an easy cheat to decorating on a budget? String lights. Seriously. And banners of any kind. Put them up everywhere for a festive feeling and watch people smile when they see them. I have one for almost every type of party and they never fail to cause a smile. Tea lights and candles of all sizes add ambiance and elevate the mood.
8) Get giggly with games. You don't have to break out the Taboo and get into teams but having conversation starter cards and a fun active game like Jenga on hand can help break the ice and get the ladies loosened up. As the evening carries on break out the Cards Against Humanity and watch hilarity ensue.
In the end, your friend won't care how much you spent or how well you cleaned before hand. What they will remember is how much they laughed and enjoyed themselves while taking time for much needed self-care. With any luck they'll even walk away with a few new friends and hopefully you can set a date for the next shindig right then and there!
What are your favorite budget party tips?